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Is it safe to change page titles yet?

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time

Msg#: 4380323 posted 6:57 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google seems to have toned down how well an exact match title performs in search, no longer does having the exact title matching a search query vault that page to the front of the line. SO, in wanting to do some spring cleaning and tweaking to maximize exposure and number of visitors from search I want to know if it's safe to make minor changes to existing page titles, I see room for improvement.

GWT - some pages are reporting 10's of thousands of impressions with a 1% CTR, I can't help but think that the CTR could be improved.

Accuracy - I don't intend to make the slightly altered titles any less accurate

Honesty - I don't intend to make misleading changes.

Effectiveness - GWT provides a list of keywords it believes my site to be about, I would employ more of these words in my titles and fewer off topic words.

Over optimising - I don't plan on re-writing all of my titles or even changing more than one or two words per title, perhaps just changing the order of the words even to make them more clickable.

Before I pick a small subset of pages to test with I'd like to know... would you do it? Would you avoid it? Have you done this already(recently) and if so what were the results?



WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4380323 posted 7:22 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm making tweaks. Never stopped, actually.


Msg#: 4380323 posted 7:36 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would definitely do it for any page that is not performing and I think a little change my help it (if it make sense).


WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4380323 posted 7:53 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I never stopped either - and have seen no negative side effects. It does seem that exact match titles are not as strong a factor these days - still valuable, just not as strong. With Google so willing to rewrite titles now depending on the query, it seems more important not jam keywords in there, such as:

keyword phrase | keyword2 | phrase 3

If the page is seen as relevant for the query term based on other factors, then it can rank well even without the exact match in the title element. Google may even supply the exact match for you ;)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4380323 posted 1:19 am on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Funny Ted ... the SEO company we hired used those keyword jamming technique to change our title tags (at least those that we allowed them to experiment on).

What we've seen are while some pages grew in traffic, some pages were hurt by the changes from an editorial type title to keyword 1 } keyword 2 title


Msg#: 4380323 posted 11:59 am on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

i have seen no positive effect of using a standard keyword in the start of my blog:

title tag:
blblblb BLOG: how about thisandthat
did not outperform on keyword blblblb
title tag
how about thisandthat

the latter did outperform the first on "how about"


WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4380323 posted 4:30 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I want to tweak my page titles to optimize my CTR, but I wonder how sensitive Google is to title tweaks these days. Seems like I used to see dramatic ranking changes in the past, so for years I never touched my title. I gather from some of the comments here that testing/tweaking won't cause dramatic changes (filter or penalty)?

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