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Google can change your page title on the fly for their search results page

Published on 14th May 2013

Google Title attributeHere’s something I just found out yesterday that you might find interesting if you’re interested in getting the best from your web site.

If Google doesn’t think your page title properly represents your page content they can change the title on the fly as they present your site in their search results page. Yes really!

The page title is the most important item on any web page and should be unique. It should describe the content and target subject of the web page.

When I do a web site audit this is one of the first areas I take a look at because if it’s not right then your site will have little chance of getting a good ranking for the subject matter.

Don’t put your company name in a title as you’ll already rank well for your company name, use the title to say something about the page. For example if you are a hotel in say Crail with a restaurant and you want to attract visitors to your restaurant page don’t use “Crail Hotel restaurant”. Try something like “Fine dining in Crail in our beautiful beach front restaurant” or “Restaurant in Crail offering superb food from local sources”. Think about what your potential customers are searching for and address their requirements. Your title should be no more than 70 characters long.

What I didn’t know was that Google can actually display a different title on the search results to the one you have created for your web page. This is very important as it shows how much importance Google attributes to this tag and it also means that if you’re doing a poor job Google will try and fix it.

Here’s a video from Matt Cutts at Google talking though the benefits of snippets. In the first 2 minutes he discusses the titles issue.

If you’d like to read more you can see the Google Support page on the subject here https://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35624

Categories: Google, SEO

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