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A google search for

site:cnn.com cnn

returns results like

Kenyans one dance away from semifinals - Sports - CNN.com

Health News - Medical, Mental and Dental Treatment ... - CNN.com

  1. Is it possible to not show the website name in the search result titles?
  2. Where does google read the name of the site from?
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

After a little investigation it seems that Google is actually showing slightly different page titles in search results (SERPs) from the exact content of the <title> tag on the specific page.

There are a few different situations. The health page comes up towards the top for me, and it has this title in SERPs:

Health News - Medical, Mental and Dental Treatment ... - CNN.com

The actual title on the page is:

Health News - Medical, Mental and Dental Treatment - Beauty, Nutrition and Fitness - CNN.com

So it seems Google is shortening the title to fit into its 65 or so characters. But instead of simply truncating it, it cuts out the middle so it can show "CNN" which was relevant to the search query.

Similarly for the cricket article, searching for "Kenyans one dance away from semifinals" shows this in SERPs:

Kenyans one dance away from semifinals - Sports - CNN.com

However, if you add "cricket" to the search term, it shows the actual page title (truncated):

SI.com - 2003 Cricket World Cup - Kenyans one dance away from ...

The weather page shows this title in SERPs:

Weather Forecasts, Doppler Radar Reports and Weather ... - CNN.com

It uses a complex chain of redirects, including a meta refresh, 302 and 301 redirect to get to http://weather.edition.cnn.com/weather/intl/forecast.jsp, which finally displays some content. (Note, this is terrible SEO and the page likely only ranks because it has thousands of links pointing to it.)

None of the stages along the way have the title from SERPs, and the final page has "Atlanta, GA" in the title. This is meant to be localized content (although I'm not in America). So in this case, either the page returns the above "Weather Forecasts..." title for search engine spiders, or Google is seeing that weather.cnn.com doesn't have a meaningful title and making one up from links pointing to the site.

TL;DR: If a page title is longer than 65 characters, Google may show a different part of the title, depending on the search query. Or if there is no title, it will decide on an appropriate title from links or other sources. As is always the case, this is algorithmic on Google's part and you would not be able to specify this yourself.

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You can influence the title of a website in the search results by using the html <title> tag. If you do not put the website name in the <title> tag, it won't be shown in the search results titles.

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Your original question is not very clear. For example, do you literally want to edit Google’s search result listings? (In that case, I’m fairly certain the answer is no!)

On the other hand, are you trying to remove a similar feature as CNN uses in its page titles from your website?

As already mentioned on this page, search engines get the titles of listings directly from the value of the TITLE element of the web page’s (X)HTML markup. For example, if you viewed the source code of the first CNN page you mentioned in your question, you would expect to find the following in the HEAD of the HTML document:

<title>Kenyans one dance away from semifinals - Sports - CNN.com </title>

However, it is unlikely that a website as large as CNN manages every web page manually. Although I am unsure of the exact set-up over on the CNN website, I imagine they use a server-side scripting language to append the website name to the end of every page they publish.

If you want more specific information on how to add or remove this feature from your website, you would have to tell us what kind of system you have going on over on your server in regards to managing your content. For example: Do you have a static website? Do you use ASP.NET or PHP? Do you use a CMS (WordPress/Joomla!/Drupal etc.)?

(I hope this helps to point you in the right direction for now!)

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hi clarky, if you check the "Kenyans .. - CNN.com" link, you wont find CNN.com in the title tags. google is appending it from somewhere. I am working on a php based site and seeing the site name with a wrong spelling shown in html titles in search results only (not when you open the link) and need to change it. –  user11221 Nov 5 '11 at 14:43
    
All I can think of is that google must be appending it itself. It could be a new feature they have built in to their backend code; or maybe a new option in their "Webmasters Tools" application? I'm not 100% sure myself, to be honest, but I imagine that it is something they have added to help users to distinguish which website they are heading to. Unless Google specifically decide to make this optional -- for example, either to users via the preferences page, or site owners via the "Webmasters Tools" app -- there is not much we as developers can do about it. –  clarky_y2k Nov 5 '11 at 14:50
    
@user do you have a link to that specific page? I checked a ton of results and their page titles did have CNN or CNN.com at the end. –  DisgruntledGoat Nov 6 '11 at 3:19
    
@DisgruntledGoat If you google search for "site:cnn.com cnn", you will see a couple of links - weather.cnn.com/ and www.cnn.com/TECH/index.html - with "- CNN.com" appended to the title in the search results, but not in the actual page. –  user11221 Nov 7 '11 at 10:46
    
I've just noticed that Google append my domain name onto the title of my pages if I do a search with the domain name as a keyword. e.g.: a search for the keywords "jordan clark contact details" brings up the web page for my contact details with its actual title as its first result; however, if I change those keywords to "jdclark.org contact details", my domain name is added to the end of the title. –  clarky_y2k Nov 9 '11 at 14:15

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