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I'm currently developing a website in wordpress, with just two pages, homepage and gallery. I'm using the plugin Polylang for multiple languages, and Yoast for SEO.

My homepage in my native language (Portuguese), has a SEO title that Google is showing correctly, however in the English version, Google is changing the title.

Example: Yoast : "Website Name | City" Google : "City - Website Name"

I've already tried updating the page to "Website Name | City, Location", and waited a few days to see if Google changed the SEO accordingly. When it did (I checked the cache:website.com method to see the last update date), it changed to "City, Location - Website Name".

Is Google changing the SEO title by itself using their algorithm? I looked around and saw that that maybe the case but I didn't really found a workaround.

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That's exactly what's happening. While we may try to suggest to search engines how we want out page titles to appear, they ultimately decide how they want to render those titles in the SERP's. The algorithm looks at various factors on your site, including your title tag of course, and decides what would be better for the end user.

The reason it's rendering the title differently in different languages/countries probably involves environmental factors, such as overall history of these search terms in that language or region. One thing that might be happening is, it knows that your website has at least two regional versions, and has decided that in the English language market, it should list the location first, since that's the differentiator. (Of course, it's just one possibility.) Here are my troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Ensure that in your WordPress theme and plugins, your title tag format isn't overwritten elsewhere, so that only Yoast is the "final word."
  • Play around with the length of the title tag; make sure it's neither too short nor too lengthy. According to Moz (https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag), "Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag."
  • Play around with the content of the two tags. If each tag has enough unique copy, Google may find it worthwhile to display it as you intended.
  • Resubmitting your XML sitemap in Google Search Console periodically may trigger an occasional reevaluation, and you might get crawled faster between each tag update.

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