I noticed a really interesting behaviour on our branded search results a few weeks ago. For some queries, Google will change the title displayed in the search results. This might not be new to some, but I think it’s worth sharing.
Our desired search result snippet
Variation on the brand term: “SEO gadget”
Google has reworked our title in this snippet to read: “SEO Gadget”. If you add the NOODP meta into your homepage header, this goes away:
I tested this again by removing the tag, watching the search result return to its previous state, and then reimplemented the NOODP tag to check that the changing meta was responsible for the behaviour in the snippet.
Where is Google actually getting the text from?
To be fair I’m not completely certain where Google is getting the “SEO Gadget” text from. Our homepage doesn’t actually use the exact term: “SEO Gadget”. For interest, I added this phrase to see what would happen during the NOODP testing, but the change had no impact.
I think the two most feasible signals:
1) The ODP itself
2) Our top inbound anchor text
I suspect it’s more of the former rather than the latter, but perhaps both! Have you seen this issue before and fixed it? I’m really interested to hear about it.