Search Engine Optimization March 31st, 2011
Don’t be surprised if you notice a completely different title tag in your Google search results. It’s not big news as Google has been doing this for a while, but it’s only recently that it’s become more frequent. The SEO community is still adjusting to Google’s stance on how it generates snippets and titles in their results. Google has officially stated that they have selectively displayed and often altered page titles in search results.
It’s definitely something the SEO community needs to take note of, as it forces us to create descriptive page titles that Google finds relevant. This practice brings to light a few key questions for concern:
What accounts for the increased frequency of this practice?
Then there’s the million dollar question – Is this practice justifiable without a site owner’s permission?
No one is sure exactly why this is happening, but it definitely leaves SEO's on their toes. In the example below, it appears that keyword stuffing in the title tag is the culprit:
Actual title: ‘Shopping Bags Paper Bags Kraft Bags Merchandise Bags Gift Bags Brown Bags and Tissue Paper’
Google’s search engine ranking page displays the title as: ‘Discount Shopping Bags.’
It’s a known fact that Google has been grabbing titles from DMOZ listings. In the wake of current reports from other SEOs Google seems to fetch titles from various aspects of a site. The following are possible sources of Google search engine results page titles:
It’s just another move in a never-ending game for on-page SEO gurus. With it comes the need to ramp up on-page SEO elements to play catch up with Google. What do you think? Do you find this as fascinating as we do? We’d love to hear your thoughts.