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Google Rewriting Titles: A Review of the PML Google Title Experiment

I was reviewing a client’s website last year and saw that for certain search queries, the result had been appearing in the Google SERP with unexpected page titles. Further investigation revealed that the title was in the page HTML as it should be.

I thought to myself, “What is going on? Are my eyes playing tricks on me!? Is this a browser related issue?”

I decided to call on my colleague and SEO teammate, Joe Norton, for collaboration.

Initial brainstorming and quick tests led us to the conclusion that Google was rewriting the title for us.

“Why?”

We set out to discovering why this was happening and what specifically was causing the rewrite to occur. I set about building a report in order to document the findings.

It was several months ago that I started to put this experiment together and track it, however, client work takes priority. This post ended up shelved, waiting for completion. Recently, I forced myself to dig back in.

While some time has elapse on my initial findings, the anomalies cited are still accurate, albeit, one is a little changed. Now, one of the queries (“social media marketing philadelphia”) causes the About Us page to be served instead of the home page, and the title is not rewritten.

If you can come up with some additional data, I would love to hear it! Thanks for reading 🙂