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This is a hypothetical example of an actual problem. I hope it's clear.

When I search Google for dogs I can see my website homepage http://dogs123.com.au with the title "Dogs a mans best friend!".

If I search for dogs australia I see my website homepage http://dogs123.com.au with an old page title "Dogs blah blah". Clicking through on this result gives the up to date, current page with the proper title.

i.e. for two different searches, returning the same result, one returns the correct page title, and one returns an old page title.

Why is this happening? Is it something on my side or Google's?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Google reserves the right to change a title they are displaying in search results if they feel it'll be more relevant to the search than what is actually set in the meta <title> tag. But if you've changed the title recently it's possible your searches are going to different data centers with an older index.

If australia is actually part of your search term I would test both phrases on http://www.google.com.au/ and see what the results are.

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Thanks, the old page title was from April last year, surely thats not still considered more relevant, or still in a cache/ older index? Its a page that gets hundreds of thousands of pageviews/month too. –  acowley May 30 '12 at 6:04
    
Well it's most likely Google making the change for whatever reason. Matt Cutts discusses this in a few videos about why Google may change the title of your page when they display it in their search results. –  Anagio May 30 '12 at 6:14
    
I'll have a look through the videos. Cheers Anagio. –  acowley May 31 '12 at 1:55

This is most likely a relic of a previous site crawl - give it a month or so and it should disappear. Have you set up Google Webmaster Tools? If not, do - it will give you all sorts of info about the way Google has indexed your site.

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