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I've actually seen this quite recently where Google appended a "region keyword" to a page title.
Are all these changes auto-generated or are they done by manual reviewers?The kind of title rewrite you're suggesting is way too granular to scale if done manually, and change like that aren't what manual raters/reviewers do.
...if you read the Google generated title, it would most likely cause you to skip the page as not being what you wanted from the query you made.What came to my mind when I read the post is pretty much what keyplyr suggested. Many rewrites I've seen are in part inbound-link driven... perhaps in combination with a statistically rare spelling, perhaps also introducing vocabulary or meaning that Google isn't finding on the page itself.
On searches involved multiple entities, Google seems to be struggling to decide which entity is the core query and which are the modifiers. I think I'm seeing the effects of RankBrain, as in many cases the revised sense of the query is way beyond synonyms and really very good, but at other times the results are oddly primitive, probably because there's not yet that much data, and Google needs to grab at whatever obvious clues it has... vocabulary matching and the like.
If what I think I'm seeing is real, it's not just an algo change...Google seems to be building the serps differently. And yes, this would be much more than just a code update.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:39 am (utc) on Oct 26, 2016]
[edit reason] typo changed at poster's request [/edit]
my situation was based on the the U.S. state of Indiana, with the two letter state abbreviation being "IN".
If the "someword" theory fully explained it, "of" and "in" would be interchangeable. I've tried a bunch of real world searches, though, with both "of" and "in". Not only do they give different results, but there's another interesting difference as well... "in" triggers Local results at the top of the serps, whereas "of" doesn't.
I assume that Google doesn't index the stopwords, but it may use some of them in queries. I tried using "to" instead of "in", just in case "in" is special. Got different results yet... but, as with "of", no Local results at the top.
No, I did not see any spike of India traffic, it was just Google trying to determine the difference between "IN keyword" and "in keyword" where capitalized letters change the context.As title rewriting comes after the rankings, this no-spike in India traffic would make sense.