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Strange Title Tag Showing in Google SERPs
Last update resulted in a strange alteration.
murmy




msg:3966269
 4:48 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

It seems that since the last update, Google isnt pulling the title tag from our index page but from a page linked off the index page (an application download page). There's no reason why it should be doing this.

Could this have anything to do with the fact that the download page is linked via javascript?

Also its worth noting that although my site is listed as normal on google, when you click on CACHED its not showing the index page, its showing the download page. I can't figure it out.

 

longen




msg:3968786
 2:43 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Any 301/302 or meta redirects?

You could try deindexing the download page to see how g reacts.

Marcia




msg:3968928
 10:43 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is the title they used the anchor text of the link to the download page, or the page title of the download page? Where is the text they picked up?

How about the snippet: where is that taken from?

tedster




msg:3969005
 4:02 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

One thing that you may find Google and other search engines doing, is changing the clickable title that they display -- based on the user's search terms. The idea is to attract more clicks. So if the keyword isn't in the title, they may generate a variation based on anchor text - or even the DMOZ title or the Yahoo Directory title.

kaled




msg:3969044
 7:20 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen this on a page on my site. The really odd thing is that it only occured on some searches not others - typically bonkers google behaviour.

After investigation, I concluded that google had started reading javascript (BADLY) and the effect was that I had hijacked my own page. I removed the javascript a few days ago and I am awaiting the result. The code (below) was attached to a download link.

function promote(){ setTimeout("location.href = '../another_index_page/'",6000); return true }

If removal of the javascript fixes the problem and the hijacked page returns to it's natural position in the SERPS (that's why I was investigating) I will report back in the Google forum.

Kaled.

murmy




msg:3971509
 9:08 pm on Aug 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Kaled,

Thanks for letting me know about your situation. I can confirm that I have a "very similar" javascript code in my page, so that when someone downloads the application it also sends them to a download page instructing them on the steps of downloading/installation.

At first it wasnt a problem, but then suddenly google started acting in this way. We have the javascript on all our pages and ive noticed that google is now doing the same thing for some of our other pages (which also have the same javascript on it).

Please let us know what the google forum people say.... im stuck in limbo as I dont know whether google is the problem or whether i should now alter my web pages to avoid risking some kind of penalty.

kaled




msg:3971754
 9:39 am on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you are able to do so, I would recommend obfuscating the javascript on some pages (perhaps using different methods). However, be aware that it could take a month or more to get results.

In my case, the new page (javascript redirection removed completely - not just commented out) has now been indexed but it's anybody's guess as to how long it will take for a page to become "unhijacked". I'm planning to implement a change of domain name in a few months, I'm half expecting the problem to remain until I do so.

Kaled.

murmy




msg:3972317
 11:38 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Kaled and thanks. Did you manage to hear back from them about this?

Also speaking of alternative methods. I have removed the onclick javascript code now from all my pages but someone suggested that I could achieve the same ends by simply launching the download when they arrive at the destination download page using a meta refresh code rather than using a javascript which opens that page when someone launches the download (so other way around effectively).

Would that be viable? Or would it offend google? Its only people who clicked through to the download page who would then launch the download dialogue.

kaled




msg:3972787
 10:11 am on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

That sounds safer but at this stage, I would recommend against any use of javascript redirects unless obfuscated and even then it must be considered doubtful.

By way of an update... As of today (about two weeks after changes) I'm no longer seeing the wrong title-tag (but one day doesn't mean much with google). I have seen a change in SERPS with respect to the page with the javascript but as yet no change with respect to the target/hijacked page (still languishing at about 300 instead of top ten).

I haven't raised this in the Google forum yet because, as yet, I don't have anything concrete to report.

Kaled.

Hoople




msg:3974341
 6:00 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I had a client ask me to look at why his page was "different in the search engines". I looked first at the pages indexed and their positions. All looked OK.

Then it hit me....Yahoo and Google had DIFFERENT titles for the site's homepage. Cause: there were 2 titles in the page!

c41lum




msg:3975666
 2:45 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been scouring the forums to find the best place to post this, and this seems like the most "on-topic" thread to what we are seeing.

We run a very large website that has always listed well under our keywords in Google (amongst others of course).
We had an issue with duplicate titles getting picked up by Google, so we investigated, ironed out the problem and saw things return to normal. But since then Google has been acting very oddly.

As an example:
An old title would read 'New blue things from us' which had a duplicate elsewhere so we altered one to read 'Very new blue things from us'. The problem is that when you search for either title as a unique search ("'s placed around the string) in Google both the old and the new titles display in the resulting pages for the updated URL!

Further to this both of the 'cached page' dates display as recent (after the change was made) but one cached page doesn't show the update, and the other one does!
Itís as though the cached pages aren't being updated and the indexed page isn't being overwritten, only added as a new listing - despite it being in place for weeks?

The is no < noindex nofollow > or < canonical > tags perhaps in a rare few cases some 301's in from differing URLs (capitalisation only) and just to clarify the URLs listed in Google are absolutely the same, in every way, including the capitals.

We are at a loss and Google seems to be applying a penalty for its own mistakes!

Would a re-inclusion request help and how soon would adding a < canonical > tag help on the similar/same content pages (there is only a few).

Cheers all.

c41lum




msg:3975743
 4:36 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I thought a case in point would help matters:

< sorry, no specific searches >

If you take a look at the 2 results and cached pages you'll see that its the same URL, just differing page titles stored in the SERPs. Which is casing us penalties!

[edited by: tedster at 11:58 pm (utc) on Aug. 20, 2009]

Marcia




msg:3975934
 8:09 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you happen to have an ODP listing or a Yahoo Directory listing?

ken_b




msg:3975937
 8:13 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

One thing that you may find Google and other search engines doing, is changing the clickable title that they display ......... The idea is to attract more clicks.

Much like what happens here at WW with thread some titles. :)

Marcia




msg:3976076
 11:12 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

It all depends on what the search string is for the query, and whether it's an exact match search.

I'd bet that they're returning results using query expansion.

c41lum




msg:3976089
 11:44 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

no odp or yahoo listing

c41lum




msg:3976090
 11:45 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

its a exact match using "comers"

tedster




msg:3976093
 11:52 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

In the old days of "supplemental index" listings, Google was storing url+cache date and several versionas of a changed page could show up in the search reasult - depending on the exact query terms.

I think that mechaism is still in place.

Google seems to be applying a penalty for its own mistakes!

maybe I missed it - in what way are you seeing a penalty?

Would a re-inclusion request help and how soon would adding a < canonical > tag help on the similar/same content pages (there is only a few)

Yes to the reconsideration request (note the new name) and the canonical tag can kick in within a few days once the url gets spidered again.

c41lum




msg:3976107
 12:11 am on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi tedster,

We think we have a penalty because all of our positions that have held pg 1 positions for a long time have gone to either pg 5/6 or even totally out of the results altogether. This has happened since the canonical issue arose and we started seeing more than one result for the same page in G.

Marcia




msg:3976128
 1:11 am on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

We had an issue with duplicate titles

There's been an issue with dup titles for quite a while, but more so lately.

The problem is that when you search for either title as a unique search ("'s placed around the string) in Google both the old and the new titles display

That's an "exact match" search, and there have also been issues recently with results using quotes, even with on-page text.

Why don't you check other phrases from that page in quotes and see what comes up, whether other pages show up using the exact words in the same order.

c41lum




msg:3976131
 1:21 am on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Marcia

I did the "exact match" using content on the page and only the new tittle shows up.

Marcia




msg:3976405
 3:04 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

>content on the page

Check the content on the page of a different page that's linking to your page with the "different title". You'll most likely find the "extra text" in the text on the "other" page that's near the link to your page. Not in the anchor text - near the anchor of the link to you.

Here's a thread in the Google forum that relates to this same phenomenon:

Same URL, two different page titles for two different searches - how? [webmasterworld.com]

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