Google Title Tag Bug Causing Untitled Snippets?

Feb 1, 2012 • 8:55 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

Google Title TagYesterday Keri Morgret, a contributor here, SEOmoz associate and owner of Strike Models pinged me asking if I noticed complaints of people noticing Google labeling the title tag in the search results as "untitled."

This is not all that uncommon, especially if there is an HTML mess up with the title tag or Google gets confused with the site's true title.

At first, I thought it was a one or two off case and an issue with the site at hand. I looked into the code on one example and something seemed off in that case.

But now I am getting reports of more and more users complaining of this. I received emails and tweets of people showing me that a search for [adwords keyword tool] even shows an untitled blue link in the Google results:

Google Untitled Example

I am not sure if Google tweaked their title tag detection techniques recently, but it is possible something may be up.

Forum discussion at SEOmoz Forums.

Update: John Mueller from Google commented on this on my Google+ post saying:

John Mueller - +Aaron Bradley as far as I know, this is just a quirk with this particular URL, and not something general that has changed.

We are always working on improving how we pull and display titles in search (see http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/01/better-page-titles-in-search-results.html ), but this particular URL is a bit of an edge-case that shouldn't be seen as a representative of any general change in that direction :)

Previous story: New Google Blue Favicon Coming Soon?
 

Comments:

@steveplunkett

02/01/2012 02:03 pm

=) 

Michael Cropper

02/01/2012 02:06 pm

Spotted this last week on 26th, and it doesn't seem to have been updated since. I haven't seen it anywhere else though whereby Google is showing "Untitled" opposed so the correct Meta Title which is good. http://www.michaelcropper.co.uk/2012/01/missing-meta-title-on-google-keyword-tool-fail-794.html

NortheastUS Mustangs

02/01/2012 02:07 pm

I saw this a few days ago too....thought it was a bug on their end....good to know! Hopefully it'll be fixed soon.  P.S. Facebook commenting doesn't work, some connection issue.

Selena Narayanasamy

02/01/2012 02:13 pm

I noticed it with adwords also.

Brad Fry

02/01/2012 06:23 pm

I've tried everything I can think of to debug this and I cannot see anything wrong. It must be a bug.  I've also noticed that Bing has the wrong title tag (see attachment)

Brad Fry

02/01/2012 06:46 pm

It could be the tag on the same line as the title tag. is not permitted in the section.

Pozycjonowanie stron Gdańsk

02/01/2012 07:16 pm

Its curious, google keyword tool without title;) maybe google changed something and didnt notice a bug or anything is that;)

pittfall

02/01/2012 08:06 pm

In this particular example, Google (and Bing) are presenting a URL, title and a description for a page that does not exist.   The page actually requires you to have JavaScript enabled to even show in SERPs. The fact that the page is virtual (302 redirect with JavaScript & 302 redirect to error page without), it doesn't even have a title, so I can understand that it would be "Untitled" in Google and Bing provides it's own title in SERPs.

Dicebat

02/02/2012 07:16 am

Noticed this a week ago already. 

Megan

02/02/2012 09:12 am

Yes there is a change with google trying to capture own title tags or say as untitled. 

@GamblingSEO

02/02/2012 09:56 am

Google isn't immune to this bug either =) http://twitpic.com/8djtai

Sunny Ujjawal

02/02/2012 12:10 pm

Barry ... I also send this info to you few days before. I notice this 20 days before

northcutt

02/02/2012 09:11 pm

Posted a blog on this today as well.  http://blog.northcutt.com/2012/02/untitled-page-title-in-google/ There are multiple questions of this that were on SEOmoz (specifically, the Q&A section) as well.  Google certainly immune from SEO mistakes either, but comparing these three sites, there doesn't seem to be any significant correlation.  All that I was able to conclude after examining each of these sites is that it's a blooper that's occurring somewhat randomly.

Barry Schwartz

02/02/2012 09:30 pm

Turns out to be an issue with the sites themselves.  See John's comments at https://plus.google.com/u/0/107945426404682361496/posts/ASCFeBZitHj  He is a Googler.

northcutt

02/02/2012 10:00 pm

Thanks Barry, that helps a lot; updated my little write-up to credit you for the find. :)

Quantinto

02/07/2012 07:54 am

Its kind of funny. Google keeps changing the game making harder for you monkeys to get a straight answer, and Facebook (the new king) is up into 800,000,000 users and counting.  I say in a year, Google will be eating humble pie, and Facebook will be dominating....

Joe Hardin

06/18/2012 08:58 pm

This isn't just edge cases. It's happened to us several times today. Check out this page from our site: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/352c0b08ba03477db889a7ac7d4a82a8/GLF-American-Revival It's listed as "untitled" and has no preview text.

blog comments powered by Disqus