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Does Google use the Meta Description Tag for Description of Page?

I have no idea why this is happening.

Title tag is: Unfurnished Office Space Wimbledon – Serviced Office on Lombard Road SW19

But is indexed as: Lombard Road – SW19 - London Office Space

If you look in the source code and search for this portion ‘Lombard Road – SW19’ You then find that it's next to an office image alt=’Lombard Road – SW19’.

The only thing I could think of is that the spider somehow ‘skips’ our title tag and grabs this bit, and then inserts the name of the site (but WHY?)

Is there anything I can do with this? or is this a Google behaviour?

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Can't find the image alt text you are referring to. An older cached version of the page, perhaps? –  David John Welsh Oct 17 '12 at 2:22
    
Also, page layout with tables?! It's 2012! :-) –  David John Welsh Oct 17 '12 at 2:24
    
@DavidJohnWelsh - You can find the alt text on the map image. This is not an older cached version. And I am experiencing the same thing in quite a few of other office pages. Hmm I know this is an outdated page layout as this is an old site. –  Bob Oct 17 '12 at 2:38
    
Ah, yes. For some reason the Chrome dev tools search didn't find it when I tried before, but I see it now. The only reason for it I can imagine is that Google infers from the fact that there is a pinpointed place on one of its maps that the page is about that place, and that is therefore the most useful information. Does seem really bizarre to use that over the <title> though. –  David John Welsh Oct 17 '12 at 3:04
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 18 '12 at 4:55

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marked as duplicate by John Conde Oct 18 '12 at 11:21

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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This might help:

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35624

It appears that it is a Google behaviour. The title tag may not be descriptive enough - maybe there are lots of other pages on the site with similar titles...?

EDIT:

Specifically (quoting from the above page):

If we’ve detected that a particular result has one of the above issues with its title, we may try to generate an improved title from anchors, on-page text, or other sources. However, sometimes even pages with well-formulated, concise, descriptive titles will end up with different titles in our search results to better indicate their relevance to the query. There’s a simple reason for this: the title tag as specified by a webmaster is limited to being static, fixed regardless of the query. Once we know the user’s query, we can often find alternative text from a page that better explains why that result is relevant. Using this alternative text as a title helps the user, and it also can help your site. Users are scanning for their query terms or other signs of relevance in the results, and a title that is tailored for the query can increase the chances that they will click through.

If you’re seeing your pages appear in the search results with modified titles, check whether your titles have one of the problems described above. If not, consider whether the alternate title is a better fit for the query. If you still think the original title would be better, let us know in our Webmaster Help Forum.

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