UPDATE – In 2012 – it is VERY COMMON for Google to create it’s own search snippet title, and effectively ignoring the title you specified for the page.
I’m seeing a LOT more of Google choosing itself what the best snippet title it can generate in search engine result pages, rather than rely on what you have provided in your page title element.
It seems to be based on what Google thinks is the best title based on the search query actually typed in.
I’ve seen this tested for months if not for over a year (usually to help repair malformed titles or pages with the same title ‘tag’ as some call it, for instance), but it seems to be very widespread now for well formed pages too.
Dynamic snippet titles – they seem to key off of anchor text pointing to the page in question, or the page title itself, or using Headers (h1-h6) all based on what the searcher actually typed in.
I see a lot of folk asking in forums why their snippet title is different from their page title, and it’s probably that you just now can’t ever guarantee what title Google will pick to match to a phrase (unless you control the linking of course).
We SEO are used to very dynamic descriptions in the snippet – it looks as if Google is more confident at stretching that dynamism to the snippet title these days, and not just using this to ‘repair’ malformed titles and the like.
Perhaps EVEN more of a reason to mix up the anchor text pointing to a page, and creating unique page titles that are different from H1 headers etc….
Note – There are other reasons your page title is wrong in Google.
FYI – New seo guidelines for displaying in a Google SERP snippets 2012.
Google displays as many characters as it can fit into ”a block element that’s 512px wide and doesn’t exceed 1 line of text”. So – THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF CHARACTERS any seo can lay down as exact best practice to GUARANTEE your title will display, in full in Google, at least.Ultimately – only the characters and words you use will determine if your entire page title will be seen in a Google search snippet. Google used to count 70 characters in a title – but not in 2012. If you want to ENSURE your full title tag shows in Google SERPS, stick to about 65 characters. I have seen ‘up-to’ 69 characters in 2012 – but as I said – it depends on the characters you use. Best Practice Titles for SEO.
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