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Can We Stop Google's Changes to Titles & Descriptions?
RichTC




msg:4356684
 1:55 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Interested in what causes this....

Our own website greenwidgets.com is listed in google as "Green Widgets Today" yet nowhere in the code for the home page does it say Green Widgets Today. The correct title in the site code is "Green Widgets, Types of Widgets all at low prices"

The only connection is links on other sites / social media that may refer to the site as "Green Widgets Today" - so clearly we are going back to the "George Bush - miserable faliure" days becuase of what a few social links say about your site.

Secondly, a specialist section of this site (and popular search term) about "Large Ugly Varses" has a code title tag of "Large Ugley Varses on Sale" yet the search title in google delivers results and changes our sites title tag to "Large ugley Varses - Green Widgets Today" in its listing, again this isn't in the site code either - but google has decided for itself it prefers this less effective title.

And finally... i have also noticed that where we have say a lot of stock of a certain item i.e "1-30 vases of 1256" the description detail when someone looks for "Ugley Green Varses" would start in google as "1-30 vases of 1256..ugley green varses at Green Widgets Today"

For some reason Google wants to list numbers, yet these numbers keep changing. The numbers themselves are taken from the bottom of the web pages. So the bot has decided that the numbers are more relevent to the search term that the meta description on the page written by the webmaster, yet they are not.

This means that my listing is less effective in google because rather than the result starting with "Ugley Green Varses" it starts with a number in a lot of cases

Google has decided to do this itself when Panda went live, im wondering if this is hand editing or if its something in the algo (more likely) that makes it believe that this makes the results better?

Is their anyway to stop Google changing your title tags in its listing? or anything i can do to alter this?. When Google used DMOZ descriptions, you could at least add a "No ODP" on your page - now google just lists it how it wants to based on what it thinks is more effective. In relation to the numbers issue, Im thinking of changing the numbers to images to stop it being able to display results in this way.

Any thoughts / experiences of this?

Rich

 

tedster




msg:4356745
 4:11 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my experience, alterations of titles and descriptions have been specific to certain search terms. What you're describing sounds like it's happening on a more widespread basis - is that correct?

The only way I've dealt with it up to now has been to make sure the search term that trips the rewriting is in the title and description I create. That seemed to stop the rewriting algo from kicking in. However, your situation sounds different than what I dealt with.

netmeg




msg:4356754
 4:33 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

And finally... i have also noticed that where we have say a lot of stock of a certain item i.e "1-30 vases of 1256" the description detail when someone looks for "Ugley Green Varses" would start in google as "1-30 vases of 1256..ugley green varses at Green Widgets Today"

Yea, they're doing that for all my client ecommerce sites on the various category pages where I have enough items to invoke pagination. Not crazy about it. But I don't think any of it can be stopped.

They're stepping more and more into "It's our search engine, and we'll display you any way we want, even if we have to make stuff up"

I'm still massively ticked off about AdWords forcing all displays URLs (except for some big brands) to show www, even when we don't use www - it's an INCORRECT address that breaks branding. Had one client drop out of AdWords completely over it.

But it's the world we live in.

HuskyPup




msg:4356762
 4:56 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google has decided to do this itself when Panda went live


Well before Panda, probably a year now, maybe longer.

I haven't found anyway to stop them doing this on my index page, it's really annoying, fortunately I haven't seen any problems with any product pages.

I'm still massively ticked off about AdWords forcing all displays URLs (except for some big brands) to show www


Really? I didn't know about that, since 1993 we've never used the www.

netmeg




msg:4356765
 5:05 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Next time you are perusing search results, check the ads (this is only for Search Network, oddly, and also doesn't seem to be in effect for product feeds) Everyone's got www's and everyone's all lowercase to the left of the TLD.

aristotle




msg:4356792
 6:39 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Didn't Matt Cutts or someone at Google say that this is done to improve the CTR? But in fact the examples I've seen for my sites often defy common sense and as a result probably lower the CTR.

Actually, since Google collects so much data, they should be able to measure the effect on CTR in each case and adjust accordingly. That's assuming that they really do want to improve CTR.

netmeg




msg:4356806
 7:40 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Everything is supposedly always done to improve CTR (or user experience, or whatever) but funnily enough, at least in the case of the AdWords changes, after the announcement about going all lower case, I found a doc in the AdWords help files that advised using mixed case to make display URLs stand out better (and claimed that it improved CTR) and of course as soon as I pointed it out, they removed the doc. The old doc claimed data proved that mixed case improved CTR, and the new announcement claimed that they were forcing lower case because tests showed it improved CTR.

So you tell me.

RichTC




msg:4357093
 12:58 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my experience, alterations of titles and descriptions have been specific to certain search terms. What you're describing sounds like it's happening on a more widespread basis - is that correct?

Its a specific site in a competitive search term area and it is more widespread as a result of that.

Do you think this a hand edit job then? or is it simply the bot just taking the majority of links to the site and using a best guess approach. So if a hundred links say "Green widgets Today" then thats obviously what your site title tags should say?

Yea, they're doing that for all my client ecommerce sites on the various category pages where I have enough items to invoke pagination. Not crazy about it. But I don't think any of it can be stopped.

I do wonder at what point exactly Google decided that it was better to list numbers - which ever way you look at it they are manipulating the serps by displaying the data info "they think" the user should have rather than the data the webmaster wants to display.

In the old days.... you wrote the meta description and the meta title to tell the search engine exactly what the page was about and it was that same description you wanted to see in the serps - Now the search engine displays what it decides it wants.

On the CTR point, just playing devils advocate here but is it not fair to assume that, if the natural serps are made up of numbers and strings, that google selects to use, rather than the sites own written meta description, that the paid for adword listings that do use the sites own description would get increased CTR over the natural serps as they on first glace, would match what the user is looking for more accuratley?

Rich

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