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Check this: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:gunlawsbystate.com+kansas+gun+laws

The title of the first result is "Kansas Gun Laws - Gun Laws By State". Although, on the page google has cached the title is different:

<title>Kansas Gun Laws - Kansas Gun Law - Reciprocity Guide</title>

Google shows the title that has been on the site 2-3 months ago. Google bot has visited the website a lot of times since that, and as you see it even cached it (the latest version is of 15th Sept), however for some reason it doesn't change the title to the new one in the search results.

We use hash-bang URL structure on this website. It completely meets google's requirements for AJAX websites (_escaped_fragment_ stuff). The issue I explained is happening with almost all hash-bang pages that got indexed.

Questions:

  1. Why does it keep old page title in the search results? Can it be connected to the fact that I'm using hash-bang URLs? There are lots of pages on the site that have the same issue, all of them have hash-bang URLs.
  2. Another thing I noticed is that Google's "Preview" feature doesn't work for any hash-bang URLs on the site. Did I do anything wrong? It has got cached versions of the pages, why wouldn't it generate a preview?

Thanks.

PS. Here's a weird thing I also noticed: this search query https://www.google.com/search?q=Kansas+Gun+Laws+-+Reciprocity+Guide shows the correct title for the same page as in the example above. Why does google show different titles for the same page when you run different queries?

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4  
The title that Google displays in the SERPs is not necessarily the same as the title of the page. Google alters the title based on what you search for. This might be what is happening, the hash-bang URLs could just be a red-herring? Possible duplicate: Title tag different from title appearing in Google? –  w3d Sep 22 '12 at 15:55
    
This happens only when Google thinks the title it's over-optimised (or if you do not have noodp, it might come from dmoz or similar). If you set noodp and have a non over-optimised title, Google should leave what you set. –  milo5b Sep 22 '12 at 16:12

3 Answers 3

Google shows exactly what he think it is relevant from that page, usualy Title and Meta Description, otherwise pieces from the text/content shown in the website.

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The simple is answers is that Google keeps multiple titles for one page and shows the relevant in search results.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm going to answer my own questions here:

  1. The title that Google displays in the SERPs is not necessarily the same as the title of the page. Google alters the title based on what you search for. This happens only when Google thinks the title is over-optimized. Also, the title can come from DMOZ or similar if NOODP meta is not set.
  2. All hash-bang URLs don't have a preview available. It's a common issue for all sites that use hash-bang, even for google's sample AJAX application. I couldn't find an explanation why it happens though.

@w3d, @milo5b, thank you guys so much for the help.

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