Google Ignoring Your Page Titles?

Jul 14, 2011 • 9:05 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

title tag CTRFor the past month, I've been seeing sporadic reports that Google is ignoring the webmaster's title tag and rewriting it to a Google made up title tag.

There are four different threads on this topic at WebmasterWorld since June on the topic.

This new change seems to be a limited test since around June and for the most part, webmasters are not happy about it.

We know Google may opt to change your meta description and use something different in the search result snippet area but page titles?

Anyway, this does not seem to be fully rolled out. I assume if it does, Google will only change your title tag based on the search query used and when they think it makes most sense. Are you comfortable giving Google the keys to your titles in the search results?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Black Seo Guy

07/14/2011 01:30 pm

I personally haven't seen any signs of it..but I will keep my eye out for it. "Black Seo Guy "Signing Off"


07/14/2011 01:49 pm

We've seen it happen to our company well for us though as our company name is long and Google is displaying our 3 letter abbreviation

Emiliano Elias

07/14/2011 01:54 pm

I´ve seen this but almost a year ago. When a website has the same or no at all in all their pages google shows a different one in the SERPs. For what i could see, they try to identify what is the title of the page (not the , but the user-visible one) and use that as the . I haven´t seen a website with an optimized with a changed one in the SERPs by google yet.

Jonathon Hewitt

07/14/2011 01:59 pm

I have noticed this for a while and do not like it. But that's the very reason Google does it so that there is less to be manipulated.

John Doherty

07/14/2011 02:00 pm

This happened to me back in April. I wrote about it here: For me, it was on-page content combined with anchor texts pointing in. I wrote about how I solved it here: I don't like that they are doing this, necessarily, but if it does not affect rankings and increases CTRs (though I am not sure how we would measure this), I'm not against it.

Dan Whitehouse

07/14/2011 04:25 pm

I noticed when Chrome was released that the title tag doesn't fully appear in the new window. This was always going to be a sign of Google's intentions right?

Joe Williams

07/14/2011 05:05 pm

I've seen this about 9 months ago. A little like when the description tag doesn't offer much value (duplicate or too short), Google will ignore it and create one from the content. Although Google has more guessing work to do for titles in such cases. e.g. pulling the main heading of the page and using the brand. That's about as far as I have seen it. 


07/14/2011 05:09 pm

 This is definitely something to be aware of.  Google can be sneaky so thanks for the heads up!

Barry Schwartz

07/14/2011 08:05 pm

Pierre from Google added more info on this at Google +. See

Lydia Sarfati

07/14/2011 10:35 pm

Barry, I saw this in the case of a search for skin care expert [Lydia Sarfati] the title tag should be "Skin Care Tips & Spa Business Advice by Professional Skin Care Expert Lydia Sarfati" but Google chose to use her name [Lydia Sarfati] and ignore the Title Tag completley. I am really NOT happy with this and NOT happy giving Google the keys to my titles in the search results.


07/14/2011 11:16 pm

Well I'm glad it isn't just me,  I had an appointment with my therapist over this, as I assumed the hallucinations were back.


07/14/2011 11:19 pm

They are changing my adwords titles.  If I am paying for those titles they should not be messing with them! We need a new title tag attribute.... rel="dfwmtt" How would that work with adwords?


07/15/2011 04:30 am

They are changing your ADWORDS titles?


07/15/2011 05:09 am

Never experienced it yet, but thats a very good thing to look out for it... Thanks for sharing...

James Holden

07/15/2011 01:07 pm

Yes, it will do. In particular when a site has mostly duplicated title tags. It seems to use anchor text from internal links on the same site. Makes sense if you ask me.Writing unique title tags with your keywords included is about the lowest of low hanging fruit so there's no excuses for not having them sorted out already.

Dave Keys

07/15/2011 06:04 pm

Uh oh. There goes my call to action strategy. So, in stead of "Call Dave Keys" it will just say something generic about SEO guy? Nah, not so great.


07/15/2011 07:29 pm

Actually I think this might have happened to one of my clients, I've been scrambling to figure out what is going on with it since the title appearing in Google is NOT the one I have for the pages in the site. This is definitely a terrible idea.

Melissa Fach

07/15/2011 08:52 pm

I have seen this several times and couldn't figure out what was happening. Thanks!

Christian Greiner

07/16/2011 05:14 am

I curious if anyone who has spent time to create a well thought out title tag has experienced this, or is it just replacing the title when the given title is too spammy or not unique.  This could be a non-issue for most SEOs (other than taking away the competitive advantage of having a well constructed title).

Rajesh Kumar

07/16/2011 10:30 am

No, I am not comfortable, Google now playing game with webmasters when they are finding that Webmasters have the solution to all their algos........

Upgrade Software

07/22/2011 06:45 am

I'm confused! Why would Google think it necessary to change the page titles, after all the page title hosts direct communication between the WebMaster and the search engine?


11/21/2011 06:18 pm

My site, admittedly, had repetitive keywords that may have looked spammy and Google truncated the Title that was displayed and made it relevant to the actual searched phrase. I have no problem with this. It's not our place as webmasters to feel anything when "giving Google the keys to your titles in the search results". You aren't actually giving Google anything. They aren't changing YOUR site, they're changing THEIR site! If they decide not to show titles at all, what right do you have to say anything about it? Nothing. I see my listings in Google as a privilege, not a right. If any of you webmasters are uncomfortable with this, just ask Google to de-index your site......yeah, that's what I thought.

Miami SEO Expert

12/06/2011 04:09 am

Not very happy with so many changes to the rules that they established before. It took me many hours of trial and error to fine tune my onpage optimization on dozens of sites. Now this? Come on!

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