I would really appreciate some input regarding this. The site ranks for its keywords but with it looking so odd in the serps no one clicks through.
Could this be the result of a penalty or 302 hijacking? If so how can i deal with it?
Yahoo is probably using the title and description from dmoz.
Is your site in the Yahoo directory?
Thanks for the replies.
It is not in dmoz, and not in the yahoo directory.
That's the strange thing. The title in Yahoo bears no resemblance on the website title, and there is no description showing, so obviosuly no one is going to click through.
This is only affecting the homepage too. The rest of the site is OK.
System: The following message was spliced on to this thread by martinibuster - 6:42 pm on Jan. 14, 2007
For the past few weeks Yahoo! has been replacing the actual titles of homepages with own makeshift dictionary terms in all lowercase. At least five of my sites in the Yahoo! search results are now affected, and it's continuing to spread.
For sake of example, if the title of a homepage is
Zample Goo! - Great Widgets for a New Age
the new SRP would list it as
In this case the trademark is Zample Goo!, and it is "misspelled" intentionally. But Yahoo! is deciding it has the authority to arbitrarily rename contrived words (like trademarks) using its new algorithms apparently. And the end-results are quite disconcerting. The replaced terms are derived out of thin-air and don't even coincide with the page's meta keywords (if any) nor the actual page content.
I was just looking up a prominent (Google PR6) government page awhile ago, and the impact is clearly evident even with high-ranking sites. What can be done to avoid this?
[edited by: martinibuster at 2:50 am (utc) on Jan. 15, 2007]
[edit reason] Spliced. [/edit]
On one three word search I tried, position two is affected, but the other positions are not. Yahoo has trimmed the title tag of the branding phrase. And as you say, the keyword phrase has been rendered in minor case.
I tried another search, and the same thing happened to a forum site listed in the tenth position. Yahoo replaced existing site title with a new title in minor case.
In both of the above cases, the keyword phrase exists within the title of the site. But it appears Yahoo is stripping them of branding or other phrases, then minor-casing them.
I saw another instance where Yahoo kept the existing title, but displayed it in lower case.
What criteria do you think they're using to choose which sites they do this to?
[edited by: martinibuster at 3:10 am (utc) on Jan. 15, 2007]
That isn't nice to be doing, it's taking a LOT of license with other people's property.
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:26 am (utc) on Jan. 15, 2007]
[edit reason] Spliced threads. Thanks Marcia. ;) [/edit]
Thanks for the followup.
I am confused if this is a permanent change and what benefit it is supposed to provide to end-users. It seems that diluting the marketing value of proprietary marks by replacing them with approximate dictionary terms and/or automatically rendering proprietary markes in all lowercase is both unprofessional and of no benefit to either business-owners nor consumers. It's particularly of concern, however, since even official government documents, notices, and reports are starting to be renamed with these new generic titles, which makes the SERPs increasingly misleading.
System: The following 6 messages were spliced on to this thread by martinibuster - 7:41 pm on Jan. 14, 2007
I am aware that Yahoo is doing an algo change but this is strange.. a few of my sites that stayed high are no longer using the title in the results to link to the site but instead are using the primary keyword in lower case.
I checked terms that I do not have sites in and seen it in others sites as well.
Anyone else seeing this?
[edited by: martinibuster at 3:43 am (utc) on Jan. 15, 2007]
[edit reason] Spliced [/edit]
Yes, I've seen this sporadically for a few different queries.
Mr SEO Jerry West helped me out here :)
This is a bug that was shown at Webmaster World in November that the panel incorrectly stated that the site in question was cloaking. I spoke to a Yahoo engineer and they stated it was a bug and they were trying to determine what was causing it. Looks like they haven't figured it out yet!
|...instead are using the primary keyword in lower case. |
Just saw this on a client page that primarily targets two phrases.... "keyword1 widgets" and "keyword2 widgets."
What's fascinating is that the returned "title" in fact does identify these two primary target phrases of the page, even though I only searched for one of them.
When I search for [keyword1 widgets], the displayed title is...
keyword1 and keyword2 widgets
When I search for [keyword2 widgets], the title display is...
keyword1 and keyword2 widgets
I should mention that the phrase "keyword1 and keyword2" never appears in the title. It does appear once on the page, but that's not generally how the terms are used.
I noticed this as well for some pages on one of my sites. After comparing results with a webmaster on another forum, I've come to the conclusion that Yahoo is incorrectly using 'old' <title> tag text. For example, one of my pages is displaying <title> tag text that I was using last summer and through most of autumn. I changed this <title> tag text 2 months ago. Yahoo picked up on the new <title> tag text about a week after I changed it and then displayed in properly in the SERPS right up until about a week ago. Then it suddenly started glitching out and displaying my old <title> tag text (except with all the words that weren't proper nouns displayed in lower case).
|After comparing results with a webmaster on another forum, I've come to the conclusion that Yahoo is incorrectly using 'old' <title> tag text. |
Definitely not the case in the example I cite.
Nothing to do with old titles, I've got two pages on a site ranking for a search term, one page title is fine but the second has just the lower case keyword phrase
|I should mention that the phrase "keyword1 and keyword2" never appears in the title. It does appear once on the page, but that's not generally how the terms are used. |
That's not the case with the 2nd page of mine, the one showing just the keyword phrase. It's got the search phrase as the first two words of the title (not lower case) and a few more words in the title. It isn't in page text, but it is in anchor text of the link back to the "category" page, and there aren't any links to this page using that as anchor text either.
If a URL is one that is set as noindex in robots.txt then they often use the anchor text of one of the incoming links to that page as the title, otherwise they display it as a URL-only entry.
For pages that you do want to be indexed, if Yahoo cannot find a title on the page, they also sometimes use anchor text from one of the incoming links. Make sure that there isn't an HTML error in the code around your title tag.
Good point, g1smd!
I was thinking that this may be caused by a spammer scraper site linking to the site in question as well. Here is a hypothetical example.
1. Spammer's scraping software searched for "sample go"
2. Yahoo returned a few results, and one of them was "Zample Goo" (automagically corrected term)
3. Spammer's software created a page linking the original search term/keyword to the page found in SERPs
4. Yahoo indexed the naughty scraper page and cosidered it somewhat authority (i.e. high value)
5. User searches for terms "Zample Goo"
6. Yahoo glitched somewhere along the way while returning the SERPs and couldn't find title/description snippet for one of the results (maybe a database is corrupted, or a replicated server down, or whatever of the billion computer problems it could be)
7. Yahoo "creates" a new title based on the incoming link's anchor text
I know it's far fetched, but I just wanted to play the guessing game too :)
Ditto what Marcia said. The text is an accurate description, but the exact text cannot be found on the page, site or Y directory.
Ahh... g1smd I think you've got it. I have a noindex meta tag on all site pages but the home page.
|7. Yahoo "creates" a new title based on the incoming link's anchor text |
I noticed this behavior in Yahoo for one of my pages, and my impression then was that it was anchor text appearing. I guessed it was taking the anchor from a site it considered more authoritative than mine.
The robots file on the site just invites everyone in, and I'm pretty sure the page was valid HTML. I'll check into it if I can find it again.
You could have a penalty.
Yahoo Penalty - If you have a penalty assigned to your site, Yahoo may not show the "cache" link of your pages, and the titles may appear in lower case. Both are a sign that you may want to consider evaluating your site for any problems.
>> I guessed it was taking the anchor from a site it considered more authoritative than mine <<
I don't know about "more authorative", I just saw it used the anchor text when it was something other than click here or the domain name itself, and fitted the theme of the page being linked to.
I don't poke around in Yahoo SERPs all that much.
I do find they takes years to obey robots directives, and years to reindex some content after it has changed.
I remember at the site review panel at Pubcon last fall (with Tim Mayer, Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts, etc) that one of the sites reviewed had its title in the Yahoo serps in all lower case, and it wasn't that way in the source of the page. At the time, no one could figure out why. Perhaps this was an early instance of that problem.
In my case and others I've seen, having "noindex" has nothing whatsoever to do with those abbreviated, ugly lower case titles. One site of mine has been up since 2002 and has *never* had a noindex on any of the pages, and the site doesn't even have a robots.txt and never has.
The lower-case titles for two of my pages in the Yahoo SERPs is the anchor text of a link from Wikipedia (although the anchor text on Wiki was not all lower case).
But there are other links from Wiki (and some other big sites) to pages of mine, where the title of the page is not replaced by the Wiki anchor text. (These two links have been on Wiki for at least 9 months.)
One of the pages where the titles has been replaced has no links from other than the Wiki, but there are several other links to the other page. (The pages that did not change might have more links than these.)
If somebody told me that Yahoo simply trusts the anchor text of a big "authority" site like Wiki better than the particular page title, I'd probably believe that. I just hope they fix the capitalization some time. Even Title Case Would Help.
Also, I saw another page in the serps (not from my site) that had similar lower-case titles, but which did not have a link from Wiki. The title Yahoo used made a lot of sense, and the title on the page was too short and vague. Yahoo said there was 1 link to the page (from a PR1, low-traffic site) and the anchor text was a (case insenstive) match to the title in Yahoo's SERP.
I experienced having my site displayed in Yahoo! search results with different titles and meta description. But these data were taken from its Yahoo! Directory entry.
|I remember at the site review panel at Pubcon last fall (with Tim Mayer, Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts, etc) that one of the sites reviewed had its title in the Yahoo serps in all lower case, and it wasn't that way in the source of the page. At the time, no one could figure out why. Perhaps this was an early instance of that problem. |
I was there for this session as well. Tim Mayer finally came out and said it was most likely due to a penalty of some sort.
I doubt it's a penalty, my rankings are the same and my title and description show correctly for some terms I have ranking for, and some other terms I am ranking for, the title and description are not even close to my meta tags. They look like some old meta tag info from a year ago. Sure would be nice to find out from Yahoo what is indeed going on.
[edited by: martinibuster at 7:10 am (utc) on Jan. 17, 2007]
[edit reason] Corrected spelling per member request. [/edit]
They are violating trademarked names in the title tag. I have found one such site, that if the owner discovered this was happening would be only happy to file for legal action against Yahoo. They should fix this asap!
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