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Why Are My Page Titles Different In Google?

Posted in: Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on July 17, 2009
Internet Marketing Ireland

Here’s a small but interesting change from Google:

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.


So if your site has the same title on every page (which happens a lot here in Ireland), Google may choose to override these titles with other more relevant titles. How they generate these is unclear, but what is clear is the need to control your own titles by ensuring they aren’t duplicates. After all, titles are one of the strongest signals you can give to Google.

There are a number of other times Google will change your title, but you’ll have to wait for the official announcement to find out about these I’m afraid. Keep your eyes peeled to the official Google Webmaster blog for the full skinny on this change.

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  1. What Google are doing makes sense from a users point of view, if hundreds of pages all have the same titles, then whats the point? Surely the titles should match or be relevant to the content? Any reason why this is a problem particular to Ireland? I would of thought it would effect webmasters regardless?

    Comment by Jon Tiffany — July 19, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  2. Hi Jon

    You’re quite right – this will affect webmasters everywhere, but I tend to watch Irish sites most given by nationality. I suppose that bias leads me to conclude that the many Irish sites that either publish identical titles site-wide or no titles at all is something peculiar to Ireland, when in reality it’s likely something that occurs everywhere.

    I’d not depend on Google getting this right 100% of the time. I’ve already seen a couple of cases where this has gone wrong.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    Comment by admin — July 20, 2009 @ 6:37 am

  3. Hi, I have been pulling out my hair on this one, trying to figure out why I was getting a different description in search results. I changed all the titles but have found that the description changes depending on what keywords I use for the same page. Maybe the pages have to be indexed again…

    Comment by Ollie — July 24, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  4. Hi Ollie

    Google does not always use the META description for the snippet. Depending on the keyword they may build the snippet from your body copy. I wouldn’t worry too much TBH, unless the snippets are particularly bad for you top keywords.

    Hope this helps

    Comment by admin — July 25, 2009 @ 5:16 am

  5. I saw an experiment a while back in which someone showed that if you use ridiculous titles, Google will use header tags to generate new titles.

    I’ve also seen a case in which no title was defined on a page which had no text content and Google had decided to show the title of another site on the same server in the SERPs.

    Comment by David Hopkins — July 25, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  6. Hi David

    Yes, it seems that there are still some kinks in this particular change. But I’ve seen some excellent examples of this function working very well.

    I’d say the second issue you mention is more to do with DNS issues than Google TBH, but obviously that’s a guess.

    Thanks for dropping by,

    Comment by admin — July 26, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

  7. if you search google for “Total Wipeout” – my ol’ blog features right up there but now i see thru statcounter, google is sending a bot to my site to query the same search about every hour or so – is this normal?

    Comment by Quickroute — August 9, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  8. Hi Quickroute

    I’m not sure I understand. What query is Googlebot arriving for?

    Comment by Richard Hearne — August 10, 2009 @ 11:30 am

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