If you’ve ever noticed that Google has rewritten your title tags or meta description in the search listings we can tell you why, and it isn’t bad news; but you still have to do your part, or you’re not likely to feature in the listings to begin with.
Matt Cutts, Google’s resident YouTube guru Matt Cutts posted a video answering questions about the phenomenon of Google using a snippet of something else in the search listings rather than the title tag or meta description listed.
According to Cutts, it’s all about the user experience of the search engine. They want the segment to directly match the query of the searcher. This is all part of Google’s drive to make search better at answering specific questions and not simply matching a keyword search to a keyword inclusion.
Of course, this is better for you, the site owner, since a more relevant listing should result in a better click-through rate. But be aware: it’s not as if Google is sitting down at a computer and writing the perfect title tag. It might be changing yours, but it’s changing it with your content.
When a title tag doesn’t fit the search engine’s requirements, its first port of call is your on page content. If that draws a blank it might opt for the anchor text links directing to the page, or may use the Open Directory Project.
For David Cobourne, SEO Executive at Hit Search, this only reinforces the importance of filling your site with rich, informative content.
He said: “So, Google might not use your exact title tag or META description in your listing but what you write is no less important because it is influential in ensuring you get ranked in the first place. Google still has to identify your page and confirm its content as relevant to the query.
“Title tags, META descriptions and good quality content are at the core of this strategy.”
Andrew Adams, a fellow member of the SEO team went further, saying: “Since the introduction of Google Hummingbird, the importance of genuinely useful information has sky-rocketed. Google wants to answer questions and if your website has the answers, you should rank.
“It’s time for all online businesses to focus on how useful their content can be; providing help or how-to guides and knowledge sections, in line with their products and services. The better this content, the better the information that Google can mine when it redoes your search snippets.”
For more information on SEO and content marketing, talk to the experts at Hit Search today on 0845 643 9289. The Matt Cutts video can be viewed here.