Marketers creating web content know they need to make their pages both search engine- and user-friendly. Now, some webmasters are reporting that Google is ignoring or changing their home page and title descriptions, instead creating its own title tags for pages - and this is having a negative impact on clicks.

Marketers creating web content know they need to make their pages both search engine- and user-friendly. Now, some webmasters are reporting that Google is ignoring or changing their home page and title descriptions, instead creating its own title tags for pages – and this is having a negative impact on clicks.

One user reported on Webmaster World that Google altered the original home page title and description created by an internal team. The frustrated webmaster says, “There's NO WAY [Google knows] the other titles and descriptions on the SERP pages better than I know them for my niche, and there's NO WAY they know what stands out on that page or results better than I do.” The user goes on to say the page used to draw people with its distinct title, but now it simply blends with other results. What it comes down to for this angry user is that “it got clicks before, now it doesn't.”

Fellow webmasters agree that Google tends to ignore the HTML title tags they create. One indicates that Google altered his homepage descriptions as well, but in that particular case, he determined that an internal anchor text triggered a change. He was able to fix the problem. Another says Google changed her site's description because the internally generated one was too long.

Not everyone seems upset by Google's alterations. In fact, one marketer says a client experienced home page description tweaks to a positive end. “In the case of my client, the edits were improvements that saved them from their own mistakes. As intended, the rewriting was helping their traffic.”

Though some can't agree on whether or not Google is benefiting webmasters by tweaking home page and title descriptions (one angrily says, “PEOPLE GET THE TITLE! ALGOs DON'T.”), most webmasters involved in the conversation suggest that Google should at least make clear why changes are made. Stay tuned.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.