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Title Tag Rewrites: 7 Months Later



Title Tag Rewrites: 7 Months Later

Back in August, we analyzed 10,000 SERPs and found that Google was rewriting 58% of the title tags we were able to track. In September, after some serious objections from the SEO community, Google released the following statement:

Based on your feedback, we made changes to our system which means that title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before.

This immediately raises two questions. First, has the situation improved? Second, why the huge mismatch between our numbers (and similar numbers by others in the community)?

Rewrites by the numbers

We collected new data on March 2, 2022 from the MozCast 10,000-keyword tracking set. Here are the basic stats, which are very similar to what we found in August 2021:

  • 84,639 page-one results

  • 71,265 unique URLs

  • 57,832 <title> tags

  • 33,733 rewrites

So, let’s compare the August 2021 rewrites to the March 2022 rewrites:

Technically, the numbers did go down, but this probably isn’t the news you had hoped to hear. If 57% of titles in our study were rewritten, then — I think we can all agree with this math — 43% did not get rewritten. So, how do we reconcile our 43% with Google’s 87%?

Truncation, from simple to …

First off, our definition of “rewrite” is extremely broad, and it covers truncation, where Google just runs out of physical space. In August, I took a pretty simplistic view of truncation, but let’s try to give Google some benefit of the doubt. I’m going to dig into three forms of truncation, starting with the simplest:

1) Simple truncation

The simplest form of truncation is when Google cuts off a long title but preserves the original text from the beginning. For example:

1648458223 26 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

No one is doing anything wrong here — the IRS’s <title> is accurate and descriptive, but Google ran out of space. They didn’t take any liberties with the text.

2) Midstream truncation

Let’s review another form of truncation, with this example from the Linksys website:

1648458223 559 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

Again, Google truncated a long <title>, but here they removed the branded text from the beginning and started with the more unique, descriptive text. Is this a rewrite? Technically, yes, but it’s a direct excerpt and the “…” clearly implies truncation to searchers.

3) Excerpt truncation

Finally, we have situations where Google uses a portion of the <title> tag, but they don’t clearly indicate truncation with an ellipsis (“…”). Here’s an example from, a site Google is unlikely to view as spammy or in need of editorial revisions:

1648458223 696 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

I don’t think Google’s trying to hide the truncation here by removing the ellipsis — the truncated title is a complete thought/phrase within the original title. In some cases, is this the excerpt the creator would have chosen? Maybe not, but I would still generally call this truncation.

All told, these three forms of truncation accounted for almost exactly one-third of the “rewrites” that we observed. These forms were distinct enough that we could separate them. From here on out, it gets a bit more complicated.

Title additions (brand & local)

In addition to truncating long titles, Google sometimes adds information they deem relevant to the end of a display title. The most common addition is “brand” information (using the term loosely) that wasn’t present in the original <title> tag. For example:

1648458223 776 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

I kind of love this title, and you should definitely ride Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point if you’re a coaster fan, but notice here how Google has appended “Touring Ohio” to the end of the display title. This kind of add-on is very common, occurring in almost 14% of our observed rewrites.

In some cases, adding the brand text caused Google to truncate the title prior to the addition. See this example from Goodreads …

1648458223 910 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

While the rewrite here is intended to be beneficial, this can cause problems with long brand names. Anecdotally, though, Google seems to be doing a better job of this in the past few months, and most brand identifiers are of reasonable length.

Finally, in a few cases, Google appended location information. For example:

1648458223 926 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

It’s not clear what situations trigger this added location information, but it does show that Google is considering appending other forms of relevant information that could drive future rewrites and go beyond brand tagging.

Capital-R Rewrite examples

We can argue about whether truncation and addition are real, Capital-R Rewrites, so how about the situations where Google is clearly making substantial changes? Some of these situations — even working with a moderately-sized data set — are hard to classify, but I’ll cover some major categories.

1) Maximum verbosity

I almost said “keyword stuffing,” but that’s a judgment call and isn’t always fair in these cases. Granted, there are legitimate cases of keyword stuffing, like this example:

1648458223 236 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

Prior to August 2021, Google might’ve just truncated this title, but now they’re saying “Yeah, no” and replacing the entire mess. Other cases aren’t so clear, though. Consider this one:

1648458223 408 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

AMC hasn’t really done anything spammy here — this <title> tag is likely a direct reflection of their site architecture. In this case, though, Google has gone beyond truncation and rewritten the title, including replacing pipes with hyphens, removing “Movie Times” (which is arguably redundant with “Showtimes”) and pushing the site/brand up.

2) Minimum verbosity

Some people have too much to say, and some people are too quiet (I’m afraid I know which side I fall on). Here’s a case where the title didn’t quite provide enough information:

1648458223 231 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

In many of these cases, like displaying just the brand name, a generic placeholder like “Home”, or – in one notable case – a code placeholder (“{{title}}”), it’s likely the culprit is an overzealous CMS default setting. These are clearly Capital-R Rewrites, but I would argue that Google is generally adding value in these situations by rewriting.

3) Excessive superlatives

Sometimes, we marketers get a little carried away with colorful language (in this case, the family-friendly kind). Google still seems to be disproportionately rewriting <title> tags with certain superlatives, even when they may not seem excessive. Take this example:

1648458223 618 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

This is a case where Google replaced the <title> with the contents of an <h1> — while it’s not a bad rewrite, it does feel aggressive to me. It’s hard to see how “21 Best Brunch Recipes” is wildly over the top or how “21 Easy Brunch Recipes” is a major improvement.

4) Miscellaneous nonsense

It’s hard to measure the real head-scratchers, but anecdotally, it does appear that Google’s rewrite engine has improved since August 2021, in terms of the truly bizarre edge cases. Here’s a funny one, though, from itself:

1648458224 318 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

Even Google thinks that Google said “Google” too many times in this <title> tag. I suspect the rewrite engine flagged the word “Google” as redundant, but I’d definitely call this a misfire.

A more nuanced pie chart

I made myself a to-do of creating a “pie chart with nuance,” and I now realize that’s impossible. So, here’s a pie chart that’s slightly less misleading. Many rewrites are hard to categorize and count, but let’s take a look at the data if we carve out the truncation scenarios (all three) and the additions:

1648458224 414 Title Tag Rewrites 7 Months Later

Separating truncations and additions, we’re left with about 30% of <title> tags being rewritten in our data set. Keep in mind that many of these rewrites are minor and some probably involve forms of truncation and/or addition that were difficult to detect programmatically.

Flipping this around, we have 70% of titles not being rewritten. How do we reconcile that with Google’s 87%? It could just be a function of the data set, but let’s carefully re-read that quote from the beginning of the post:

Based on your feedback, we made changes to our system which means that title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before.

Note the highlighted text — Google is specifically saying that they used the <title> element/tag 87% of the time. They may have subtracted from, added to, or slightly modified that original data (they don’t really say). So, the 13% of cases here is likely only when Google is pulling the display title in search from some other area of the page (body content, headers, etc.).

As to the bigger question of how much Google toned down rewrites after the initial outcry, it’s difficult to measure precisely, but I’d say “Not very much.” It does appear that some edge cases — including mishandling of parentheses and brackets — did improve, and I think Google turned down the volume a bit overall, but changes to titles remain fairly common and the reasons for these changes are similar to August 2021.

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Unlocking AMC Insights Series: Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced Conversions



AMC Media Mix


By Tinuiti Team

In today’s data-driven marketing landscape, the ability to ask the right questions is paramount. Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) emerges as the magic 8-ball of advertising solutions, offering advertisers a robust platform for precise analytics and strategic decision-making. If you’re new to AMC, it’s a secure, privacy-friendly, dedicated cloud-based measurement and analytics solution introduced in 2021.

Understanding the Value of Amazon Marketing Cloud

Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), AMC provides a flexible environment that empowers advertisers with customizable reporting capabilities based on event-level data across various data sets. These data sets can encompass both advertiser data and Amazon Advertising data, granting advertisers a comprehensive view of campaign performance. In essence, AMC equips advertisers with transparent, cross-channel data essential for making informed marketing decisions, a necessity in today’s marketing landscape.

For a comprehensive understanding of AMC basics, Tinuiti’s AMC overview provides all the essential information about the Amazon Marketing Cloud.

This article marks the first of a 3-part series where we dive into specific AMC use cases. In this installment, we focus on the Media Overlap analysis, guiding you through utilizing this report to address critical business questions, pinpoint key metrics, and strategically apply derived insights.

What is the Media Overlap Analysis? 

The Media Overlap analysis determines the collective impact of Amazon ads and isolates the incremental impact of a specific media type. The metrics provided by this report analyze reach and performance across a full-funnel strategy, including DSP Display, Streaming TV, and Sponsored Ads. 

To utilize this report, it is required to have data from at least two of the aforementioned ad types in a single AMC instance. The same products must be advertised in each ad type, and each ad product must have been running for at least one week during the same time period. It is recommended to wait 14 days after the query’s end date to use this analysis to capture all conversions due to Amazon’s 14-day attribution window. This use case is designed to help answer business questions surrounding how to best leverage the array of Amazon Ad products.

Here are a few examples of the types of questions the Media Overlap analysis addresses:

  • When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?
  • What impact does each ad type have on conversion beyond ROAS or last-touch attribution?
  • What is the average order value when shoppers are exposed to a combination of ad types?

The following metrics tend to be the most useful in addressing the business questions above:

  • Purchase rate: Percentage of unique users who purchased at least one time compared to unique users reached
  • Reach: Number of unique users reached
  • Users that purchased: Number of unique users who purchased at least one time.
  • Purchases: Number of times any amount of a promoted product or products are included in a purchase event. Purchase events include video rentals and new Subscribe & Save subscriptions.
  • Order value: Total amount resulting from a single purchase event

Below is a sample case study used to address the following question: When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?

Here is an example of a what a finalized report looks like: 

Top 7 Media Type Mixes based on Purchase Volume (CE Advertiser) 

Unlocking AMC Insights Series Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced

To answer the original question, the key metric to review here is the Prospective Purchase Rate (PPR). When exposed to fewer than three ad types, the PPR is significantly lower. However, when exposed to three or more ad types, the PPR increases. For users who were exposed to Sponsored Display (SD), Sponsored Products (SP), Demand Side Platform (DSP), and Sponsored Brands (SB) ads, the PPR was 8.19%, demonstrating the correlation between the number of ad types shoppers were exposed to and an increased Prospective Purchase Rate.

As a result of these findings, two prominent potential opportunities to improve performance emerge:

  1. Continuing to invest, or increasing investments, in DSP and video as they are key drivers in a user’s path to conversion. The advertiser should diversify their media mix with these ad products.
  2. Due to the correlation between Sponsored Products ads in combination with other ad products and higher conversion rates, there is an additional opportunity to build an AMC audience retargeting SP clickers. This will ensure advertisers are capitalizing on shoppers moving through the lower to upper funnel in their shopping journey.

AMC’s Media Overlap Analysis: Key Takeaways and Next Steps for Enhanced Conversions

AMC’s Media Overlap analysis highlights the impact of middle and upper funnel ads on conversion rates. Tinuiti’s teams observe many brands prioritizing Sponsored Products due to their perceived low risk and high returns under Amazon’s last-touch attribution model. However, this approach overlooks the influence of other ad types. Data from this analysis underscores the effectiveness of a holistic strategy. While a Sponsored Products ad may lead to a sale, it doesn’t consider other ad exposures that shape purchase decisions. The Overlap analysis underscores the value of a full-funnel strategy and the impact of DSP media on overall performance. Advertisers should consider adjusting budget allocations to DSP and streaming video based on these insights.

Furthermore, a full-funnel strategy can drive higher average order value.

The average order value significantly increases when exposed to a media mix of three or more ad types. While each advertiser should analyze their own business, Tinuiti consistently observes that users exposed to a greater number of ad products typically correlate with higher conversion rates and higher order values.

The Media Overlap analysis is part of the Instructional Query Library (IQL), which offers pre-built templates by Amazon to get started with the basics. If you’re seeking deeper insights with the guidance of experts who understand AMC’s unique landscape, reach out to Tinuiti today.

Liked this article? Don’t miss Part 2 of our AMC use case series on Tinuiti’s blog next month!

This post was authored by Averie Lynch, Specialist of Strategic Services at Tinuiti.

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Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation



Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation

If you attended Opticon ’23, you saw first-hand how Optimizely has been investing in AI. Optimizely introduced Opal, an AI assistant designed to accelerate the entire marketing lifecycle. Opal is ever-present across Optimizely One, providing generative AI, smart insights, and recommendations to transform how our customers create, test and personalize digital experiences.

Now, our latest AI capability is here: Variation Generator. Available for all Web Experimentation customers, Variation Generator helps experiment authors expedite the ideation and creation of test variations.

What does it do?

Variation Generator leverages generative artificial intelligence to create a list of phrasing suggestions based on a site’s text elements like headlines, product descriptions, or call-to-action (CTA) wording, ultimately making it easier and faster for experimenters to plan multiple variations for their tests, which can be quite time-consuming.

Who is it for?

Based on our research, around 30% of experiments include text changes. So, experiment authors like optimization managers or digital marketers are spending a lot of time ideating/brainstorming multiple versions of the original copy to decide which should be tested. Variation Generator empowers users to add more variations in an experiment, which we strongly suggest after our Experimentation Benchmark research found that experiments with more variations (4+) tend to see higher win rates and return higher uplifts on the metrics tracked.

Cool…but generative AI is popping up everywhere, why does it matter here?

  1. Directly embedded into our UI: No separate tools or tabs to click out to…No typing out a prompt to a chatbot…just click the text element you want suggestions for, and click “generate.” All interaction stays within our Visual Editor.
  2. Reduce time and effort in variation ideation: Shorten the time it takes to come up with new experiment variations, allowing experiment authors to get more time back into their day.
  3. Optimize each variation in an experiment: Variation Generator provides unbiased and creative alternatives to experiment authors so they can make sure that each variation is different enough to avoid duplicative messaging, yet effective enough captures visitors’ attention.
  4. Increase a test’s chances of winning: Our Benchmark research shows that experiments with 4+ variations are ~90% more likely to win than experiments with just 2 variations. Variation Generator helps experiment authors create more variations, leading to higher lifts.
  5. Fine-tune brand positioning: Improve existing headlines, product descriptions, CTA buttons, and more, ensuring a consistent and impactful brand message across digital properties.

Increase a test’s chances of winning

This outcome is important enough to highlight a second time. Mentioned earlier, we know from our Experimentation Benchmark research that tests with more variations (4+) are more likely to produce a winning (statistically significant) result versus a traditional A/B test that pits a baseline (original version) against a single variation. Variation Generator can help experiment authors get into the habit of testing more variations and producing more winning results.

Future enhancements

Optimizely is committed to continuous innovation and improvement. Potential enhancements for Variation Generator include generating suggestions for other content types like images, icons, HTML, and CSS, as well as giving users more control over output fine-tuning, such as adjusting length, tone, and other fields.

At the end of the day…

Optimizely’s Variation Generator is a simple yet powerful feature that empowers experiment authors to create more effective and winning experiments. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, this feature saves time, optimizes variations, and fine-tunes brand positioning, ultimately leading to better results, stronger brand presence, and an effortless workflow.

Want more info? If you’re an existing customer, ask your account manager about Variation Generator, and if you’re a future customer, contact us to learn more.

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Tips and Tricks for Digital PR



Tips and Tricks for Digital PR

In the bustling digital landscape of the 21st century, public relations (PR) stands as a beacon of brand visibility, trust-building, and reputation management. As businesses navigate the complexities of online competition, the synergy between search engine optimization (SEO) and PR has become increasingly evident. This article delves into digital PR, exploring how strategic integration with SEO practices can elevate brand visibility, drive organic traffic, and amplify PR success.

The SEO & Digital PR Power Couple

In today’s digital landscape, success hinges on a strong online presence. Two crucial aspects of achieving this are SEO and Digital PR. While they may have functioned as separate strategies in the past, they’re now recognized as a powerful team.

SEO focuses on optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results, driving organic traffic. PR, on the other hand, builds brand awareness and cultivates positive press mentions.

However, creating compelling content that resonates with audiences and search engines can be challenging for many PR professionals. A recent Institute for Public Relations study found that nearly three-quarters (70%) of PR practitioners struggle with content creation. This is where the magic of SEO and digital PR working together comes in.

Combining these forces creates a synergy that delivers impressive results. Effective SEO techniques in PR campaigns can amplify brand messaging and ensure it reaches the right audience through search engines.

Conversely, strong PR efforts can generate backlinks to your website, a significant factor influencing SEO ranking. This teamwork propels brands to industry leadership by establishing online authority and positive brand sentiment.

Optimizing Your PR Efforts for SEO

PR and SEO go hand-in-hand in today’s digital marketing landscape. By aligning your PR activities with SEO best practices, you can significantly boost your online presence and reach a wider audience. Here’s how:

Keyword Research

Just like any successful marketing campaign, PR needs a strong foundation. Keyword research is crucial for understanding the language your target audience uses online. According to Google, more than half of consumers (53%) consult online resources before purchasing a product or service.

This includes potential students researching educational options. For instance, terms like “best online degrees for 2024” can be valuable keywords for online schools to target in their PR efforts to reach potential students actively searching for programs.

By identifying relevant keywords with high search volume, PR professionals can craft messaging that resonates with their audience and increases the discoverability of their content in search results.

Content is King (and Queen)

Compelling and newsworthy content is the cornerstone of any successful PR campaign. But for SEO, it’s not just about capturing attention.

High-quality content, such as press releases, blog posts, and infographics, should also be optimized for search engines. This includes using relevant keywords strategically throughout your content and adhering to on-page SEO best practices. By creating content that is both informative and search-engine friendly, you attract not only readers but also valuable backlinks and organic traffic.

Building Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites pointing back to yours. Search engines consider backlinks a sign of trustworthiness and authority.

Strategic PR campaigns can help you secure these valuable backlinks by pitching newsworthy content to relevant websites, building relationships with journalists and influencers, and leveraging social media to promote your content. However, focusing on earning backlinks from reputable sources is crucial, as spammy tactics can hurt your SEO efforts.

Optimizing Media Coverage

Every media placement you secure, whether an article, interview, or social media mention, presents an opportunity to enhance your SEO. Encourage journalists and influencers to include relevant keywords and links to your website in their coverage.

Promoting these media placements on your social media channels can amplify their reach and drive more organic traffic to your website.

Advanced SEO Techniques for PR Success

Today’s audiences crave engaging content; SEO is crucial to seeing your message. Incorporating advanced SEO tactics into your PR strategy can amplify your reach and achieve tremendous success.

Leveraging Multimedia

We’re living in the age of visual storytelling. Eye-catching images, infographics, and videos aren’t just trends; they’re powerful tools for grabbing attention and boosting SEO.

A Demand Metric report highlights the power of video marketing for conversions. 93% of marketers agree that video is just as practical, or even more effective, at driving conversions compared to other content formats.

These elements enhance user experience and provide opportunities for keyword optimization. Descriptive alt tags and strategic file names can help search engines understand your content and improve your ranking for relevant searches.

Data-Driven PR

Gone are the days of guesswork in PR. You can achieve laser focus and maximum impact by integrating SEO data with your PR strategy. Tools like keyword research can help you identify topics and language your target audience is actively searching for.

Analyzing website traffic and other SEO metrics allows you to tailor your content for optimal performance. This data-driven approach ensures you craft content that resonates with your audience and achieves your PR goals.

Collaboration is Key: Aligning SEO & PR Teams

Many companies have separate SEO and PR teams, but these teams should work together closely for maximum impact. By collaborating, SEO and PR can achieve more than they could. Here’s why:

  • More robust results: When SEO and PR share information, like keyword research and content plans, they can create campaigns strategically placed in search engines and reach the right audience through media coverage.
  • Unified Voice: Consistent team communication ensures a consistent message across all channels, from website content to press releases. This builds trust and credibility with your target audience.
  • Measurable Success: Working together allows SEO and PR to track the combined impact of their efforts. This data can refine future campaigns and demonstrate the overall value they bring to the organization.

In short, by breaking down silos and working as one unit, SEO and PR can create a powerful force for achieving your company’s goals.

The Future of SEO & Digital PR

The digital world is constantly changing, and how we approach SEO and digital PR also needs to evolve. Here’s a look at some of the biggest trends we can expect to see:

AI-powered everything

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to become a game-changer in SEO and digital PR. AI can help create high-quality content tailored to specific audiences, analyze vast data to identify trends and opportunities and personalize outreach efforts for journalists and influencers.

Voice search is king

With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice search optimization is becoming increasingly important. This means websites must be optimized for natural language queries and focus on long-tail keywords that people might use when speaking.

Focus on user experience

Search engines are becoming more competent at understanding what users are looking for and giving more weight to websites offering a positive UX. This means creating sites that are easy to navigate, load quickly, and provide valuable and relevant information.

Building trust and authority

Search engines also emphasize Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) when ranking websites. This means businesses must establish themselves as thought leaders by creating high-quality content and building relationships with other reputable websites.

By staying ahead of these trends, businesses can ensure their websites are visible, and their brands are well-represented in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Beyond the Buzz: Building Lasting Success with SEO-Fueled PR

In the dynamic realm of digital PR, mastering the art of SEO integration is paramount for sustained success. By optimizing PR efforts through strategic keyword research, compelling content creation, and targeted link-building strategies, brands can amplify their visibility, drive organic traffic, and forge lasting connections with their audience.

As we march towards the future, the synergy between SEO and PR will continue to be a guiding light, illuminating the path towards digital supremacy.

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