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Old 04-06-2005   #1
Jorge
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Google Dynamically Changing Page Titles

Google shows two different titles for my site depending on the keyword used in the search and I have not changed my title tag in ages.

I have a site with a URL such as: Bluemink.com

With a TITLE such as "Blue house in the lake"

I have NOT changed the TITLE tag in ages.

If I search: blue house

I get a normal listing with the real title "Blue house in the lake" in the Google results page. If I search for bluemink though (the word in the URL) I get a listing in Google that looks like this:

Bluemink

bluemink bla bla bla....

I haven't changed the title as I said in a long time, the cached version in google has the same correct title, yet when I do that specific search and only that one it changes my displayed title. bluemink has NEVER been the title of my spage.

Any idea why?
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Old 04-06-2005   #2
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Can you give us the example with a URL that shows exactly what's happening on Google. This is odd, and I think we need to see it in real life to better explore.
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Old 04-06-2005   #3
Mel
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I am seeing a few sites with similar happenings. If I search for a for a specific websites term using a term which appears first in both the page title and the Google directory listing, the SERP title and description match the Google directory listing and the site is at #57, but if I interchange the first two words so that they match neither the page title or the G. Directory title the page title is used, the snippet comes from the page and the ranking jumps up to #3.

Any similar observations with your site?
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Old 04-06-2005   #4
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Just PMd you on this Mel -- thanks for sending the example. I'll share generally with everyone what I saw.

In one query, call it a search for "alpha beta gamma delta," the site's meta description tag is used. I think that's because that exact phrase only appears in the meta description tag -- not on the page itself nor in an ODP description. So if Google's trying to use that exact phrase as part of a description, it's got only one choice -- the meta description tag.

In another query, call it a search for "beta alpha gamma delta," only one word in the phrase has been moved. But that's enough to make Google go with the ODP description.

Google could have grabbed text off the page, like "Looking for quality beta alpha gamma delta products at inexpensive online prices?" Why doesn't it?

The text with that exact phrase appearing in a natural sentence (rather than in a link) comes pretty low on the page, perhaps suggesting to the description algorithm that this text isn't as important. That might make it flip over to the ODP.

It would be interesting to see if you changed the meta description tag to use the phrase in a natural sentence if the description tag would then be used. It really shouldn't impact the ranking, but if you're worried about that for the other phrase you are doing well for, I wouldn't alter.

All this is impacting only the description. The actual title itself for me was the same in both cases, taken from the pages title tag.

See also this ongoing thread: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=5034

Last edited by dannysullivan : 04-06-2005 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 04-06-2005   #5
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I'll look for an example. I'd rather not mention my site as I have some competitors here

What I did figure out is that when google lists the title that is NOT my title it is using the DMOZ title description.
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Old 04-06-2005   #6
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OK, Here is an example:

http://www.rd-marketing.com/

<title>Strategic Marketing Consultants, Web Site Services, Integrated Marketing Communications - RD Marketing</title>

In a Google search for: RD Marketing (the DMOZ Title for the site) the title shown in Google is RD Marketing. If I use a different keyword for my search it uses the page's title.

So it looks like Google will use the DMOZ site title in the SERPs if the search term is exactly the same as the DMOZ title, also making it the number one result.

So ... if I could only get DMOZ to let me choose my own titles....Since DMOZ uses mostly the company name for its titles I guess choosing "Cheap travel" as your registered business name could get you listed in DMOZ as "Cheap travel" and therefore getting 1st positions for cheap travel in google...
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Old 04-06-2005   #7
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I know I'm talking to myself here but I've actually found cases where this does not happen so what factors does google consider, why sometimes take the title from DMOZ and not others?
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Old 04-06-2005   #8
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I've recently been reporting that Google is showing a very old Title for a site, and that its use of that Title has slowly spread right across the datacenters. But, having read this thread, it looks like it's more likely that the DMOZ Title is the reason.

When a search is done on the site's one-word name, it's the DMOZ Title that is shown (which is that one word) together with the page's Description, even though there is sufficient suitable text on the page for a snippet. When it ranks for a different searchterm, the page's own Title is shown.

This is the same as Jorge's example in that, when the DMOZ Title is shown, the searchterm is also the domain name and the DMOZ Title. But I think that this is a partial red herring.

I've played with it a bit and this is how it looks to me:-

Searchterm includes the DMOZ Title (which is not in the page's Title) and NO other words from the page's own Title = DMOZ Title

Searchterm includes the DMOZ Title (which is not in the page's Title) and at least one word from the page's own Title = page's Title.

So it looks to me like both Titles are examined for the best match to the query's searchterm, and the best match is displayed.

The page's own Title doesn't include the site name/DMOZ Title, so I've no way of knowing if the page's Title will take precedence when both Titles match, or if the DMOZ one will be used due to its 100% keyword density. Judging by Jorge's example, it looks like the keyword density, or prominence, will win, and that it's a genuine query matching fight between the two.

Unfortunately, the DMOZ Title that I'm playing with is only one word so I can't do too much experimenting with different searchterms.

I haven't examined the Descriptions/snippets for various searches, but I'd suggest that it is also a query-matching ranking fight between the page's Description, the directory Description and the viewable text on the page.

Last edited by PhilC : 04-06-2005 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 04-06-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge
OK, Here is an example:

http://www.rd-marketing.com/

<title>Strategic Marketing Consultants, Web Site Services, Integrated Marketing Communications - RD Marketing</title>

In a Google search for: RD Marketing (the DMOZ Title for the site) the title shown in Google is RD Marketing. If I use a different keyword for my search it uses the page's title.

So it looks like Google will use the DMOZ site title in the SERPs if the search term is exactly the same as the DMOZ title, also making it the number one result.

So ... if I could only get DMOZ to let me choose my own titles....Since DMOZ uses mostly the company name for its titles I guess choosing "Cheap travel" as your registered business name could get you listed in DMOZ as "Cheap travel" and therefore getting 1st positions for cheap travel in google...

But in the examples I am seeing the rankings for the searches that use the google directory title are much lower than those that use the page title.
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Old 04-06-2005   #10
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That's possibly because the page's own Title isn't contributing to the ranking - yes/no?
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Old 04-06-2005   #11
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Yes it could be that way although the phrase in the page title is just different by the transposition of the two first words.

BTW that page has climbed from somewhere in the cellar to #1 on Google at the moment for the good phrase that matches the page title. I need to take quick screenpshot of it before it changes again.
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Old 04-06-2005   #12
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We now know that it's only the displayed Description that changes in your example, Mel. The Title is always the page's own Title, because the DMOZ Title is the domain name.

If my theory is correct, then Google treats the displayed Title and Description seperately, and each of them has a mini-ranking contest to find out which version is the most suitable to display for the particular query.

For the Title, the contest is between the page's Title and the DMOZ Title - when a DMOZ Title exists. I'm assuming that one version is a default in case there is no way to match either of the Titles to the query's searchterm - probably the page's own Title.

For the Description, the contest is between the page's Description, the DMOZ Description and the viewable text on the page, with the page's own Description as the default.

Last edited by PhilC : 04-06-2005 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 04-07-2005   #13
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Even more things to think about

Speaking about Google's Directory.

k/w 'adult web site design'

http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...eb+site+design

now take a look at search at GG Dir

http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...op&sa=N&tab=gd

pay attention at adultpaths.com (it's not me, it's my competitor:-) I wish I could force ODP editor to look at my site and consider other options except - 'I think this category has enough content and let's forget about others' )

Well, now look at ODP category where adultpaths has listed

http://directory.google.com/Top/Adul...esigners?tc=1/

You see? It has the title 'Adult Paths', not 'Adult web design company specializing in search engine submission and adult web hosting:'

So what does it mean? Google uses for web search and search within its directory an original website title?
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Old 04-07-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilC

For the Title, the contest is between the page's Title and the DMOZ Title - when a DMOZ Title exists. I'm assuming that one version is a default in case there is no way to match either of the Titles to the query's searchterm - probably the page's own Title.
From the few examples I found, it looks like it is indeed the page's own Title (eg web certain - webcertain, Foremans buildings
- foremansbuildings..)

Cheers,
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Old 04-07-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilC
For the Description, the contest is between the page's Description, the DMOZ Description and the viewable text on the page, with the page's own Description as the default.
I'm not sure about this order of importance, for the example below the DMOZ listing is coming up even if doesn't include the search phrase.
As both words rolawn and topsoil are coming up on the page and in the meta description, the snippet should have been the meta description or an extract from the page. It might be an exception but in that case the DMOZ listing takes over the meta description and page content, probably not for the best in terms of relevancy.
G Serp for rolawn topsoil
Dmoz description: A leading grower and supplier of a range of turf, based in Yorkshire.
Meta description of the site : Rolawn, Britain's finest turf and topsoil


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Old 04-07-2005   #16
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I believe this rule applies:

If you search for a keyword that exists in your title google will show your title.

If you search for a keyword that in the dmoz title and not in yours google will show dmozs.

..and if you search for a keyword that exists in both your title and dmozs google will show your title.
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Old 04-08-2005   #17
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Maybe appears when a website is not very well ranked?

It happens to me that website "beta" was listed in Dmoz on January. Until March I didn't discover that Google uses ODP data, but website beta's snippet was all the time the classic. Affortunately I also managed same month another ODP listing in website "delta", no snippet changes to be saw. On March I decided move delta website to another one (was done with .htaccess... and so on). Well, Google was losing pages and caches and blabla, normal. Well, ending March I see beta website with PR 6 in Google Directory data and for X reasons I decided to wake up again beta website with another content. Just google begin caching again I discovered for first time (never before) is taking ODP data. At the same time delta website is almost "abandonado" (left, I would say) and so ranks low. Well, began showing for delta site the ODP data for first time. Some days later I re-began ranking beta website and some days later ODP data dissapear. Meanwhile, delta still is snippet with ODP data.
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Old 04-11-2005   #18
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I believe it applies regardless of the ranking.
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Old 04-20-2005   #19
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I agree with you Jorge,
the first site coming up for this serp is a very prominent site in its field.
Cheers,
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Old 04-20-2005   #20
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manual reinclusive can cause this.

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