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Dynamic title tag - how do sites change their title tag?

9:43 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,
Over the last couple of weeks I've seen sites appearing on Google SERPs with a title tag (usually just their brand name) and then when clicked through their title tag changes to something much longer.

Example. If you go to Google.co.uk and search for 'rightmove' the first result will be the popular property website. Now look at their title, it's 'Rightmove', then when you click the link it goes through to the site and the title becomes something different.

Other examples are Zavvi and lastminute.com. With Zavvi, you're presented with something different again when searching for 'zavvi music' and more.

I'm confused.. Can anyone help me explain this?


12:10 pm on June 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What you're actually seeing here is a different display of the title in Google's search results, rather than the title itself actually changing.

There are a number of ways this can happen - Google can use the title from a directory like the Open Directory or Yahoo directory, and Google also rewrites title elements to what it believes are the titles most relevant to users.

Remember that the content you see in SERPs is context-specific - it depends on what you search for.

In your examples, if you search for the actual words within the title, you're likely to see that displayed in results instead, since Google wants to 'give you want you want'.

Mod note: Let's try to avoid specific examples if possible!
3:58 pm on July 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Andy,
Thanks for the great feedback.

So if I have a website, what is the best way to get this for ourselves? Submit to Dmoz with just the main brand term of URL as title?

Thanks again
8:53 pm on July 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is interesting - you're the first member I've seen who actually WANTS Google to change their title according to the search words. Most people have been upset by it. I guess they are getting it right sometimes.

At any rate, there's nothing I know of that you can do to make this happen. Google has an algorithm that decides if the title should be changed for any particular search term and they're still making changes to that algorithm. they're purpose is to get more clicks, so a title change seems more likely when the query terms aren't in the title. A common one is to add the domain name when the search terms include it, for instance.

Google doesn't just use DMOZ (which is very hard to get into anyway) but they also look at anchor text, the domain name, and even business name it seems if they can determine what it is based on their data.
4:19 am on July 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Changing the title tag is a common SEO on page doing by many wordpress sites.

See how popular this plugin is [wordpress.org ].
This plugin is used to make slightly different title tag than the post title which is more shorter and catchy.

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