Is your home page title is wrong in Google search results?
I often get asked
“why is my page title not showing the correct title keywords in Google (and in sometimes Yahoo) search results pages?”
I thought I would list some of the more obvious reasons and just point those interested here:
UPDATE 2012: In short, Google will often make up it’s own snippet title for the page, if it thinks it can create a cleaner one, based on what it knows about the page from internal links, content and links from other sites to this page.
Reasons Google Shows Wrong Page Title In SERPS & How To Fix
- If you’re totally new to this, Google will look in your page <title></title> tags in the HEAD for your page title information, to display as the link to your page in search results (SERPS)
- If you’ve made changes recently to optimise your page title for search engines, it might very well be just that Google doesn’t know yet, because it’s not visited your page since you made the change. So give it time. Check the Google CACHE link under your listing in search engines to see which page Google is “supposedly” using for your page (it’s usually accurate).
- If this is clearly not the case, it might be because it is using Open Directory Project (ODP) data (the DMOZ directory) to replace your title with your directory listing data – that is, it’s using the link on that directory to replace your title because it thinks its more relevant to a specific query. If this is a possibility, add <meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” /> and <meta name=”robots” content=”noydir” /> – for the same issue in Yahoo – to your home page and once Google visits the page again, the problem should be resolved See – NOODP & also NOYDIR.
- If you are not in DMOZ or the Yahoo directory, it may well be your title element My Titleis malformed in someway – I’ve shown before how search engines can choose to use a Header ‘tag’ as a Page title, or ignore the page title completely if you’re a spammer in the making ;) – so ensure your Page Title is properly marked up and starts with and ends with and is in the HEAD of your document – and there is only one :p
- Another reason is you may be confusing Google in some way from getting to the correct page title, and/or from displaying it in results, using directives in your meta tags or Robots.txt. When Google knows about the page because other pages it CAN read link to your page with descriptive keywords, it might very well use these links on third party pages to determine what that page title should be if it decides to include the URI in it’s listings, and you CERTAINLY don’t want that. For questions about Robots.txt I go to Sebastian. No doubt he’ll tell me if I have worded that correctly.
- In 2011, Google uses many signals to help create a search snippet title these days, and will use elements or attributes of your page, or the information in links to your page, to create a snippet title, based on what a searcher typed in.
Obviously having an intelligent, well formed page title, that is relevant to the page, and not duplicated on other pages of your site, is just about the most important single thing you can do to ‘seo’ a page on your site.
How Many Words or Characters?
You used to be able to fit 70 characters in it my test pages seemed to confirm…
… but it is not in 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 Page Title Tags for SEO.
- Home Page Title Is Wrong In Google Search Results
- How Many Characters In A Page Title For Google SEO?
- How Many Words In A Page Title Tag?
- Dynamic Titles In Google SERP Snippet
- How Google, Yahoo & MSN Handle Title Snippets If They Choke
- No Page Title In Google Results
- Google Will Use H1,H2,H3,H4,H5 & H6 Headers As Titles
- How Many Title Tag Characters Will Google Display in a Search Snippet