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So I have an issue where the name of our site is rendering incorrectly under the videos tab in google.

It seems to be a common problem, across different sites. Doing a simple google search for '&' and looking at the results under the videos tab, you'll see ampersand isn't being properly decoded for site's with a & in their name, it's displaying as '&' for the result, see below.

enter image description here enter image description here

Annoyingly I can see that some sites do not have the issue: enter image description here enter image description here

What I suspect is happening is that:

  • Most of the time, google pulls site name from the page title on the homepage
  • Sometimes, google gets it from somewhere else

So is this a bug in google? It looks like page title will be URL encoded, and then your URL characters will be converted, and they never get converted back by google.

I can't see what these two sites seem to do so differently (which are displayed above):

https://www.vam.ac.uk/ Video URL: https://vanda-production-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/2023/07/06/15/18/27/95d78394-1d0f-4354-8624-139a21530290/230705_0213_YVA_WebsiteCover_2880x1440%20(1)_1.mp4

https://www.ropesgray.com/ Video URL: https://www.ropesgray.com/-/media/ropes-post-pilot/homepagehero/website-video-stock-segments-2_4.mp4?rev=0da831cc5de34d09bd6905c3a06d38b0

To allow for the ampersand to render correctly for one, and not for the other.

Anyone know if there is some other datapoint google gets the sitename from I can use?

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  • I don't really understand the issue. If it is the whitespace around the '&', I believe the V&A isn't using any. So google is pulling it as it displays on the site. For the others, they have whitespace around the character, so they are just mimicking it. Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 14:51
  • You can see it's rendering as & in the browser
    – DubDub
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 23:22
  • Could this have anything to do with the chosen video platform for hosting? Wondering if this is a situation where YouTube handles it differently than Vimeo. Also, knowing of schema markup is present and of that is impacting those that appear correct and those that don't. Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 5:21
  • Perhaps, the two videos from my search result don't appear to be hosted on either youtube or vimeo however. I've added the link to the videos in the original question.
    – DubDub
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 10:11

1 Answer 1

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When you do a search for 'Ropes & Gray' in Google Video search, the first item that pops up is the hero video on the homepage. This item is correctly showing the '&' rather than the html encoded character.

Using Google's Rich Results testing tool, there is one piece of schema that appears on the homepage. The report out shows a Logos item with a Corporation type and it correctly writes the name with the ampersand.

Looking at the second result in the SERP, it isn't displaying the correct '&' in the results. Using the same rich tool, the report shows the same Logos item but it doesn't specifically use the name value in the schema.

Could this be the answer? Maybe. This small test seems to lead me to the action item of aligning all uses of the Logos schema so it is correctly sending the same signal to Google.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think the html encoded characters are detracting from the CTR of the listings however I understand it is an optics thing.

I did some additional searches and noticed a lot of inconsistency with the '&' so this is definitely a problem that a lot of folks have; so you aren't alone.

Edit: I also quickly checked the V&A site in the SERP and it doesn't ever correctly show the '&'. Running it through the Rich Results tool shows no presence of Corporation schema which would help in correctly sending the organization's name. There is only Event schema on the homepage which again, doesn't communicate the organization's name.

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    Great, this looks really promising. Thanks for the information, you've indirectly taught me a lot about the way google works by explaining your process. I'll get this tested and once the page is recrawled I'll get back to this answer with results.
    – DubDub
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 22:52

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