Anyone with an interest in search engine optimisation will know the importance of title and meta description tags for influencing Google’s search results. A good title not only pushes you up the rankings, but also increases click through rates resulting in higher traffic to your website. If your title tags are poor, you are unlikely to rank well and users could skip past your website to one of your competitors.
Google looks for three things:
However, despite all of your efforts crafting what you think may be the perfect title, sometimes Google decides to use their own titles instead.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head engineer explains why in a recent blog post:
“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,” Cutts explained.
“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.”
“Now if your current title, as best as we can tell, doesn’t match that, then a user who types in something and doesn’t see something related to their query or doesn’t have a good idea about exactly what this page is going to be, is less likely to click on it. So in those kinds of cases we might dig a little bit deeper,” Cutts said.
“We might use content on your page,” he said. “We might look at the links that point to your page and incorporate some text from those links. We might even use the Open Directory Project to try to help figure out what a good title would be. … We’re looking for the best title that will help the user assess whether that’s what they’re looking for.”
“So if you want to control the title that’s being shown, you can’t completely control it, but you can try to anticipate what’s a user going to type,” Cutts said. “So make sure your title reflects not only something about that query or the page that you’re on, but also includes the site you’re on or tries to give some context to the user knows what they’re going to get whenever the clicking on it.”
If you would like further information about writing relevant title tags for your website, speak to a member of the seo team on: 01202 677277 who will be happy to help you.