Tanked Rankings after Title Tag Adjustment

Aug 25, 2008 • 9:11 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld forum member decided to experiment with his title tags and made some slight adjustments. Consequently, he noticed a 65% decrease in traffic.

Is this the end for him? It's possible, as one forum member says:

Unless you are a super trusted authority site (ie you can throw up a page on a long tail and rank Top 3 in an hour), then Google is very cranky about title changes lately.

The particular forum member advises against changing a lot of title tags at once, as this could be very dangerous. WebmasterWorld administrator Tedster has agreed with this and says that Google is also sensitive to other changes, including keywords in the alt element and links in the footer (at least if it's a relatively new site which was launched several months before).

In this case, forum members suspect that this could be an over-optimization penalty.

It's best to make some decisions slowly before you do anything that can put your site traffic and rankings at risk.

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Jaan kanellis

08/25/2008 10:11 pm

I dont think it is the fact that your changing titles tags or changing them a lot at once that is the issue. I think it is more of what were the title before and what he changed them to that should be looked at. I change hundreds of pages sometimes with no ill effects.


08/26/2008 12:25 am

Hello, I'm agree with Jaan. I chaged a lot of titles in m blog two months ago, and far of being dangerous for my site, now google likes more my pages than before. I think if you do a good change, the number of pages altered doesn't mind.

Justin Seibert

08/26/2008 01:42 pm

@Jaan & @Xose - agree with your thoughts completely. We actually had good luck with completely re-doing titles and descriptions for a client in the last month, although granted it is a well-trusted site.

Bill Kruse

08/26/2008 06:01 pm

The guy says he lost traffic, he didn't say anything about rankings (not reported here anyway). Maybe the searchers didn't click through so much on his new titles. He should change them all back, at least for a while. BB

Khaled Alwan

08/27/2008 08:20 am

It would depend what the title tags were to start with. If they are all the same its a must to change them, the same as if they are too short. Also if you make them more relevant and descriptive (good use of keywords as to the page content) it should bring benefit. I don't think its the volume of changes thats the issue, its more likely the choice of wording for the title tag that may be the problem.

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