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Google Changes Page Titles on Search Results

An interesting observation I read from Philipp Lenssen’s Blogoscoped is that it is now possible for Google to alter page title on search engine results. From the blog’s example as well as examples from Ionut Alex Chitu, the changes are affecting homepage of business websites.

For example, if you search for napoleon engineering, search engine result would show “Napoleon Engineering Services” even if the actual page title is “NES – Custom Bearing Testing & Bearing Inspection- home – ball bearing testing”

napoleon-1

napoleon-2

I often mention the importance of page title as a key element in optimizing websites, but with this development, shall we say the power of page title has waned now that it can easily be overridden by Google’s preferences?

Not so fast. According to John Mueller, a Google employee who made a feedback on the forum:

Hi guys
We may choose to replace titles which are repeated on a number of pages or which otherwise appear to be suboptimal – that’s probably what’s happening here. To resolve that, it would be a good idea to make sure that the titles are unique, compelling and relevant to every page and that the important parts are visible in the first part of the title text. You can get some help with finding duplicated titles in Webmaster Tools under Diagnostics / HTML suggestions.
If you have any questions regarding this, it’s generally a good idea to pop in to our webmaster help forum and ping us there :).

From his comment, he is basically asking webmasters to ensure that page titles are unique for each page and need not be repeated. But there are also good reasons of Google doing this. From Ionut’s example, a search for kansara yields a simple page title “Kansara Group”.

kansara-1

However, when you click the result, you’ll be greeted with a page with a seemingly endless list of keywords on page title (see outline on top of image).

kansara-2

I bet you’d also like to see that concise website information rather than spammy list of keywords.

Let’s make sure we optimize our page titles and check Google Webmaster tool to ensure we have unique page titles. Otherwise, Google will alter it for us.

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Elmer W. Cagape is an SEO consultant based in Hong Kong. Into Seinfeld, Toad the Wet Sprocket, space exploration, comedy films, digital marketing and travel. Follow him on Twitter (@elmercagape).

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