Why Google shows different page titles & descriptions in search results list?
If anyone has ever wondered why websiteâ€™s home page titles are actually different to those that get displayed in Googleâ€™s search results (see example below) then the answer is here. According to Matt Cutts (Search Quality group in Google, specializing in search engine optimization issues), â€œGoogle uses descriptions from the Open Directory Project as the title and snippet for a web result; this tag lets you opt out of the ODP title and descriptionâ€. Matt also gives an example from his own blog.
What this means is that when you search for the brand name, and this brand has a listing in ODP, the search result will not display the real title link and meta description, but it will show what appears in ODP instead.
Example based on Fred Olsen Luxury Cruises:
But why would Google use this information in the first place? This is a question with no answer and only Google knows why. What we need to know is that there is a solution to the problem which does not involve deleting the ODP listing. In order to stop Google from using the ODP data add the following meta data code to the <head> of your page and wait a week or two:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”>
It will take Google approximately 1 – 2 weeks to update it.