Google Using ODP Titles In Addition To Descriptions

Google has long used Open Directory descriptions in some cases for the web pages it lists. While that usage seems to have ramped up, it’s doing something else I’ve never
seen or heard of before — using ODP titles for some of the pages in its listings.

Until now, no major search engine has presumed that it should replace a page’s HTML title tag as the source of the titles in its listings, that I can recall. And, I’m not
sure I like the change. Yes, it will help searchers get a better experience for some searches. However, the idea that the title of my page may come from something completely
outside of my control also makes me wary.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable has a good illustration here of what’s going on here: Google Showing
Dynamic Title
. More examples and discussion of this is in forum thread, Google shows different titles
depending on search term used
. Join that, if you’d like to chime in.

Also see the Meta descriptions displayed in Google results? thread for talk of how the ODP seems to
be used more in some cases by Google, and the Does Yahoo
Directory use DMOZ listings as the supplementary listings?
for a recap of how the ODP even can factor into Yahoo descriptions, plus how other things may influence what
Yahoo uses as a description.

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