You may notice when doing a search for your own website that often times the titles that appear in the SERP are not the same as the title that you implemented, and the same can be said for meta descriptions. In his latest help video for webmasters, Google’s Matt Cutts explains why Google changes your titles in search results.
If you’ve never noticed this before, go give it a try, Google doesn’t show exactly what’s in the title tag every time, and this isn’t a new feature of Google search. There are a few reasons why Google will choose to display a title other than what you have put in the title tag. According to Matt Cutts; “Whenever we try to choose the title or decide which title to show in the search results, we are looking for a concise description of the page that’s also relevant to the query.”
Google looks for three things:
- Something relatively short.
- A good description of the page and ideally the site that the page is on.
- That it’s somehow relevant to the query.
“So if your existing HTML title fits those criteria, then often times the default will be to just use your title,” Cutts said. “So in an ideal world it will accurately describe the page and the site, it would be relevant to the query, and it would also be somewhat short.”
Not all webmasters write great titles for search engines and that is why Google reserves the right to pick through your titles, meta descriptions and content in order to come up with the best, and most relevant title to display in the SERPs.
Watch the full video to hear everything Cutts has to say about changing titles.