How Does Google Select Titles For Search Results

In the latest webmaster help video, Google’s Head of Web Spam Matt Cutts explains about the Titles in search results. The page title plays a vital role in the Google search results. An impressive title can result in more traffic to your site, whereas a badly crafted title can cause people to skip your sites and visit one of your competitors.

Now the question is how does Google decide exactly what they will use for the title of your web page in search results? Is it depended on schema? Is it determined by headings like H1s or H2s?

Some webmasters don’t understand that Google doesn’t only show precisely what’s in the title tag for a specific page. This isn’t the first time Google is changing the approach on titles. There are few reasons why Google will select a title other than what the webmaster determines to put in the title tag.

Matt said that whenever they try to select the title or determine which title to display in the search results, they are looking for a brief description of the page that’s also relevant to the query.

The criteria for Google to set the description are:

  • Something comparatively short.
  • It should be a quality description of the page and also the website as a whole.
  • It should be relevant to the query.

If your existing HTML title meets the above criteria, then the default will be to just use your title. In other words, it will exactly describe the page as well as the site that would be relevant to the query. It would also be fairly short.

In case your title doesn’t match the criteria and a user who types in something, but doesn’t see something associated to their query or doesn’t have a fine idea of what the page is going to be, is less likely to click on it.

In such cases, in order to enhance user experience, Google might go little deeper into your site; it may use content on your webpage. It might see at the links that point to your page, in order to determine relevance and even implement some text from those links.

Google might even use the Open Directory Project to figure out what a good title might be for you. In each of these cases, they want to look for the best title that will help users to evaluate it.

If you want to control the title that’s being publicized, you can’t completely control it but you can try to predict what is a user going to type, and ensure that your title reflects not only something about that query or the page that you’re on, but also adds some kind of framework, so that the users know what they’re going to obtain whenever they click on it.

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