Are Search Query Defined Dynamic Headlines Allowed?

Sep 30, 2011 • 8:14 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

dynamic headlinesThere is an excellent thread at HighRankings Forum asking if it would be acceptable to change the page's headline based off the search query the user came from via the search engine.

For example, someone goes to Google, searches for [big blue widget] and clicks on your page. The page title by default reads, "Blue Widget" but in this case, the headline would dynamically change to "Big Blue Widget" because that is what the searcher search for.

Is that acceptable?

We covered a similar topic back in 2005 about highlighting search queries based on referrer data in the document. But what about changing the actual text on the page based off of it.

I think this might be a bit in the gray area. I mean, technically, what you would be serving GoogleBot would be different from what you are serving the searcher - slightly different.

Michael Martinez responded that this wouldn't be a high risk issue, he said, "In my opinion, as you propose it is probably not a high-risk practice but you'll only know for sure when you try it."

Anyway, I am not sure how Google would react to this, so if you have done this and have experience with it, do share.

Forum discussion at HighRankings Forums.

Note: This story was written earlier this week and scheduled to be published today.

Image from iQoncept/Shutterstock.

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09/30/2011 12:57 pm

This type of cloaking has been going on for years - it's not a case of whether its acceptable, its a case of whether its identifiable.

flash template

09/30/2011 01:29 pm

Very actual information for me! Thanks alot!

Andrew Rayner

09/30/2011 03:37 pm

We've worked with a client to dynamically control images based on search text, increased conversion rates by 20% - users happy, business happy

Briank Cox

09/30/2011 03:37 pm

Google does this in there search results as is for random queries, so why cant we do it on our sites? 

Kyle Johnson

09/30/2011 09:52 pm

This is being way over-analyzed.  Google dislikes pages that dynamically change content for 2 reasons only:  1) to appear more relevant to a bot than you actually are (cloaked content stuffing) and 2) to appear benign to bots when you have malicious code on your page (malicious cloaking). Google dislikes these because their ultimate goal is to *provide the best user experience* by serving the most relevant documents to a specific search query. If you are using data readily supplied by Google to slightly modify your page content in order to *provide a better user experience* and increase engagement + conversion rate, then you're acting within perfectly acceptable guidelines of website optimization.


10/02/2011 03:25 am

Who are Google to say that this can't be done. It's personalization of the content, and Google do it too in the SERPs and with AdSense.


10/04/2011 02:46 am

Yes, Google applies search query defined dynamic headline for their navigation keyword. I query : , Google shows headline : . I have posted the snapshots in my blog.

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