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Two title tags for improved ranking

     
3:54 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Doing some poking around this morning and came across a competitor that is using two <title> tags on their index page. They are trying to rank for different keywords, and have selected the phrasing of each <title> to accomplish this.

Surprisingly, it is working. The SERPs actually show the title related to the keyword in the snippet.

Go figure...I would have thought it easy to filter for only one <title>.

WBF

12:20 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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give it time--2 titles is an old trick
1:09 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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True enough, but I have never seen G pick the one that applies to the search term. Search for keyword #1 and title #1 shows in the snippet. Search for keyword #2 and title #2 shows in the snippet. I thought I was looking at some fancy server side stuff at first.

Hmmm... I wonder how many titles could be crammed in there and still have this work? No need for doorway pages. Heck, no need for content either - the page in question has less than 50 words of text and is image based. Multiple titles and a few blog links is all it takes.

WBF

1:12 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How old is the page?

If it is new, I am sure it will get picked up by google filters very soon. I doubt google is that lame ;)

1:35 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The page has beenaround for a while. I can't speak to how long it's had two title tags.

Shows 20 backlinks in G. 5 are blogs. PR4. 38 words of spiderable text. 173 words in the keyword metatag. #6 of 182,000 on one keyterm. #9 of 477,000 on the other.

WBF

1:40 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If anyone would like to volunteer a page for testing purposes, and then let us know what happens, I'm sure we could repay the effort with a case of beer or something. I'm in for a dozen, if it works.
2:08 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've done this by accident.

Page was eventually bumped by google.

3:29 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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look up the page on archive.org and see if it had two titles as of last year.
5:28 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Good idea!

Looks like the extra title tag was added in early 2003. Yes, over a year ago.

So, either G is handling this differently now, or I just haven't seen this prior to today. Either way, there certainly has not been any penalty invoked.

Throughout the fiasco days of Florida-Brandy this site rated very well, which drove me batty given the low PR, lack of links and small amount of text.

WBF

5:43 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This would have to be considered spam. Why does Google even allow it to enter the index? When pages use dirty tricks to get into google even for a few days it hurts others.
6:05 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps it was accidental? I doubt any gain would be had from adding two title tags. Surely the result would be the same if you were to take title tag 2 and append it onto the end of title tag one. thus, I theorise that google treats it as one very long title tag.
6:10 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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thus, I theorise that google treats it as one very long title tag.
Very long title tags get chopped after 64? characters.
Very long title tags still start with the first word of the title tag, they don't display whichever part of the tag matches the query.
6:13 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The page is perfectly on topic for the terms in question. I could not in good conscience do a spam report.

There are actually two sites, both done by the same firm, but owned by different clients, that rank surprisingly well in G in this niche. I have been scratching my head over them for some time. One breaks all the rules, but has links galore. Then there is this one with multiple title tags, blog and guestbook spam, etc.

It is the handling of the title tags that I find interesting. Has anyone else seen G do this, i.e. select the title tag appropriate to the search term? Or, is this one of those secrets that shouldn't get out?

WBF

1:53 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If Google isn't applying a penalty for this yet, then when they do the result will be sudden, swift, and merciless.

Don't even think about trying it. Go for long term gain not some short term loophole that could be closed later today.

2:11 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Remember it's quite possibly an accident. Half the sites I work on for other people have two meta descriptions, or meta keywords, or something to that effect. Oft times its the result of a sitewide find and replace gone bad.
2:15 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Reminds me of the time I forgot to close a title tag. Google ranked the page tops for each of 2 two-word terms in the tag, and in top five for a few combinations of those words.

The traffic flowed. And flowed and flowed.

Then after some time it came to my attention that there had been no sales whatsoever for items contained on that page. Turned out that without the title tag closed, the page would not display in the web browser, thus the lack of sales.

2:32 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A Google search for meta name= content= brings up results for several million pages with malformed <title> tags.
2:58 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Which of the two titles is Google indexing. The first one or the second one. For example...

<title>1st title here</title>
<title>2nd title here</title>

The reason I ask? Is it possible that Google is ignoring the first instance of the

<title>
and picking up the second instance?
4:31 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As of this morning the SERPs no longer show this phenomenon. SERPs have changed a bit, and the site in question is now #5 of 183,000 instead of #6 of 182,000 on one of the searches.

Google had indexed BOTH titles.

A search for keyword one returned a snippet with <title 1>

A search for keyword two returned a snippet with <title 2>

That is what was so interesting. I too have seen plenty of bad html out there. I hadn't seen G do this.

This morning <title 1> is showing for both searches.

Gremlins I suppose...

WBF

<edit>Corrected spelling</edit>

4:34 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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... or Google techs read this thread, and fixed the loophole.
 

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