What’s Going On At Google?

So, yesterday I was working on a marketing report for a client and I saw that one of the keyword phrases the client was getting traffic for was the word “reiki”.

Now, getting traffic for just one word is pretty amazing so I had to check it out.  Sure enough, I typed in “reiki” and adjusted my google search for Hollywood, Fl (which is where they’re located) and DivineLoveInstitute.org came up #1 in the Google Maps search and #9 in the organic results.

And just so you know, the reason I adjusted the location setting is because I wanted to try to see the search results as if I were residing in Hollywood, Fl.  You see Google tries to match up results according to local results.

Anyway, back to what I saw.

The Search Result for Reiki

What I noticed in the search result was curious.  Here’s what I saw…

googlesearch-reiki
As you can see, the word “reiki” in the title is not capitalized.  Now, I KNOW that all my title tags are capitalized so this tells me that Google is not pulling that word from the title tag.  So, I investigated where that title came from.

First of all, the page that Google brought up for this search result is appropriate.

The phrase “reiki south florida” was pulled from the breadcrumb tag.  When you look at the website you’ll see the small breadcrumb code on the top right of the page, that’s where the first part of this title came from.  Curious.

The phrase “Spiritual Counseling Services” came from the alt tag for the masthead which is the graphic at the very top of the website page.  Again, curious.

Further Research On The Page of Results

So, figuring that maybe Google was indexing on their own whim I checked out the other results that came up on the page and none of the other results had this.  They all had title tags on the search results pulled from the meta title tags which is normally what is done.  So, WTF?

What The “Experts” Have To Say

Danny Sullivan wrote:
“Google sometimes ignores the title tag of a web page and makes up its own title for that page.”

Here’s the source for the quote above.

Google Webmaster Tools:
“…sometimes even pages with well-formulated, concise, descriptive titles will end up with different titles in our search results to better indicate their relevance to the query.  There’s a simple reason for this: the title tag as specific by a webmaster is limited to being static, fixed regardless of the query.  Once we know the user’s query, we can often find alternative text from a page that better explains why that result is relevant.”

Pixels Vs Characters Discovery

So, it seems that Google is not really counting “characters” in a title tag, instead it’s counting Pixels.  It seems that if the amount of Pixels goes over 469 then Google takes it upon itself to make it’s own title tag to include the keyword phrase that the user typed in.

Sure enough, all the search results in the Google search for “reiki” came up with less than 469 pixels.

Well, guess that means I’m going back to all my websites and reducing the title tags to meet this parameter.  It will be interesting to see if it ends up working!

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