Google Picking Titles Incorrectly?

Jul 20, 2009 - 8:31 am 2 by

Last week, we asked if Google was picking titles from Google Maps? It turned out to not be the case. In fact, there has been a surprising number of people complaining about the titles Google is showing for a specific page in the search results.

A newer thread at Google Webmaster Help brings up a new case where a search for returned a title that read "Schools that teach Flash - Best Animation Schools" as opposed to just "Best Animation Schools." It seems to be fixed for me now, but JohnMu of Google did chime in.

John said:

There are certain situations where we'd replace a title in search results (as is happening here), for example if we find that the same title is used on a number of pages or if the title is otherwise not that good (eg "Home"). It looks like in this case we chose a weird title -- I've passed it on to the team so that they can take a look and adjust things if possible.

Now, John replied with a similar message to several other threads or blog posts. Google must have done something recently which caused many titles to be overwritten by what Google thinks would be a more appropriate title.

Let's explore what John said a bit more. A different title may be used in the Google search results if:

(1) "The same title is used on a number of pages," a duplicate content title adjustment?

(2) "The title is otherwise not that good (eg "Home")", which we knew for a while now.

The first one is most interesting to me and I personally have never seen Google admit before.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.


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