Google Pulling Titles From Google Maps Now?

Jul 16, 2009 • 9:07 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Title tags in the search results are very important, they drive clicks, which drives sales. It now appears that Google is pulling the title for some listings from Google Maps and not from the title tag in the page's source code.

A Google Webmaster Help thread reports this issue with a search for blinds or even their title tag, "Shop for Blinds, Window Blinds, Shutters, Plantation Shutters, Window Shades" returns the title tag, Blinds.com.

Title Tags from Google Maps?

Why is this happening? No one really knew in the thread, it was a mystery. But I subscribe to Mike Blumenthals blog where he noticed that Google is overriding the title tags for some sites with the business name listed in Google Maps. The thing is, in Mike's case, that site has an ODP listing and the ODP listing's title is being used in Google. If the site were to use a NOODP tag, I think, in this case, the title would revert back. Blinds.com doesn't have an ODP listing, so maybe Google is pulling the title from Google Maps?

If you look at the Google Maps listing for Blinds.com, you will notice the business name is Blinds.com:

Google Maps Title

The title tag in the source code, again is "Shop for Blinds, Window Blinds, Shutters, Plantation Shutters, Window Shades."

Why would Google replace the titles of the search listings with Google Maps? They do this sometimes with the ODP title, but people complained and Google supported the NOODP tag to stop Google from using that title over your title tag. So now we will need a NOgMAP tag?

I hope this is some weird bug.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: It looks like in this case, Google used something just because the robots.txt file prevented Google from reading the site at some point. JohnMu of Google just replied to the thread saying:

It looks like this URL was briefly disallowed via your robots.txt file. In a case like that, we might choose a different title (if we can't access the original URL), as we did here. In general, once the robots.txt is back to normal, this usually settles down over time, no worries :)

So I assume the title came from anchor text links.

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Comments:

David Eaves

07/16/2009 02:17 pm

I think so and hopefully it will not be too long before it comes out, the ones with just your website name in are crap, generally they tell the user very little about the site.

dan

07/16/2009 05:02 pm

Thanks for the post. We're going to make some changes to make the metas more easily available to Google, and we'll see if that helps.

Nick

07/16/2009 06:15 pm

Thanks for the heads up. Interesting stuff indeed.

Benj Arriola

07/16/2009 06:42 pm

I have mixed thoughts on this. After seeing this several times, but never realized it was from the maps, we did observe that the Maps title was triggered only on general branded keywords. Like the company name. But for generic keywords and long tail keywords, the title is still the page title tag. Google seems to do it right since if someone is searching the branded company term, probably the company name might get better clickthrough rates. If someone is search a specific product or service feature, then the company name title might be less effective. But had a problem with this with an existing client which I cannot talk about, but I will try to make up a similar example. Let's say I own a hyphothetical disco night club type of business named: Solid Gold. And let's say I have a title tag of "The hottest night club hangout place to sing and dance in Gotham City" When people search: Gold or Solid Gold and my site comes up. People might really be searching about Gold and if my title was showing the google maps entry and shows Solid Gold, people might be actually clicking on it. But if it was the title tag, at least this woul give some immediate indication that this site is not about gold. And for people who are really searching for my business named solid gold and is doing a Google navigation search, the title tag will help them confirm they are clicking on the right link. So having said that... for a side like this, there should be a NOLBS - No Local Business Search No Local BS just like how we use NOODP and NYDIR.

Kenichi Suzuki

07/16/2009 06:57 pm

Does it have anything to do with an article at Blogoscoped? http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2009-07-16-n24.html

SEPo

07/19/2009 01:25 am

Yes Kenichi - the Blogoscoped url above - Google have responded directly to this - as below: Update: Google’s John Mueller comments: "We may choose to replace titles which are repeated on a number of pages or which otherwise appear to be suboptimal – that’s probably what’s happening here. To resolve that, it would be a good idea to make sure that the titles are unique, compelling and relevant to every page and that the important parts are visible in the first part of the title text. You can get some help with finding duplicated titles in Webmaster Tools under Diagnostics / HTML suggestions."

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