Which page titles does Google rewrite? 3 free tools

Since mid-August, Google rewrites the page titles of your pages in the search results much more often. How do you find out if this is happening on your site? In this article I share 3 for free tools to check which pages on your site Google rewrites the page title.

It’s good to know that Google is still using the original for now HTML title used for indexing and ranking. So any rewritten page title that Google shows has no direct impact on your SEO results.

Like this shows For example, Google is now increasingly using the H1 main headline as the title in the search results, instead of the page title carefully written by you. With these 3 free tools you can quickly check which page titles Google rewrites from your site (+ including a few paid tools):

1. Bookmarklet – Add title in Google SERP

Tool link: Github code
to install: that’s simple

This free bookmarklet shows you in Google’s search results if there is a difference with your page title. With the click of a button you get this:

Disadvantage: depending on the server settings of the site in question, this tool is (occasionally) blocked.

Error-melding in bookmarklet: 'The request could not be processed'

Tip: Adjust the error message in the JS to Dutch or English, because by default this is Spanish

2. Google sheets – script voor 600 keywords

Tool link: keywordsinsheets.com
to install: it is explained step by step here

You need to create a few accounts and an API code for this. But if you follow the described steps, you’ll be done with this in no time and you’ll have this up and running in no time.

Then you get a nice list of your current HTML title and the page title that Google shows in the SERP:

Outcome script that checks which page titles Google has rewritten

You can make 600 requests per month for free. So 600 keywords once a month or less keywords more often per month. πŸ˜‰

3. Python – GSC & CSE API

Tool link: colab.research.google.com
to install: it is explained step by step here

For the developers of Python savvy people among us this is a nice way to analyze the difference between your HTML titles and the page titles that Google shows on the basis of Google Search Console data.

In addition to allowing you to compare the titles, you also check whether the keyword occurs in the title or meta description.

I haven’t ventured into this yet, so I can’t show you anything about it yet, but this can of course be a very powerful and scalable solution.

4. Paid Tools

You can of course also check your page titles with the well-known paid tools, such as Semrush, Sistrix or Ahrefs.

Search Engine Land zette 4 paid tools in a row, but I myself am a fan of Sistrix in this case. You can easily print an overview of your page titles on 2 dates per site.

In this example the page title just before Google’s update and a week after:

Outcome Sistrix tool that checks which page titles Google has rewritten

With the colors red and green you can immediately see for several pages whether a change has taken place and, if so, which words have been removed (red) and added (green).

Bonus: Free Bookmarklet for Sistrix

If you use Sistrix, then this bookmarklet makes checking page titles very easy. With one push of a button you go straight to the Title report in Sistrix, where August 16 is compared with August 25.

Pay attention: this bookmarklet requests uk.sistrix.com by default, so you may want to change that to nl.sistrix.com

Google is rewriting my page titles, now what?

Ok, through the above or other tools you have discovered that Google rewrites your page titles. Do you have to do something now?

New. At first I would do nothing and wait.

Because Google still looks at the original HTML page title that you enter yourself and uses this for your rankings. Adjusting your page title yourself could therefore influence your rankings.

But, indirectly, a page title rewritten by Google can have an impact. Namely because of a deviating CTR. Whether CTR is an SEO ranking factor still remains an active topic of discussion. But everything points out that CTR has an influence. And the page title has a strong influence on the CTR.

Lower CTR? Consider an adjustment

When you get a noticeably lower CTR, it’s worth considering an adjustment.

We know that Google now mainly shows the H1 headline of a page as the title in the search results. In this case of Wordstream this also happened and they saw a strong drop in their CTR and therefore in traffic. The solution they chose was to rewrite their H1 headline. And that brought the CTR and traffic back to the old level for them.

It is therefore important to not just change your page title, but in this case the H1 header. Because an adjustment of your page title can directly affect your rankings.

In my experience, a different CTR doesn’t directly impact your rankings much, but of course nobody wants a lower CTR and less traffic with an unchanged ranking.

Happy SEO analyzing!


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