| 4:06 am on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Greg Boser was saying at Pubcon that Google is doing more and more rewriting of titles when the search query doesn't match the title and said he'd even seen the H1 replace the meta title.
His advice was to try to tweak the meta title so that it would be close enough to the query to stop Google from rewriting, but still have a title you want - if that's even possible, which it may not be.
| 5:03 am on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Good tip Ergophobe, I'll take it one further and rename my home link to "home" as well since the keyword is the link home on 66% of the site (text navigation, it makes sense on this site) and the site name is on the other 33% of links home(img alt tags). My reasoning is that Google is keying off something on my site to come up with the keyword/title so strongly and home is generic, perhaps I can tone down how strongly Google feels about the two just enough to stop the title changes.
To make matters more complicated, I examined what I'm dealing with more closely.
- This is an example title = when NOT logged into Google
- This is an example title - Widgets = when logged into Google
- This is an example title - Widgets - Site Name = when 100 results are displayed instead of 10, logged in or not
If you are familiar with the ranking problem that happens when you link to an article from the home page and suddenly the home page ranks ahead of the article albeit much lower in serps than the article did... this is having the same effect with my particular keyword/title combination. Modified titles rank a few spots down from my originals, it's very frustrating.
| 4:05 pm on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)|
From what you are saying above, it seems that Google only rewrites your title when the visitor is logged into Google.
If the traffic has dropped just because Google rewrote the title, then you should see this drop only within visitors with the keyword being "Not provided" as only these visitors would see rewritten title.
I think you should look at this angle before concluding that the drop in visits is only because of the Google title change - just in case there is something else that contributed to the drop in your traffic.
| 4:19 pm on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|It would seem that searching for my pages became all that much harder since the extra words impact keyword weights and such. |
Maybe, maybe not. What if Google changes the title *after* ranking the pages?
| 4:43 pm on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Did you check the "logged in" results when YOU were logged in, or on some unrelated computer and Google account? I'm wondering if the title rewriting is now customized by user, just as rankings are.