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Any tips on how to stop Google rewriting titles?
londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 8:19 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I know that this is a common problem, which has been going on for ages and ages, but it is really starting to wind me up!

Google has got a bad habit of rewriting some of my page titles. And there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

My blog has got it's own title (let's call it "Red Widget Man"), and they are basically scraping the entire thing and replacing it with a very generic description of what the page is ("Blog"), followed by my site name ("Example.com"). So instead of "Red Widget Man" I end up with "Blog - Example.com".
That is what is happening. Literally that. "Blog - Example.com"

That seems totally nuts to me. Replacing the blog's actual title with the word "Blog". How is that going to improve clicks for me? (which is supposedly the reason they do it)

I have tried numerous things to fix it, messing around with the title, adding some new words in, matching the title with the <h1>, swapping the order around etc, but google is insisting on using their choice all the time.

Does anyone know why they do it what triggers them to do it? Has anyone got any tips on beating it?

 

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 9:38 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Supposedly they do it in reaction to the search query. But I haven't tested it much myself.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 9:41 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Have you tried adding "Blog - Example.com" at the end of that title and see if it is still rewritten?

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 11:32 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Have you tried adding "Blog - Example.com" at the end of that title and see if it is still rewritten?


I have a site where everything falls under the example.com domain, but certain sections of the site have their own identities. So I might have a title like:

Pagetitle - Subsitename

Google often rewrites the titles to read:

Pagetitle - Subsitename - Examplename

(Not always, though, and there's no obvious pattern.)

adder

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 7:30 pm on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Call it anecdotal evidence, as I haven't done a proper research into this, but from the many examples I've looked at, it seems that longer and more targeted titles are less likely to be rewritten.

Google may react to the title quality issues and sometimes it's right to change the title (although it is also known to have made some stupid mistakes).

It would make for an interesting experiment. What happens if you change your title to something more descriptive, something that resonates with your homepage content, like:

Blah blah this is what my site is about | Red Widget Man
or
Blah blah this is what my site is about | Example.com

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 8:33 pm on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

"Supposedly they do it in reaction to the search query."


I wonder if backlink anchor text might affect title rewritting of the target page, too...

the only reason this might be is because google's systems for processing backlinks and anchor text are probably more "mature" than their systems for analyzing search queries and user intent (I think?)

Dugger

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 10:52 pm on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

For one of my sites Google rewrites the title to "brand" the page in the search results. So, if I optimize the title Google changes that to add the "brand" name to the title.

Probably only happens once a site is of a certain size and considered a bit of an authority. Great if you are trying to build a brand but sucks for ranking for anything else.

I removed the brand keyword from the meta tags and that may have fixed the issue (took a while). However, rankings did not recover yet.

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 11:34 pm on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

For one of my sites Google rewrites the title to "brand" the page in the search results. So, if I optimize the title Google changes that to add the "brand" name to the title.
]
And the brand name is taken from DMOZ.
I know that because only in DMOZ my site is listed using a strange Caps cobination eg XxXx

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 7:49 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

The easy question first...

Mentat posted...
And the brand name is taken from DMOZ.

Probably, and clearly so in your case, but not always. That is generally the first place I'd look.

The robots meta tag, though, can be used to tell Google (and other engines) not to use Open Directory/DMOZ data, so if the ODP title bothers you, you should definitely use this tag...

<meta name="robots" content="NOODP">

Here's a Google Help page with more information on basics of title and description changes, with recommendations on title best practices (including the NOODP) to help avoid rewrites...

Changing a site title and description
[support.google.com...]

Structured data on the page can help Google in some cases.


londrum - How long is the title of yours that they're rewriting? If your title includes what might be interpreted as a list of keywords that's too long (over 64 characters), it could trigger the rewrite. In such cases, I've observed, Google tends also to add a brand name, whereas otherwise it might leave things alone.

One of my favorite and most extensive discussions on the topic of title changes we've had in this forum is this one...

Google is now rewriting all my page titles
July-Aug 2012
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4480232.htm [webmasterworld.com]

The discussion might provide some clues. As I've observed it, keyword changes in titles are always query related, to increase chances that a title will be clicked. (Note that search terms or related terms in the query are shown bolded in the serp).

In some rare cases, when Google is testing which of several similar pages in your site users might prefer, I have seen Google rewrite a title to attract a click for testing. I haven't seen this for a while (except perhaps in Sitelinks).

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 8:02 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

londrum - How long is the title of yours that they're rewriting? If your title includes what might be interpreted as a list of keywords that's too long (over 64 characters), it could trigger the rewrite. In such cases, I've observed, Google tends also to add a brand name, whereas otherwise it might leave things alone.


it's only six words long. in the format
blah PLACENAME blah PLACENAME blah BLOG

and google rewrites it to
BLOG Example.com

i suppose i could try taking out the duplicate placename... i might give that a go. but "PLACENAME blah BLOG" is the actual title of the blog, and "blah PLACENAME blah" describes what it's about, so it doesn't seem keyword stuffed to me

Future

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 8:18 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

We are facing this problem from last 1 year, many of our site pages title are changed in SERPs

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 8:54 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

it's only six words long

How many characters... including spaces? If less than 63-64, that's probably OK.

i suppose i could try taking out the duplicate placename... i might give that a go.

Even before I read that far, that was the thought that hit me. Unless it's something like...

The Placeville Hotel - Placeville, Statename

- where "The Placeville Hotel" is what's called a named entity...
- and where "Placeville, Statename" is a defined location...

...it's likely that additional uses of the place name would be considered superfluous. This is just a guess.

and google rewrites it to
BLOG Example.com

Is example.com your business name, or is there another name defined somewhere?

From what you've described, I'm thinking you should try for...

PLACENAME blah BLOG - Example.com

roshaoar



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 11:25 am on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

I had this on one of my sites, and when I changed the title from being the target keyword(s) to a 4-8 word sentence the problem went away, they listed the sentence instead.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4643953 posted 3:25 pm on Feb 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think I'm going to try the 4-8 word sentence idea first of all, with no duplicate words. i will let you know how it goes.

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