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Google is now rewriting all my page titles

     

Alex997

5:54 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)



Since the big peak in google crawl rate from last Friday, Google has started to rewrite all of my page titles in the SERPs. MUCH worse on Google UK Mobile search than regular Google UK search results. ie. some of the page titles aren't rewritten on normal search.

Basically I usually try to target 2 keyword phrases in each title, and google is stripping out both and putting what Google things my title should be. So originally it was:

<keywords 1> - <keywords 2> | <Company Name>

Now it is:

<keywords 1> - <Company Name>

Where keyword 1 is sometimes changed too a little.

More and more pages are changing each day....

Anyone else seeing this?

mslina2002

6:46 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have seen it in the past month or so.

Where some of my pages are

<widget 1> | <widget main page>

Google will put

<widget 1> | <keywords1> <keywords2> <keywords3>

for a few of those pages.

I am not complaining as the 3 keywords are my main keywords that I have my site and index optimized for.

SnowMan68

6:56 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)



I have seen this for well over a month now. It hasn't affected our CTR to the perspective pages.

Catalyst

7:06 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Google has been changing title tag to business name in LOCAL search for over a month now. (Only in certain positions) I blogged about it maybe 1 1/2 months ago.

There are 2 diff algo changes that happened fairly recently that affect titles in SERPS. Can't remember what the algos are called.

She's been re-writing SERP titles for awhile now. BUT in local she started changing to business name, oh maybe almost 2 months ago.

What's odd - if you do a local search for City + Keyword, normally the A listing will get their title tag.

So just increase rank to #1 and you'll get your title back. ;-)

B, C and sometimes D - she is TRYING to get the business name by scraping from the web site and SOMETIMES gets it wrong. I shared a couple examples where on one listing instead of name, she just showed initials and another she just used a single keyword "Dentist." Or I've even seen cases where she is TOTALLY wrong a scrapes a couple words that aren't even on the site. So instead of title tag OR business name, she displays something bogus like "Register Here."

Then the E, F, G listings usually she's pulling the name right off the Google+ Local page.

Linda

SnowMan68

7:19 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)



So just increase rank to #1 and you'll get your title back. ;-)


We are #1 for numerous keywords and they still rewrite our titles.

Catalyst

7:39 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Sorry I was talking about in local not organic. In the A blended spot, the listings I see still usually show title tags.

HuskyPup

7:51 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)



Welcome to my world, where have you been for the past year or more?

<keywords 1> - <keywords 2> | <Company Name>


I see on my sites on a very regular basis:

<keyword 1> - <additional unrelated keyword> | <Company Name.com> - Company Name

They've been messing around like this for ages, there are several threads about it. I find it infuriating that I have a targeted keyword to the on-page product and description, the on-page image yet they "know" better and re-write my titlebar inserting a totally unrelated product keyword.

Yes, I do have the totally unrelated product elsewhere on my site but in its own completely dedicated section.

indyank

1:48 am on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I agree with Huskypup. It is more than a year since they started rewriting titles....and it has been discussed a lot here on webmasterworld.

Robert Charlton

6:46 am on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



A thread from Sept, 2010... and it's been going on much longer than that....

Google is testing altered page titles
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4206724.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Google has been testing different title rewrite approaches over time, I think incrementally verifying each approach before going ahead to the next one.

I also think they're also using rewritten titles to make pages more prominent as they test different algo factors and winnow out pages that perhaps don't fit certain types of user intent. So I may be disagreeing with some of what I'd posted in the above-noted thread... It's possible, I'm thinking, that the title rewrite and the ranking change might be happening in tandem.

It's not always good news if you've got a page ranking for a query that really doesn't fit it.

indyank

10:35 am on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



It's not always good news if you've got a page ranking for a query that really doesn't fit it.


Several times i have come across Google ranking pages for the wrong queries even if the webmaster didn't want the page to be ranked for that query? But will affect the page rank for the queries for which the page was really intended?

Robert Charlton

5:47 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I think all of these changes are query specific... and in general I wouldn't worry about it.

I have on one occasion, though, in an ecommerce site, noindexed a page that was essentially a customer TOS page, not something intended as a "sales" page. Google had rewritten the title and given it a sitelink (I'm sure as a test) which made the page attractive, and I felt that any searchers clicking would back out of it and perhaps hurt the site as a whole.

matrix_jan

6:25 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I have the same nonsense thing going on. My titles are something like this:

<widget name> | <one word description> | <even more specific one word description>

Now on the SERP my pages appear as <even more specific one word description>, this is totally nonsense, it's like showing in SERP red, or wide only for the titles. Apparently the super smart algo thinks the last one that comes after | should be the company name and puts only the "company name" in the SERP to differentiate my page from all the others which have somewhat the same title, letting the user to rely on the description alone to have an idea what that page is about. But unfortunately my descriptions don't have the widget name in it, they have the "widget brand" name, like: A big variety of ACME products... And I'm talking about millions of pages...

Now I don't even know what to do, making changes is very risky, not making any will cause a steady decline in traffic which I already start to notice. So I'm waiting for an official release from G saying we made these these changes to how the titles are being chopped and shown, so give titles to your pages accordingly...

P.S. And the reason why I have so detailed titles is to avoid G giving me duplicate title warning. Now how can I fit descriptions of millions of pages in a very limited tight space? By giving them numbers? Sound very user friendly...

indyank

3:37 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Many are annoyed with these title rewrites. I think Google is doing this because they don't want to rely on anything from the webmaster - title, description, links, anchor text etc..

But they could have the same logic they use right now, just to correlate whether the author assigned title is reasonably appropriate rather than changing the title by default.

tedster

3:46 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



From what I can see:

1. The title rewrite algorithm is specific to the search term
2. The goal is to increase clicks. How well they achieve that goal is an open question.

indyank

5:03 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



The goal is to increase clicks


I don't understand this argument. Why should Google worry about increasing clicks and for whom they are they trying to increase clicks? Isn't it enough if they rank results appropriately? Weren't people clicking on the search results, if not their other products (adsense, videos, news, images, places, etc.etc)?

idolw

5:55 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Did you by any chance have some pages 301ed? I described similar problems here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Alex997

7:38 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)



If you do a search on site:<domain> you see changed titles so it's not search specific at all.

HuskyPup

9:50 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)



@Alex997

Hahaha...so true, I just did this and surprisingly my index page came back correctly however one page came back like this:

Keyword1Keyword2 <companyname> <companyname.com> <companyname>

A slight bit of Company name keyword stuffing there methinks Google!

The re-writing is also very haphazard, many pages have it, many do not, I can't see a consistent correlation here...yet. I initially thought it was my shorter titles however it's not.

Bewenched

10:01 pm on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I thought the use of this tag would prevent them from butchering content.

<meta name="googlebot" content="noodp">

jimbeetle

10:41 pm on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



That's only to steop G from using the ODP description as the snippet.

Shatner

7:56 am on Aug 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



Seeing the same thing and in every case it has made my page titles worse.

themaninthejar

10:43 am on Aug 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



I posted about this a couple of times in other threads. My thought was that this re-written title was Google's note-to-self about the page, flagging all your pages with the keyphrase for which your site is over-optimised. Most of my titles were presented as:

<Internal anchor text for the page> - <Site's main two-word keyphrase target> - <Brand name of company>

I have de-optimised my site and brought keyword usage down to more natural levels and my titles are now presented thus:

<Title of Page as I wrote it> - <Brand Name of Company>

netmeg

1:52 pm on Aug 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Looks like Bing/Yahoo is doing the same thing one at least one of my client sites. Need to look further, but they're appending the company name and sometimes the title (tagline) from the home page to my product pages.

outland88

2:36 am on Aug 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Bing/Yahoo has been doing it for quite a while. If you contact Bing/Yahoo they will fix it. Some of their agents do not realize it so it may take a few contacts. It does make a big differnce with them. Overall their CS is awesome and I've dealt with it quite a few times. If it did make a difference with Google what recourse do you have?

mike2010

1:52 am on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Google has been changing title tag to business name in LOCAL search for over a month now. (Only in certain positions) I blogged about it maybe 1 1/2 months ago.

There are 2 diff algo changes that happened fairly recently that affect titles in SERPS. Can't remember what the algos are called.

She's been re-writing SERP titles for awhile now. BUT in local she started changing to business name, oh maybe almost 2 months ago.


I've got this going on with one of my domains recently.

All I did basically was change the IP and Hostname to another company's server IP so that I could white-label our domain on their server.

In view source, the Title Tags appear fine with what should appear in the Title...but for some reason google caches and uses our domain company name (whois) as the title in it's listing. Nothing local here either...it appears like that in normal search.

How to make the correct title tags to appear, and why the heck are they doing this ? and how do they scrape the company name...from domain registration ? Because we don't have our company name listed anywhere on the site.

So weird & stupid that they would do this, when we specify what should be in Title.

tedster

6:47 pm on Aug 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



for some reason google caches and uses our domain company name

Do you mean that Google uses a changed title for the title element of the cached page?

They do change the clickable words in the search results - so they do not always use the actual page title on all search results. But I've never seen the title element changed on the cache page.

mike2010

5:11 pm on Aug 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



not the cache'd page, but the current page.

It's been over a month now, and google's listing isn't using our specified Title tags...it's using the domain name as the title tags. (but it's also specified as our company name in our DNS registration.)

[edited by: tedster at 6:19 pm (utc) on Aug 6, 2012]

Martin Ice Web

9:18 am on Aug 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Could it be that this is a sort of branding? Or test of branding? How poeple sees your company? I mean when a user searches an clicks direct on your site although it as #3 or #4 because he regocnize the company name?
Google rewrittes some of our titles, too. But as we do have a good name in our niche, i do like this, because poeple say: Ah, i know them but didnīt know they sell this things.

Robert Charlton

9:20 pm on Aug 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Could it be that this is a sort of branding? Or test of branding?

I'm seeing results that partially fit the branding model, but only if the title is too long.

I happen to have an interesting but limited test bed... let me describe. A while back, a longtime client and a well-known niche brand (let's call them BrandA) was acquired by a 900-lb gorilla (let's call them GorillaGuys). I've had more or less no input into subsequent SEO, but I've continued to watch the site over various Google changes. BrandA's site has been left operating, essentially unchanged except for news about the acquisition, changes in contact info, etc. Until recently, there's been no visible SEO presence on GorillaGuys.tld for BrandA terms.

Some months back, in the /Products/BrandA/ directory, GorillaGuys essentially cloned the BrandA optimized pages. They added GorillaGuys identification via a few extra headings up at the top of pages, but kept page titles unchanged.

Because BrandA's name was short, I'd always included it as the first word in page titles, so BrandA is being promoted as a branded product line of the larger company. Gradually, I've noticed the clones of the BrandA pages on the GorillaGuys site moving up to page two and the bottom of page one. BrandA pages continue also to rank, usually in the top two or three. Queries are brand name independent.

What I'm seeing in the serps is that on pages where my original titles were less than 64 characters, Google is displaying page titles on the GorillaGuys.tld site with no change.

On the few pages where I'd let the BrandA titles go long, though, say 80 characters (keeping the essential information in the first 64 characters but otherwise allowing extra descriptive phrases), on the GorillaGuys pages, Google has truncated the title endings and added "GorillaGuys" to the ends of the displayed titles. It has not added GorillaGuys to the shorter titles.

This raises the question of whether the rewritten titles others are seeing are longer than 62-64 characters.

MUCH worse on Google UK Mobile search than regular Google UK search results. ie. some of the page titles aren't rewritten on normal search.

This too suggests that length may be a factor in what's rewritten... at least in this round of results... and that Google may be testing various default lengths for mobile display. The examples reported also suggest that Google is considering brand name an important term to be included... but perhaps Google considers this only when it's making a change.

It would be interesting, as some mobile devices display longer titles, whether Google may come up with some sort of adaptive title-length rewrite algo. ;)

I'm assuming that this, as with everything else Google, is an ongoing test in progress.

Martin Ice Web

10:29 pm on Aug 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@Robert,

i checked my titles that have been rewritten and it seems that u are right in regard of the title lenght.
But why does google apend the brand name? Why donīt they display only the first characters. Where is the "extra" information for the users in doing this?
This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37
 

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