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Suddenly out-of-control changed titles affecting traffic
Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 2:23 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

My traffic from Google is down 18% on the day and many of my page titles have been altered by Google in serps.

examples:
How to build a widget bag <--original title
WIDGETS | How to build a widget bag - example.com <--new title

I particularly do not like the fully capitalized first word and pipe since the word is not always entirely accurate.

I hope this is just a test, it's killing my traffic today!

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 3:02 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is "widgets" the query term that generates that title - or do other queries do the same?

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 5:40 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is interesting in another regard. The pipe symbol traditionally means 'OR' yet many people (myself included) have used it as a separator without thinking.

Does this mean that Google do definitely view it as only a separator?

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 8:04 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

It is not just a test. G has been deciding what title to use for some time now.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 8:19 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

It is not just a test. G has been deciding what title to use for some time now.

I'd phrase it as "has been in an ongoing process of testing what title to use under what circumstances for some time now." I think it is a test. Google is in almost a constant state of testing. I'm sure they're trying to maximize click-throughs... that's the only logical motivation for these rewrites.

Most extreme rewrites don't stick around for very long. This one hits me as one of the most extreme I've seen... possibly an interchangeable format to cover a variety of queries... and perhaps to save system resources.

Was the query in fact "widgets" as tedster asked?

MarvinH



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 10:44 am on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

New title:

WIDGETS | How to build a widget bag - example.com


If the "WIDGETS" didn't come from the query, do you have any idea where it might have come? Is perhaps the "How to build a widget bag" page a part of your "WIDGETS" category/folder?

rlange



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 1:52 pm on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

FranticFish wrote:
This is interesting in another regard. The pipe symbol traditionally means 'OR' yet many people (myself included) have used it as a separator without thinking.

Does this mean that Google do definitely view it as only a separator?

In general typography, as far as I'm aware, the vertical bar's traditional use (or one of them, at least) is as a divider.

--
Ryan

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 9:00 am on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

The word widgets is not part of the query, in the keyword section of GWT it's the top keyword which my site is about(according to Google) and it varies a little, sometimes showing the 2nd thru 5th keywords.

The example is thus a little off, my apologies. This would be more accurate...

WIDGETS |How to build a <brand name> support frame- example.com

WIDGETS |<model type> reviews- example.com

WIDGETS | 2007<brand name + model name> repair guide- example.com

Everything in bold is added by Google, including the year in that last example despite the guide covering all 4 years this brand/model combo were active. All 4 years are mentioned in the guide too and not all titles have brand or make/model mentioned.

Pipes, dashes, domain url and year can be added to the list of changes Google makes to titles, as can words in ALL CAPS. There really should be an option to opt out of this, I'm feeling like they've gone too far in modifying my titles.

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 12:29 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

One place I've seen Google pull wording from when it's rewriting titles is anchor text in links to the page.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 12:44 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, G is changing your tiles. Presumably because it doesn't like your titles. You don't like the new G generated title.

The solution is to make a good guess at why G doesn't like your title and change it to a title that G will like and you will be happy with as well.

It happened to me on one of my sites and I guessed the reason was that the title was simply a short term aimed at what searchers might search for. For example my title might have been "a very popular search term". Every site was using the same term as the title.

I changed the title to "a very popular search term - mysitename" and hey presto Google stopped amending my titles and used the one in the page.

It may also be the case that your title needs to include a location because your original title is duplicated in many locations. I also tried "a very popular search term in Dakota" and that also worked 100%.

Google is easily confused and they look to you to ease that confusion.

SnowMan68



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 12:52 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am seeing the same thing, Google has in the past few days started to change the titles on some of our popular pages as well. What I am noticing is they are using our internal anchor text from the main nav for the keyword.

It looks like this now...

Keyword - Brand Name

It should be....

Keyword 1, Keyword 2, Keyword 3

SnowMan68



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 12:53 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

The thing I forgot to mention....is that the new title isn't showing up for all searches. Only ones with the words that show up in the internal anchor text in our main nav. When searching keyword 2 or keyword 3 our normal title is showing up.

martaay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4456781 posted 4:09 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

ive just seen this happen to one of my search listings - strange really as the search term was <businessname> <location>, and google took that location right out of my title tag...

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