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I'm just wondering how it is possible that IGN.com has this in its title tag:

"Video Games, Cheats, Walkthroughs, Game Trailers, Reviews, News, Previews & Videos at IGN"

while on Google its title is simply "IGN". How can one achieve such a thing? Does it use some special meta tag I can't see?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Google modifies the title according to what you're looking for. I presume you searched for "ign" and saw the title IGN. If I search for

IGN is your site for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, 3DS, PSP & iPhone games with expert reviews, news, previews, trailers, cheat codes

then I get this as the title in the search listing:

Video Games, Cheats, Walkthroughs, Game Trailers, Reviews, News ...

In addition, sometimes the title (and the summary) comes from dmoz. Sometimes Google may think the title is too long.

Google's help page on titles and snippets has more information. This is probably the key sentence from that page:

The goal of the snippet and title is to best represent and describe each result and explain how it relates to the user's query.

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Actually, the answer above is incorrect. You would need to read the question carefully. In this case, the title tag is too long and Google decided to use what it determines as a brand which is simply the domain name without the TLD.

I detailed the process in this answer:

My title tag doesn't appear to be getting crawled by Google properly

But I will paraphrase it for you.

For a few years now, Google has been experimenting with the SERPs most notably since March 2014. As a part of this, the title tag under certain circumstances may be changed. One factor is the title length. As of this writing, if the title tag length is greater than 512 pixels in length Google may chose to use:

  • What appears to be a brand name which can be the domain name with or without the TLD. (most likely)
  • What it knows to be a brand name. (fairly likely)
  • The first header h1 tag. (very likely)
  • A portion of the content that closely matches the search query. (fairly likely)
  • Information from a publicly available source such as ODP DMOZ (not likely).
  • Information from rich snippets mark-up. (less likely)
  • Text from anchors text. (less likely)

In the case of the OP's scenario, Google has chosen to use the domain name (IGN) as a brand name and return it as the SERP link. Managing the title tag length will solve this issue.

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