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Old 06-07-2006   #1
donelson
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Old homepage title was changed by Google - why?

I just noticed today that Google has put their own Title into the listing for the home page of our Taj Mahal website: www.taj-mahal.net

New "Google" title: Explore The Taj-Mahal
(note the hyphen they added as well)

MY TITLE: Explore the Taj Mahal online - " WOW ! 5-Stars! " - SundayTimes_London

My Title has been around for at least a year now... Perhaps they consider the quote etc to be "title spam" ?

Has anything else happened to Google SERPs? New algorithms? New rules?

Why would they do this? Has this affected other sites as well?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by Marcia : 06-07-2006 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 06-07-2006   #2
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Hi Donelson

Its not new.

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ad.php?t=11428
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum17/995-2-10.htm
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum10003/48.htm

Have a look at both your DMOZ listings...

Explore The Taj-Mahal - Virtual tour of the Taj Mahal with a user friendly interface. [English/French]
Computers: Multimedia: Software: Macromedia Flash: Animations

Explore the Taj Mahal - Armchair Travel provides a comprehensive virtual tour of this stunning monument via sensitive map and 360-degree Quick Time panoramas. Narration and music.
Regional: Asia: India: Uttar Pradesh: Localities: Agra: Arts and Entertainment: Taj Mahal

And this is what Google went with:

Explore The Taj-Mahal
Virtual tour of the Taj Mahal with a user friendly interface. [English/French]
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Old 06-07-2006   #3
donelson
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Thanks, Chris...

Yes, the description has always been (vastly out-of-date) from DMOZ (sigh), but the Title was always the actual page title ( for more than FIVE YEARS! )

When / Why did Google decide to change the title as well?

( I am fully aware of all the DMOZ-pain, a global pain, a painful pain, an out-of-date pain, arrggghhh )

PS. I note that other website titles have suddenly changed as well, e.g. Trump Taj Mahal casino, etc.
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Old 06-07-2006   #4
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Unfortunately there is not way to opt out of the ODP title in Google ... et. MSN have just release a META-tag that you can use to opt-out from ODP in MSN (THANKS MSN!) and I really hope Google will follow up

The MSN tags are:
<meta content="NOODP" name="ROBOTS" />
<meta content="NOODP" name="msnbot" />

Right now they both do the same because only MSN suports them
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Old 06-07-2006   #5
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Again, my question:

What's Changed At Google? Why Now ? Why after Five Years ?

Why have I seen no other notes on this forum?

I have see NO NEWS about this at all, anywhere !
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Old 06-07-2006   #6
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donelson perhaps if you read the links that chris D posted you will get more insight.
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Old 06-07-2006   #7
donelson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
donelson perhaps if you read the links that chris D posted you will get more insight.
I DID READ THEM , thank you.

They do NOT answer my question of: Why Now?

What's changed since yesterday or the day before ?
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Old 06-07-2006   #8
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Things change at the search engines all the time. Google have used ODP titles on and off for a long, long time - you just got hit by it now. There probably is no other good explanaition than bad luck. I wish I could tell you something better but this is very often the natur of the (SEO) game
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Old 06-07-2006   #9
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My guess is it's something to do with copyright/TM and your reference to the Sunday Times, change it to "a leading British Sunday" and see what happens ;-)

Last edited by glengara : 06-07-2006 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 06-07-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
My guess is it's something to do with copyright/TM and your reference to the Sunday Times, change it to "a leading British Sunday" and see what happens ;-)
Hmmm.. Could be right, but it's been that way for several years, AND the quote is verified and shown on our website...

But I'll change it and see what happens (why not!) and report back here.

Note: It was -- "SundayTimes_London"
(all one word, so human recognition must have been involved if this was the problem)

Last edited by donelson : 06-07-2006 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 06-07-2006   #11
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It's the only rational explanation I could come up with, is your DMOZ title not just "Taj-Mahal"?
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Old 06-07-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
It's the only rational explanation I could come up with, is your DMOZ title not just "Taj-Mahal"?
Oh yes, the "DMOZ explanation" certainly fits the facts, BUT since we have only seen the Description coming (for years) from DMOZ but NOT the Title, I was wondering what bright spark (RIH) at Google thought "They hate DMOZ descriptions, let's really hurt them with DMOZ Titles as well, ha ha ha ha ha"
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Old 06-07-2006   #13
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I've nothing against conspiracy theories per se, but my hunch is still with the more mundane, that is your reference to the Sunday Times....
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Old 06-07-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
I've nothing against conspiracy theories per se, but my hunch is still with the more mundane, that is your reference to the Sunday Times....
Funny thing as well: (!!!) -
One of our other websites is now showing "short" titles as well, but NOT a DMOZ description (there is No DMOZ entry for our Explore St Paul's Cathedral ! ) but we're seeing a Short Title there.

www<dot>explore-stpauls<dot>net


PS. the Google.co.in (India) is just now showing the Short Taj Mahal title as well (after two days), so something must be up with Google !
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Old 06-07-2006   #15
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And our Armchair Travel website is Now showing a short title as well.
www<dot>armchair-travel<dot>com

NONE of our sites have ever shown a "short title" before in 3 - 8 years! They've Always shown the actual page title, even when changed every few months...

I do not know where the St Pauls or Armchair Travel "short titles" have come from; not the content of the pages or the DMOZ as far as I can see...

So where are the non-DMOZ "short titles" coming from, and Why ?

I think that Google may be cracking down on "spam" in the titles of pages for the SERPs....

Our Explore Kew Gardens is still showing the Long Title and the page content description in the SERPs. www<dot>explore-kew-gardens<dot>net

I am also seeing other people's sites having their SERPs titles being changed as well, many with no DMOZ listings.

Last edited by donelson : 06-07-2006 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 06-10-2006   #16
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Well, the quote by the Sunday Times was not the problem, as suggested above. I removed the "SundayTimes_London" but it has made no difference.

Is there any recourse to bad (4 year-old) data from DMOZ being used by Google?
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Old 06-10-2006   #17
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donelson - A few observations...

I noted in the past month or so that a title on a client site reverted to ODP for about a day or two and reverted back to what's on the page, so it may be that something in Big Daddy is handling titles differently... or that Google is playing with them. Our title had no enthusiasm built in, and it matched the search query exactly, so I have no idea why it might have been picked out for even temporary change.

Thinking your problem might be the quotation marks or the exclamation marks in titles, I tried searches that I thought might return these.

For the quotation marks, I tried "to be or not to be." Didn't see any quotes in the titles, but I didn't look too hard.

To see what Google did when it encountered exclamation marks in the title, I tried a search for [yahoo], without the exclamation in the search query. Note in the results #4 the displayed title is...

Yahoo! Mail
- for the page mail.yahoo.com.

When you click this, you get a page at mail.yahoo.com, with this title...

Yahoo! Mail - The best web-based email!

Not sure whether this is the same or similar situation to yours or not. There appears to be some sort of redirect action in the url as the page comes up, but the url is the same as the page mentioned in the serps.

Also, I've noted that in picking out snippets, Google seems to be able to pick out sentences or clauses from page or description copy. Conceivably, if they're excluding promotional copy, they may be able to do the same in titles.

Your situation may be different... I haven't looked at it in as much detail as you have... but if it's the same, it may signal that Google is algorithmically pulling out what it deems "pushy" promotional copy from titles. If Google is doing this algorithmically, it's very likely that they can't distinguish between an enthusiastic quote and self-promotion.
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Old 06-10-2006   #18
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They're showing your original title now :-(

Last edited by glengara : 06-10-2006 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 06-10-2006   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
They're showing your original title now :-(
Not here (SF Bay Area, US), at least not yet, and not on 66.102.7.104. They're showing...

"Explore The Taj-Mahal"
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Old 06-10-2006   #20
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Still, I've never heard of G changing a title before, description yes, title no....
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