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Wrong City/Location in Search Result Title Returned for Page

 7:08 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've exhausted all angles I can think of here -- need some help.

Ex: Red Widgets - City - Example.com

Google is rewriting the title after Widgets. Normally this wouldn't be strange, but there doesn't appear to be a reason for it in this instance other than Google thinking we are IN that city. The search term has nothing to do with the City, I am not searching from that city, the search location is not set to it, nothing with search history should localize results (and there are no other results targeting that city), it is not included in the meta title, and no external links are known to target the term.

The page that ranks is a Red Widgets page, and is the correct page, but is not a page that is dedicated to Red Widgets in City. There is a single reference to the city on that page, however, it is in a list with dozens of others cities nationwide.

Checking competitors rankings, there are a few others that appear in a similar way for this term, but for other cities, and they are all located in those cities, have a phone number with the area code of that city, or appear to target widgets in those cities. We do none of those. Our address is not on the page (and the one on the site is not that city or state), the phone number is a 1-800, and everything is targeting nationwide.

I'm researching other terms, but I've yet to run into another result like this for the large amount of keywords we target. I'd have to imagine that some do exist though, as I can't see Google only applying this to one term if they do in fact think we are located in that city.

What else could possess Google to think that we are in that city?



 1:12 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

What else could possess Google to think that we are in that city?

It's the location your ISP is sending. Your IP is not assigned to a geographic location tied to your specific city. Doesn't always work that way. Never has. For example, users in Oakland, CA can be mistaken for San Francisco residents. It gets way off when you access the Internet with a satellite connection.

That's not Google's fault. That's just the way the system is.


 6:42 pm on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've checked every IP lookup/ISP locator I can find, and they all show either our correct city or one that is over 1600 miles away but still almost 900 miles away from the city showing up in this result.

Why would this just now start showing up? And only for a tiny number of searches? We've never witnessed this before.

Are there any other ideas? Other on-page details that may be incorrectly indicating that we are located somewhere we aren't?


 11:39 pm on Nov 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

A month has gone by and this is still showing the same title. The ranking has improved a few pages (it's still horrible), but otherwise everything is the same.

Anyone else care to chime in?


 11:50 pm on Nov 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

The page that ranks is a Red Widgets page, and is the correct page, but is not a page that is dedicated to Red Widgets in City

I am wondering whether disproportionate number of visitors that click through to your page are located in/around that city.

Have you tried to change page title to include some geo location that is wider than that city, in a hope it will prevent Google adding location? Such as:

Red Widgets - Country/Region - Example.com

(of course if at all possible considering the subject of your page)


 12:01 am on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

May not be the ideal solution, in fact more of a work-around than solution, but have you considered extending your title tag to 60 characters to not leave room for them to rewrite?

Otherwise, for me, this is one of those types of questions that would require the URL to examine the actual page for clues.


 12:03 am on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

^ Ahhhhh, aakk9999 beat me to it while I was writing, I just said same thing :)


 12:29 am on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

One possible reason is that there is a business registered in Google local for that city that's somehow being incorrectly associated with your site. This could get tricky to nail down. A registered business' name could include a word that you use several times on your website. A product ID/SKU or other innocuous 5-digit number could look like a Zip Code to Google.

The "why" probably doesn't matter. You need a solution, and the only thing I can think of is to add Schema.org/rich snippet mark-up for businesses and organizations. I don't know how much it would help, but you wouldn't have to use all of the properities. Just the name, addressLocality, addressRegion, postalCode, and URL would probably be enough if it helps at all.


 9:07 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is a single reference to the city on that page...

Maybe that's all it takes for Google's rewrite algo to kick in. Maybe most people in that area search for [widgets city] and that's what Google is giving them.

Can you get any clues from the search suggestions?


 4:47 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@aakk9999: I can't speak for higher than normal CTR from users in that region, but overall traffic is no higher for that region that others, and similar stats can be seen for other pages that are not seeing their title rewritten.

@aakk9999 & SevenCubed: The title is actually a bit longer than 60 char's due to the subject matter of the page combined with our usual title format. I could rewrite it to include a broader region, but to be clear, there is no region in it currently -- only when Google rewrites it.

@rainborick: There are a few much smaller and less established sites with one letter variations from ours, but none located in that city. I've already exhausted all options as far as random numbers on the page that could be misinterpreted as zip codes or area codes. I was really hoping that would be the culprit, but it doesn't appear that way.

@jimbeetle: There is a list of 30 or so cities on the page, and while I could see Google picking one out for whatever reason, it's harder for me to believe that they picked that one out of the bunch and it hasn't changed at all. Plus, the same list is on many other pages that aren't displaying the same rewrite. There are some regional terms in the search suggestions, but they are on the other side of the country.


 6:11 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Have you looked at the inbound links to the page to see if maybe someone else has the city in or surround links to that page on your site?


 6:19 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are no links, internal or external, known that target the city in any form, including surrounding text, or even the location of the website doing the linking.


 6:40 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not totally surprised -- Maybe the best option is:

<meta name=googlebot content=StopF*ngWithTitle>

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