Google's Matt Cutts: Anticipate The Query To Better Control Titles In Google

Apr 29, 2014 • 8:45 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

title tag CTRGoogle's Matt Cutts posted a video explaining why and when Google may use something other than your title tag for the search results title snippet.

Matt Cutts suggested that it is best for your to try to anticipate what the user will search for when crafting your title tags. When you do that and then when it matches the query, then Google will likely show your title tag.

Google uses three criteria when determining if they should use your title tag:

(1) Something that is "relatively" short
(2) Have a good description of the page and "ideally": the site that the page is on.
(3) And that it is relevant to the query.

If you fail on these criteria, then Google may use (1) content on your page, (2) anchor text links pointing to the page and/or (3) may also use the Open Directory Project.

Here is the video:

Other title tag related stories:

Forum discussion at Google+.

Previous story: Google Index Status Count Drop After Update Line


Mestre dos sites

04/29/2014 02:50 pm

die matt cutts, please die =/

Ryne Landers

04/29/2014 03:01 pm

"Matt Cutts suggested that it is best for your to try to anticipate what the user will search for when crafting your title tags. When you do that and then when it matches the query, then Google will likely show your title tag." Really? No shit, Matt. Thanks for SEO 101. What year is this?! What's with all of the world's most basic "duh" statements coming out of El Goog recently and being paraded through the streets (SEM blogs) like the words of the prophets from on high?? This is at least the second or third such post in the past ~30 days that had absolutely the most basic SEO advice that we all learned decades ago, and it's being posted here like some sort of revelatory advice. "try to anticipate what the user will search for when crafting your title tags." Really? Damn, I must've been doing it wrong this whole time by using generic phrases and unrelated keywords. /s Thanks for the basics, Matt.

F1 Steve

04/29/2014 03:25 pm

So Google re writes our titles to ensure a higher CTR on our organic sites, at the expense of their advertisers.... It is really considerate that G has taken over control of the title element of my """competing against their advertisers"""" organic listings! :)


04/29/2014 04:37 pm

i can only imagine how google "search engine" can change name of matt cutts, if it will need to modify it. Like Matt Cutts: "King" of the world with big red button who love childish games.


04/29/2014 04:40 pm

I anticipate that it will be a phrase from Google instant's autocomplete so basically all page titles should be exact matches of autocomplete search terms. Thanks for clarifying that Matt.

Nick Ker

04/29/2014 04:47 pm

To be fair to Cutts/Google, I don't think these videos are really for people who already know something about SEO. Believe it or not, there are people who are new to all of this stuff and it is important for Google to get the basics out there to be found, instead of the mountains of misinformation and bad advice that are out there.

Mark Boyd

04/29/2014 06:20 pm

I've had a couple of "experts" tell me that both titles and descriptions are worthless anymore. While I've never believed that they're actually "worthless," I have wondered just how much Google weighs them in the overall search results picture. Thanks for posting this, Barry. It vindicates what I've thought all along...just be reasonable and accurate with your titles and they can still help you:)


04/29/2014 07:31 pm

Titles and meta descriptions are very important. Both title and meta description influence how your results look in the SERPs. Both correlate very strongly as ranking factors.

Mark Boyd

04/29/2014 08:44 pm

Agreed. Thanks for the insight:)

Gene Eugenio

04/29/2014 10:58 pm

This theme-based approach reeks of Hummingbird update. It's probably a good idea to anticipate more of the such tweaks in the future. This is actually a great step forward because it raises costs for spammers.

Peter Watson

04/29/2014 11:05 pm

A good title and description can double your click through rate.

Peter Watson

04/29/2014 11:07 pm

Agree. Cutts isn't only speaking to the 'experts' out there. Not all of his video's a catered to the pros.


04/30/2014 06:05 am

I don't know why people attack MC on here. In the beginning Google were much more opaque than they are today. I for one appreciate him in the community and Google's effort to be to be transparent. Comments like "die matt cutts" are not appropriate. But I guess it's an indication that the WebSpam team are ruffling the right feathers.

Gaurav Srivastava

04/30/2014 06:35 am

Rather than title, sometimes, Google shows keyword which have higher density on page.


04/30/2014 07:07 am

Google transparent? What a joke! Any business that considers itself even slightly ETHICAL should boycott Google. If you are a business that pays your fair share of tax then you should be revolted by the Tax avoidance techniques that Google employs. The pure corporate greed of this monster company is hard to measure but everyone can make them understand how their greed makes honest tax payers feel by using another search engine Try DUCKDUCKGO, it´s not so different! Don´t put another dime in the pockets of these corporate thieves.

Love Peoples

04/30/2014 08:12 am

Its time to

Roman M

04/30/2014 08:52 am

Grow up!

Roman M

04/30/2014 08:55 am

Not entirely true - where as page titles are a ranking factor, the descriptions aren't. They are however very important in terms of CTR and the overall look and feel of your snippet in the SERP.

Jitendra Vaswani

04/30/2014 09:07 am

Titles are very important they do play important role.

Patti Paz

04/30/2014 12:09 pm

What world are you living in? Google TRANSPARENT, yea, kinda like our president . . . .

Mark Boyd

04/30/2014 12:31 pm

Yep. Thanks for your insight:) I know they're not the proverbial "keys to the kingdom," but there are some who ignore them completely in the SEO mix and I've believed that they still have relevance. I've had great success with RDFa, but many who latch on to RDFa completely forget about the basics like titles.

Ryne Landers

04/30/2014 04:17 pm

What a valuable response to this post...

Ryne Landers

04/30/2014 04:18 pm

Were they these sort of "experts"?

Nick Ker

04/30/2014 06:21 pm

Given the number of sites I audit which were "optimized" by alleged professionals - yet totally lack any consideration of how the titles read or work for search, maybe this one really is for the "experts". So many SEO wannabes are caught up in all the hype over links, Penguin, guest blogging and other external things, that they seem to forget there is a site at the end of the link trail, and that site needs to be optimized.

Jitendra Vaswani

05/01/2014 06:04 am

Thanks Ryne, do u have any valuable response


05/01/2014 11:30 am

That explains a lot. Im thinking most Google haters who think Google lies and only cares about adwords revenue, also think our president is a kenya-born socialist muslim. Who needs facts when you have FoxNews, right?


05/05/2014 06:10 am

Matt Cutts brings ODP and DMOZ directory back into the action. There was lot of discussion that Google still uses dmoz links or do they crawl and index those millions of pages? Is this answer? I am not sure.

Mark Boyd

05/15/2014 05:11 pm

I agree with Nick. There are people who are new to SEO and there are also the "bad kids" who need constant discipline. Let's face it, if everyone used honesty and common sense, there wouldn't be any need for all this crap. I describe the algorithm updates, etc. to my clients like this... We're all back in 1st grade again and we all lose recess because of the two kids in the class who won't behave. Those two kids grew up to become black hat seo's and make life more...umm...interesting for the rest of us.

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