Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Scott Hendison on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, June 28, 2018).

Google keep rewriting homepage title

After changing their business name over a YEAR previous, including all external business listings from Bing to Yelp, and doing a search & replace in their WP database, Google was still appending the old name in their SERP titles.

For new company name searches, the knowledge panel was correct, other listings in the SERPs were correct, but the "rewritten by Google" home page title was not.

It got so bad they just removed the real name from the titles because Google still added the second. Made no sense.

Fast forward 6 months to now, they had a new site built - I personally searched the database for any legit references to the old biz name, and found none. I was sure that once it was cached the issue would go away, but it didn`t.

My dumb SEO question is... Is there still no way to get Google to stop appending the F-ing title tags?

and on a more specific level, if anyone has suggestions for this situation, i`m running out of ideas...

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Travis Bailey: I`ve not seen this issue, myself. But it makes me wonder if they crawled some crazy business alias/DBA site, and the robot thinks it`s helping. A few years back, I asked some of the members from the local search team if that could be an issue.They coyly stated that `we have other sources of information for that`. Not much help, there. I suppose it would be prudent to see where the old business name is mentioned, beyond typical 1st through 3rd tier listings.
  • Benjamin James Barker: I`d look at the anchor text of the links. Are there loads of anchor text with the old name? If so, that could be your issue
  • Rob Woods: that was a thought. I had as well
  • Scott Hendison: Thanks Benjamin James Barker - That sounds like the issue...
  • Yuliana Kronrod: Anchor text of the links may be the issue, I had an experience with a page (not entire domain) where a family of retired product pages with a single branding were redirected, and google kept appending this old brand to the title until the page accumulated a critical mass of links with new branding in anchor text.
  • Perry Bernard: I`m putting money on Benjamin James Barker`s view.
  • Ryan Jones: I`ve seen this a lot. It`s based on links. Try to update any links or reach out to people to update them. Even if you don`t, google will eventually learn and update - but it`s always taken MONTHS with my large clients. SO if it`s a smaller site it will probably take a while.
  • Scott Hendison: Wow, that didn`t even dawn on me, thanks Ryan. Yes that`s likely it, because there are tons of branded links, all unfortunately, out of their control, but perhaps they we can do some reachout...
  • Michael Martinez: You have to give up all the old links pointing to the original site with the original name. And you cannot associate the old site with the new site in any way. No redirects. No canonicalization. You have to go through a complete Link Bankruptcy to get away from the old name. ON EDIT: Okay, link bankruptcy is optional. Something to consider.
  • Scott Hendison: Wow, really? Yeah, they did change domain names too, about 4 months after changing the business name... Ryan thinks Google will catch up eventually, but you think it`ll never stop? Removing the 301`s from the old domain urls likely isn`t in their future...
  • Michael Martinez: Scott Hendison They are going to keep following the links. This kind of problem only crosses my "feed" (all online activity) rarely, maybe 1 or 2 times a year. I cannot point you to any consistent, reliable data that would clarify it better than the two opinions you have here. I just know some people have had to completely abandon old links. I cannot say everyone has to do that, but that would be my recommendation. Why live with the angst?
  • Scott Hendison: Michael Martinez Interesting, to say the least, thank you. I can only think of two other instances where we`ve changed a business name and the domain in the last few years, and this didn`t happen with either one. In fact one of them had all business names show in the SERPs just as quickly as it got indexed, and the other took only a couple of weeks...
  • Michael Martinez: Scott Hendison I guess we can agree it`s a rare problem. :)
  • Linda Caplinger: Why give them up? Ask the sites to change them.
  • Michael Martinez: Linda Caplinger I suppose that might be practical for some Websites.
  • Linda Caplinger: Michael Martinez Yeah, do a count of how many domains you`re looking at and make a call. If they are established partners (that value the relationship) they`ll usually be helpful (have the 2 web teams work together on it).
  • Linda Caplinger: One other area to look at is WikData - I`ve had issues with bad data in there influencing title tags.
  • Adam John Humphreys: Random question but whats in your yoast schema alternate code? People often have their old name in schema and Google will conditionally show old brand. You can hold alternates in there as well.
  • Scott Hendison: Good guess, but nope, that`s not it. Their Schema is accurate...

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, June 28, 2018).