Updated: June 9, 2023.

Here is a short guide all about page titles (or title links).

Does changing page title affect SEO?

Today, I’m going to dive into a topic a lot of you have been asking about: does changing your page title actually affect your SEO?

Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I just want to clarify one thing.

When I say “page title,” I’m talking about the title that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and that represents the main heading of your page.

Google has recently started to call it “the title link” so you can use these terms interchangeably.

It’s a crucial element of your on-page SEO and it can make a big difference in how your pages rank and how users perceive your content.

So, let’s get started! I’ve been doing some research and I’ve got some interesting things to share with you.

I’ll be talking about the latest studies and best practices, and we’ll try to answer the question: does changing your page title affect your SEO? Let’s find out!

Does changing the page title affect SEO? The gist

Does changing your page title affect your SEO? Yes!

Does changing the page title affect SEO? The detail

So, what’s the big deal with page titles, you ask?

Well, let me tell you, they play a crucial role in determining your website’s search engine ranking and click-through rate.

What is the page title?

A page title, also known as a title link, is a brief and concise description of a webpage’s content that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the title of the webpage when it is displayed in a browser.

This is the page title of my homepage displayed in SERPs.
How is how the page title is displayed in browsers in different tabs.

Where is the page title on SERPs?

The page title is typically displayed as the first line of a search engine result and is used by search engines to understand what a webpage is about, making it a crucial factor in determining a webpage’s search engine ranking.

Here is another example of page titles of my websites. Some of them have been overwritten by Google (the very short ones).

Where is the page title in the HTML code?

The page title, or title link, is placed in the head section of an HTML document and is enclosed in the title tag.

The title tag is usually placed between the opening head tag and the closing head tag and it is written as follows:

<title>This is an example of a page title</title>

The role of the page title in search engine ranking

When it comes to SEO, the page title acts as a first impression for both search engines and users.

As you can see in the examples above, it’s the first piece of information that shows up in search engine results, so it’s gotta be good!

Search engines use the page title to understand what your website is about, and based on that, they decide where to rank your website in search results.

So, if you want your website to show up on the first page of Google, make sure your page titles are optimized and relevant to the content on the page.

The page title’s influence on CTR

The page title also affects your website’s click-through rate (CTR). CTR is the number of clicks your website gets divided by the number of impressions it gets.

A high CTR means that people are finding your website relevant and interesting, and are more likely to click on it.

The page title acts as a hook that entices users to click on your website, so make sure it’s catchy and relevant.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that Google sometimes rewrites the page title.

But don’t worry, it only does this if it thinks your page title is too long or not relevant enough.

So, if you see that Google has changed your page title, don’t panic! Just make sure to keep your titles concise and relevant, and you’ll be good to go.

Factors to consider before changing your page title

Here are the three main factors to consider before changing your page title.

Of course, there may be other factors that are specific to your website or your industry, so it’s always a good idea to do your research and make an informed decision.

Keyword research is key

When it comes to changing your page title, in most cases, keyword research is a must.

You want to make sure that the title you choose is relevant to the content on the page and to what people are actually searching for.

If you choose the wrong keywords, you might not rank as well as you want, or you might end up attracting the wrong audience.

Check this article: How To Use Google Search Console For Keyword Research

Consistency is king

Another important factor to consider before changing your page title is consistency. You want to make sure that your title is consistent with the rest of your website.

This means using a similar style and tone in all of your titles and making sure that the keywords you use are consistent across the site.

This can help you build a stronger brand and a more trustworthy reputation with search engines.

For example, you may always want to put your brand at the end of the title (except for the homepage) after “-” or “|” depending on which one you prefer.

Avoid over-optimization

Finally, it’s important to avoid over-optimizing your page title.

This means using too many keywords or using the same keyword over and over again in different titles.

This can actually hurt your ranking, since search engines may see it as spammy or manipulative.

Instead, focus on creating a title that accurately reflects the content on the page and is likely to attract clicks from your target audience.

Check this: Does Google Penalize For Keyword Stuffing?

The impact of changing page title on SEO

Okay, so what’s the impact of changing the page title on SEO?

One of the key things to keep in mind when changing your page title is that it can have both short-term and long-term effects on your SEO.

The short-term effects of changing page title on SEO

In the short term, you may see a drop in your search engine rankings, as Google needs time to re-index and understand the new title. This can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how quickly Google re-indexes your page.

  • It’s important to note that this drop is typically temporary and that, if done correctly, your rankings should eventually recover.
  • However, if the new title is not relevant or if it does not accurately reflect the content on the page, your rankings may continue to drop over time.

The long-term effects of changing page title on SEO

In the long term, changing your page title can have a significant impact on your SEO, as it can help to increase your click-through rate, improve the relevance of your content, and boost your search engine rankings.

  • If your new title accurately reflects the content of your page and is keyword-rich, it can help to increase your click-through rate, as users are more likely to click on a link that accurately reflects what they are looking for.
  • This increased click-through rate can, in turn, help to improve your search engine rankings, as Google uses this as a signal of relevance and quality.

Best practices for changing page title

If you’re considering changing your page title, there are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Sure, here are some additional best practices for creating page titles:

  1. Make sure your title is descriptive and accurately reflects the content of the page
  2. Keep the title length within the recommended length of 50-60 characters
  3. Make use of primary keywords in the title, but avoid keyword stuffing
  4. Make sure the title is unique and distinguishes the page from others on the website
  5. Use branding in the title to help establish trust and recognition with users
  6. Consider including the geographic location in the title, especially if you’re targeting a local audience
  7. Try to create a compelling title that will encourage users to click through to the page
  8. Use a clear and concise writing style that is easy to understand
  9. Avoid using all capital letters or excessive punctuation in the title
  10. Regularly monitor the performance of your page titles and make changes as necessary to improve their effectiveness.

Speaking about best practices, you probably want to check my list of 180+ SEO best practices.

Recommended further reading on title links (page titles)

Most of my SEO knowledge comes straight from the source, i.e. Google. That’s why I strongly recommend reading the following article:

Final thoughts

Awesome! I hope this article was helpful and you learned something new about the impact of changing page titles on SEO.

I know how important it is to keep your website optimized for search engines, and I hope this article gave you a better understanding of how page titles play a role in that.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, feel free to check out my other articles. I’m always here to help and provide valuable insights on all things SEO. Take care and keep on optimizing!

Don’t miss my other similar articles:

Olga Zarr is an SEO consultant with 10+ years of experience. She has been doing SEO for both the biggest brands in the world and small businesses. She has done 200+ SEO audits so far. Olga has completed SEO courses and degrees at universities, such as UC Davis, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. She also completed Moz Academy! And, of course, has Google certifications. She keeps learning SEO and loves it. Olga is also a Google Product Expert specializing in areas, such as Google Search and Google Webmasters.