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Titles and Descriptions in SERP Vary with Search Term
eljuan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4572534 posted 1:02 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

So I recently noticed that if I Google the site I work on by name--a straight search for "Example" (no extension) -- the site comes up, but with no title or description info.

However, if I search "example.com" page titles and descriptions do appear, though not the ones we want.

Does anyone know why this might be? Why would Google pull up one listing for one search and a different one for the .com search.

I'm also wondering if it might be an issue with the Nav bar being drop down.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A

[edited by: tedster at 1:28 am (utc) on May 10, 2013]
[edit reason] Use example.com [/edit]

 

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4572534 posted 2:06 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google started varying titles and descriptions according to the search term a few years ago - something they're doing with an algoritm to try to increase CTR from the SERP. See [webmasterworld.com...] for ane early discussion.

The site comes up but with no title or description info

I've never seen that, and it sounds like a short term bug to me. It certainly would work AGAINST a good CTR, I think. I assume you've double checked your home page title element and description meta - right? At least make sure those two are simple and straightforward, and easy to crawl.

eljuan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4572534 posted 6:40 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks. That's helpful. I'll look at that discussion.

As for the mystery bug...my bad for not phrasing it properly. I meant that on an "example.com" search the listing looks as it always does: The title and meta description for the home page are visible, as well as the titles and meta descriptions for some other pages--the six navigation links below.

When I search example, the title and meta description from the home page comes up, but none of the other titles and descriptions appear.

Sorry about the miscommunication.

A

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4572534 posted 8:42 am on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

eljuan - Those nav links for the six pages are called "Sitelinks". What you're saying is that you don't get Sitelinks for your brandname searched without the .com. I've just checked this on some sites that I thought were really dominant for a two word keyphrase run together, and though most did display Sitelinks without the .com extension, some did not.

Google has gone through all sorts of display threshold tests with Sitelinks, and I suspect that they will continue to do so. Though the Sitelink algorithm has never precisely been defined, I initially associated it with dominance of a site for a particular query. If a site was very dominant for the query, and its navigation was reasonably well segmented, it would be awarded Sitelinks.

This, over time, has been scaled back... to the point now, I'd say, where the query has to be extremely likely to be navigational in intent for Sitelinks to be displayed. In some cases, the query without the .com or other tld extension is perhaps not unambiguous enough.

You had also asked...
I'm also wondering if it might be an issue with the Nav bar being drop down.

This really didn't make sense until you clarified your question. It does now, and you may have an inkling of some of what I'm about to say.

The Sitelinks themselves are shown for what are probably the most popular categories on the site. Drop down navigation, also known as mega-menus, can present the user with so many choices that Google may not have a clear idea of what your most popular categories are.

Extremely well-known, well-linked 800 lb gorilla sites can get away with mega menus. In general, though, I think that mega-menus or drop downs tend to fuzz things up quite a bit. It can take a lot of PageRank/inbound link juice to allow any of your homepage links to register on Google with sufficient clarity for Google to understand what's important on the site.

Thus, Google might need the .com just to provide enough disambiguation to narrow the query down precisely to your site... and then to make further choices from there.

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4572534 posted 6:29 pm on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has gone through all sorts of display threshold tests with Sitelinks, and I suspect that they will continue to do so. Though the Sitelink algorithm has never precisely been defined, I initially associated it with dominance of a site for a particular query. If a site was very dominant for the query, and its navigation was reasonably well segmented, it would be awarded Sitelinks.

Interesting that this should come up, because I recently did a test search for my art studio's site-- which is about twelve pages and gets around two human visitors a week-- using the likeliest search term. My jaw just about hit the floor when I got SITELINKS.

I've never got sitelinks when searching for my own site ::sulk::

You can only extrapolate so far from a single instance, but one thing I can now say for rock-certain: The size of the site-- whether in pagecount or traffic-- is not a factor. The "reasonably well segmented" navigation may be relevant, because this site's front page contains not one word of text other than <alt>; it's just pictures and links.

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