So you think you’ve created a great title tag and meta description but when you search for that page an alternative title appears. Why?
We discover the truth about the alternative title tag decisions Google often makes with their latest blog post entitled ‘Better page titles in search results’.
You’ll often read complaints about title tags not appearing properly in search results so the search engine king has written a reply via their blog.
What is a title tag?
This is the first piece of text people see when they search for a keyword or phrase; it’s the first sentence and the text link which leads visitors to your site.
The meta description is the short sentence underneath this which pulls in the visitor which will often include keywords suitable for that page and any unique selling points (USP).
In Google’s blog post they explain that alternative title tags are often used when a page has no title or a non-descriptive title. For example, a title using the word ‘home’ does not indicate what the page contains.
Google said, “We use many signals to decide which title to show to users, primarily the <title> tag if the webmaster specified one. But for some pages, a single title might not be the best one to show for all queries, and so we have algorithms that generate alternative titles to make it easier for our users to recognize relevant pages.
“Our testing has shown that these alternative titles are generally more relevant to the query and can substantially improve the click through rate to the result, helping both our searchers and webmasters. About half of the time, this is the reason we show an alternative title.”
Some of the other issues which can affect whether your title tag is used or not is if you duplicate titles for different pages on your site or if you use unnecessary long and hard to read titles.
Google has said they try to let webmasters know if their titles can be improved through the HTML Suggestions feature in Webmaster Tools.
Anicca’s WORDS team specialises in creating SEO content for websites and if you need any help or advice on making your title tags and meta descriptions relevant for search then contact us today.