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Old 01-04-2012   #1
GAustralia
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Question HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

Hello SEW-

How does one make the html title tag show up in the search results? With my experience sometimes it does for some pages, and for other pages Google takes from the text on the page?

Similarly, the same for the title tag, For some titles (within the maximum # of characters that will show), Google abbreviates by taking the first few words, then adding a few keywords of its choosing. In one instance, Google has ignored my title tag and put the name of the company in there. It seems like there is a trend toward abbreviating titles.

And for the above, I believe I have the proper HTML to signal Google.

Any insight?

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Old 01-06-2012   #2
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

Sometimes Google does some strange stuff but usually there is some reason.

I'm not 100% clear on the two types of title tags you refer to. The tag that should be used is the<title>Title Tag</title>. The other option is a meta title tag which should not be used unless for some odd reason you cannot use the<title> tag. You should never use both of these tags.

If you use the <title> tag Google *should* use it for the SERP title, however if the SERP shows your listing for a query term that is not included in your title tag, then Google sometimes will dynamically scrape up a new title from some of your page content that does include the query terms.
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Old 01-07-2012   #3
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

Thanks for your commen JohnW.

Let's focus right now on title tag and what shows up in the results. The examples I speak of have the key words in the title tag, yet sometimes Google abbreviates, such as shows the keyword then a dash then a significant keyword for the site.

I want control of what shows up. The above is not ideal as sometimes I like to place some branding in there and make it look like it is not just a bunch of keywords. The branding I like is either one or two three word capital abbreviations. And I like to place this at the end of a tile. Such as ABC at the end - if in the case ABC was the company. I like this impact as my aim is often to have two listings right next to each other.

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Old 01-08-2012   #4
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

If you figure this out, I think the entire SEO community would like to hear about it ;-)

Google is mainly going to change the title when the query terms are not in the title tag or if the title is too short or too generic. If that's not the case for you, the other common trigger for Google changing the title is if you have dupe title tags on the site.

Since there is no way to actually control what Google does at this point, the best bet is if you can get them to do nothing. Make sure that all title tags across your site are highly unique from each other. You can also make your title tag longer than the ~72 characters that are displayed - sometimes Google will cut out part of it and display the appropriate part without adding to it.
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Old 01-09-2012   #5
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

can you post a screen capture of the two examples

I remember Barry Schwartz discussing how Google may grab the first large font found on the page - so h tags etc would be used
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Old 01-14-2012   #6
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

I am testing with four pages where I did not like what Google was showing for the title. I am trying to vary the title a bit based on the comment that Google may not like "generic" titles. The site has a number of pages and there is some similarity among the titles with maybe two words different between a few of them.

Speaking of generic titles, there is one site I am competing against that has, in my opinion a real generic title that Google seems to like (words disguised).

Blue Widgets | Sydney Blue Widgets | bluewidget.com.au

While this title does not identify the company and is very "generic" in my view, it apparently is helping them get good ranking. Of course they have that URL.

Another approach I may try is go over 72 characters to help make different and get Google to show the first 72 characters.
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Old 01-14-2012   #7
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

>Blue Widgets | Sydney Blue Widgets | bluewidget.com.au

Actually it’s not so bad…but I would lose the bluewidget.com.au in favor of an additional page-specific keyword, synonym, co-occurrence term, or whatever - something that may be more helpful than wasting this space on a non-keyword. I know, branding, branding, lol… but still, unless there are no other applicable keywords, this valuable seo real estate should not be wasted on company name or domain name. It’s not going to help CTR and adding this kind of “branding” to every title contributes to higher percentage of duplication across the site.


>I may try is go over 72 characters to help make different and get Google to show the first 72 characters.

It does seem like they prioritize left to right, but the idea is to let them throw away some of the words and leave the relevant part alone, so it won’t necessarily be the first 72.
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Old 01-16-2012   #8
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Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

GAustralia, Google has actually been changing title tags without your permission since around the first time I noticed it, back around February 2011. Google will change the title tag of your search engine result listing based on the search query--when they think it's a better title tag and when they think it will entice more users to click onto your site.

So far, the only thing we know is that the title tag that shows in the search result is related to the user's search query--not something that is related to something you do or did on your site.
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Old 01-16-2012   #9
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Post Re: HTML Title & Description > in Search Results

bhartzer - you are right Google sometimes changes the title based on the search phrase. Yet I note they also change it based on the site itself outside of the title. As a fictitious example, Google figures my site is about "Green Widget", so Google for some searches may take the first four words of my title and show that and then tack on to this " -- Green Widget" even though for the particular page I am trying to rank it has nothing to do with Green Widget. I think this tendency to tack this " -- Green Widget" on the first half of your title is perhaps in the past few months. Sometimes they are also just showing the company name in the title for pages I don't have the company name in the title.

>72 Characters. Generally, I have tried to stay within this 72 characters for the title so that I then determine what shows and I determine where it gets cut off. I think it looks a bit more polished to avoid the "..." at the end of the title. While I have seen Google displaying text beyond the 72 characters I get the impression this is for lower volume and less competitive searches. So what should be the wisdom here: plan for 72 characters and also place on the end other relevant words?

Re: John W & >Blue Widgets | Sydney Blue Widgets | bluewidget.com.au. I see bluewidget.com.au as deployment of keywords. We know Google may treat bluewidget the same as blue widget or even widget blue, and there also is points here for blue widgets with an "s' on the end. It looks like what they did is nearly triple deployment of keywords in the title tag - enough to maybe chase away web surfers but also perhaps enough to increase ranking?

Branding. Perhaps in the above example they did this - bluewidget.com.au on the end - as kind of a branding - and this looks similar to what Adwords does sometimes. The type of branding I am favoring is putting company initials such as ABC on the end of all title tags. Between SEO and Google a lot of the search results turns out to be a mismatch of keywords, or excessive keywords - with lots of listings (from yourself and competitors) appearing similar. You put ABC on the end and that puts a little branding on it, and may have some impact when you have the double or triple listings together. Of course the price is that ABC takes up some title real estate so less space to stuff other words.

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Last edited by GAustralia : 01-16-2012 at 09:00 PM.
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