Anyone else noticed Google changing your title tag in the SERPs to an unspecified text string?

10 replies
  • SEO
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I just started noticing this last week. Google is arbitrarily displaying unspecified title tags in the results pages that do not match the title tag code of the particular page. Would like to get some thoughts on this. Thanks for your input. The attached images below will better explain what I'm trying to say:









NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with Laser Spine Institute, this page is simply an example of my findings.
#changing #google #noticed #serps #string #tag #text #title #unspecified
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    It's funny you posted this subject. I've been testing a few things for a theory I have on page titles.

    My idea is to have no page title tag in the header & get Google to display a wider variety of SERP titles for more than a single keyword phrase based on in content text/tags.

    I'm still testing this so I don't have anything to share yet, but I think it will work.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    If you do this Google site search it shows the normal title tag.


    "cervicalgia" site:your-domain.com

    I did the search with your domain from the screenshot in OP, I didn't think you would want the URL posted as text, here.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    The first <h2> tag is the exact text that's showing in the 2nd part of the SERP title.

    <title> + <h2>
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Some useful info from the Google Webmaster Central Blog

    Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Better page titles in search results

    Also from

    http://support.google.com/webmasters...75&ctx=topic#3

    If we’ve detected that a particular result has one of the above issues with its title, we may try to generate an improved title from anchors, on-page text, or other sources
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      Ha, ha, that blogspot article was the reason I had my theory on testing pages with no <title> tag in the header. I was reading that article a few days ago (bookmarked it ).

      The thing that stuck out the most to me was this paragraph:

      [source]
      We use many signals to decide which title to show to users, primarily the <title> tag if the webmaster specified one. But for some pages, a single title might not be the best one to show for all queries, and so we have algorithms that generate alternative titles to make it easier for our users to recognize relevant pages. Our testing has shown that these alternative titles are generally more relevant to the query and can substantially improve the clickthrough rate to the result, helping both our searchers and webmasters. About half of the time, this is the reason we show an alternative title.
      That one paragraph sums up exactly what Wikipedia has been doing for years, only with the Meta-Description tag. Wikipedia doesn't run Meta-Description tags & we all know that Wiki doesn't have a problem ranking pages.

      Anyways, my theory is the same will work with page titles.

      Instead of a single page title for the masses, why not have multiple page titles to help improve the SERP CTR & keyword search phrase relevancy.

      Just like Google pointed out in the quoted paragraph above, the traffic is more likely to have a higher CTR on the SERP result If the Title is more targeted to the actual search query. This goes back to Wiki style on-page SEO & <h> tags spread out over the page.

      Anyways, I know it works for Meta descriptions & SERP descriptions, I think SERP titles might also work. Still testing/researching the idea...
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        I'll be curious to see what you find Yukon. Obviously many people feel that title tags have a role in SEO. I have no doubt that letting Google pick the tag can certainly increase CTR, but I wonder what the effect of not having one would be on the rankings themselves.

        A higher CTR is nice, but if it is at the cost of lower rankings by not having one, the trade-off may not be worth it.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Williamson
          Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

          I'll be curious to see what you find Yukon. Obviously many people feel that title tags have a role in SEO. I have no doubt that letting Google pick the tag can certainly increase CTR, but I wonder what the effect of not having one would be on the rankings themselves.

          A higher CTR is nice, but if it is at the cost of lower rankings by not having one, the trade-off may not be worth it.
          Exactly what I was thinking...
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  • Profile picture of the author J0hnnycl1ckz
    This just happened to me and I was like WTH?!? Thanks for posting this I understand what's going on now!
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