Sgt_Kickaxe - 7:31 pm on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
I had not one but three internal pages get a swap recently. I noticed it immediately in the form of a traffic freefall without rankings loss for those pages.
~ They were very important to the site
~ They had distinctive and very accurate titles to begin with but got switched for "bland" versions.
~ On page text was used
~ I changed the on page text slightly and the titles reverted to original within 10 days, traffic returned.
My conclusion is that just being on page one is not enough, you've got to have the most clickable title too. With Google it almost needs to be an exact match title for the searched terms since Google bolds exact matches of keywords... making them more clickable.
I choose titles that people search for, Google is implementing titles that aren't as searched for, this is a problem. I agree that it adds variance to the results but if I'm already ranked and getting traffic I'm not inclined to allow this.
In my case I was 3/3 at losing traffic, I suppose it's possible to have traffic increase, I just haven't seen that yet.