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Google not always using title tag. - now using brand

   
1:45 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have no idea how I'm going to post this without giving any URL details - but I'll give it a go!

This may be something that people have already noticed but Google is starting to return results from our pages very differently. A couple of things it seems.

If you do a search with our brand name in it (we get around 400,000 unique visits a month), then the title of the result is as follows

"#*$!#*$!x - brand name"

The positioning in the SERPS hasn't changed at all.

Ok - so it seems that Google is recognising our brand, not changing our rankings (we've checked traffic and there has been no noticeable increase or decrease from google to specific pages)

That's the first thing - I suppose it's quite good as the title of the result has our brand which is searched.. useful to users..

The second thing though is that the title of the result is sometimes not the title tag of the page, or been taken from the page directly at all. It's like Google is looking at both the search and the result (our page) and then making its own title

For example:

If you search for "widgets" and if our title tag is "Blue widgets are the way forward" then generally we would rank top and the title of the result would be "blue widgets are the way forward"

Now however if you search "widgets brand name" then you receive the result with the title "widgets - brand name". This doesn't contain the text in the title (i.e. that it is about blue widgets).

If you do a more random search, without the brand name, then the result still comes up in same position, but the title of the result is still the title tag.

For me this seems to have huge implications - all of a sudden the title of a result is determined by Google and not what I as the editor of a site have written in the title tag of the site..

Has anyone seen this (I'm sure we're not the only ones!), and has anyone got any thoughts?

Thanks!
4:51 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



You're right - you're not alone. Members here were reporting this on a small scale beginning a year ago, but now it's becoming widespread. See Google showing brand/company name instead of title tag? [webmasterworld.com]
5:08 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I think this thread will give you more information - [webmasterworld.com...]
5:09 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)



Yep, there are some bizarre things going on and at the moment I do not like it.

Just why, in Google's infinite wisdom, would typing in my company name show the result in the titlebar as example.us? Absolutely nothing else at all except the correct meta description.

We do own the example.us, it is on a url forward to the .com from our registrar, however that is all which is displayed however if I perform a keyword1keyword2 search then it comes up with the correct titlebar.

Incidentally I have this happening across several TLD and ccTLD sites.
5:21 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for that guys - Robert mentioned that the new text could from the Open Directory Project, but we don't have anything in there about us (we're not included) and we don't have any "quality" links in to the specific pages where this is occuring most.

It would be really interesting to hear other thoughts on how Google could be generating this text - it some cases it seems to be very similar to the query inputted, but in some cases it's actually not entirely relevant to the query. Actually in one case, the phrase generated by Google for the title which is then followed by our brand name, doesn't make sense 100%.

Any other ideas?
6:41 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)



Any other ideas?


Yet another fumbled G project with presumably no one following up on it and tweaking it to what it's supposed to be...whatever that may be in the first place since I cannot see any benefit whatsoever in changing my titlebar solely into example.us!
7:27 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I can see a benefit - but only if the query in this case was for the domain name.

That seems to be what Google is aiming for. They're changing the link text in the SERP for individual query terms, not universally, and the idea is to improve click-through rates.
5:20 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I noticed this on some searches on my site. What I notice was that when that happened, I had that anchor text in my navigational structure. So I had many links with that anchor text pointing to that page. So instead of using the title tag for that page, the anchor text seemed to have overpowered that in some fashion
6:31 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I noticed this on some searches on my site. What I notice was that when that happened, I had that anchor text in my navigational structure. So I had many links with that anchor text pointing to that page. So instead of using the title tag for that page, the anchor text seemed to have overpowered that in some fashion


I just came here to post the same thing. I posted a while ago that Google was using my company name for my home page instead of my meta title.

In the footer of my website I had My Company sitewide linked back to my homepage. With in 3 days of removing that link my home page title is back to normal.

However Google is still adding My Company to the end of my title on many sub pages.