Random Capitalization Added to URL in Search Results

oaktrees
oaktrees used Ask the Experts™
on
Search engines have changed the display of a domain name in search results by adding random capitalization.  

For example, what once was listed as

aircraft.com

now many, but not all, listings have been changed to

AirCraft.com

with the "A" and the "C" capitalized in search results. (Just an example.  Not actual site)

So, a page that might have shown in search results as:

The 747 Seat Tray - aircraft.com
https://www.aircraft.com/?view=wide&db=11 Translate this page View Similar Sites
The seat tray was first introduced in the late 1960s in a precursor to the 747 the 727
and was met with mixed reviews. Many passengers wondered if drinks would ...

now shows

The 747 Seat Tray - AirCraft.com
https://www.aircraft.com/?view=wide&db=11 Translate this page View Similar Sites
The seat tray was first introduced in the late 1960s in a precursor to the 747 the 727
and was met with mixed reviews. Many passengers wondered if drinks would ...

No changes have been made to the <title> or <description> tags in the pages.  Site has been online for a long time.  Only recent changes was to upgrade some coding, add wider https.  But, nothing substantive.

Interestingly, it is always shows this after the dash.  So that the pages' <title> correctly display, but the site url appended to the title with a dash now shows this modified capitalization.

Article Title - SiteUrl
https://...
Description lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum...

Tested on Google, Yahoo & Bing.  

Why would search engines add capitalization INSIDE a domain name in search results, and then only inconsistently - on some pages and not others?  What do you think is happening?

Thanks!

OT
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®

Author

Commented:
UPDATE: Engineers inform me that on Baidu it doesn't exhibit this behavior.
SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
This is only occurring on the display of results, not within the actual search, so it doesn't affect results.
And I'm not sure I'd agree it's 'random capitalization' as it doesn't look random to me, it's the first letter in each dictionary word it identifies.
try it with nonsense words within URLS; they're not capitalized.

Don't forget the whole point of the search engines is to identify each word and index it so it is searchable. it has a list of words it recognizes and may use that to determine where to capitalize.

Author

Commented:
Ah, but in the ACTUAL case here, it's selecting words to capitalize on it's own, words without any relationship to the content.

For example,

puntroll.com

could be

PunTroll.com

or

PuntRoll.com

But, if Google has selected one pattern of capitalization over another, there'd need to be some logic to it.  So that, if the capitalization we saw was

PunTroll.com

and, the site had nothing to do with puns or with trolls, well, what would explain the change?

Especially given that the site has been online for a very long time.  So, there are ample back links which point to nothing content-related on the site with "words" being chosen to capitalize.  

Seems like there must be something that threw a switch.  How do you see it?

Sincerely,

OT
Learn Ruby Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to Ruby, as well as teach you about classes, methods, variables, data structures, loops, enumerable methods, and finishing touches.

SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
It's an interesting one as we're making some assumptions here.
Many people do capitalize their tags/headers and do want to appear capitalized in search results as many seem to suggest it's been proved that it is easier to read and may increase likelyhood of being clicked.
It's not particularly likely that the search engines are doing the capitalization at all. It's more likely that the tags/headers included capitalization previously but it was ignored when presented as search results. If the search engines have updated their system to respect case within those tags and display accordingly it would result in an apparent change to the search results even though its just a change to how they are displayed.

Author

Commented:
Hi Steve,

But, that's what's so baffling - none of our tag nor headers contain any capitalization.  Nor have they ever.

And, neither bing.com nor baidu.com show the pattern.

Sincerely,

OT
Lucas BishopMarketing Technologist

Commented:
Google states in their webmaster guidelines that they may change the title/description/etc as they see fit, to provide a better experience to users. It's quite common nowadays to see the 'description' snippet in a search result be completely different than the actual meta-description you've provided in the source code. It's also common to see the url added into the title, even though you haven't put the url in the <title> source code.

As far as the title goes, here is what Google has to say:

Why the search result title might differ from the page's <title> tag
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.

When 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.

source

Author

Commented:
Hi Lucas,

When I saw your answer I felt impressed.  You've REALLY understood what I was talking about, and brought receipts to show what's going on.  Thank you, Lucas.

Is there anything I can do?  As, for our site the difference effected by a change like

puntroll.com
PunTroll.com

or

aircraft.com
AirCraft.com

will easily confuse new potential visitors who find us via Google.  Is there any appeal we can make?

Sincerely,

OT
Marketing Technologist
Commented:
Hi OT,

As far as I know, you don't have any ability to control this. The only thing I could even recommend is that you actually write your description completely the way you would like them to read.

For example, today you may not actually be writing the url to your site and instead it is being programmatically added to the search result page after your title.

ex.

Your title tag:
<title>Some random thing</title>

How your title is shown in the Google serp:
Some random thing - ExAmple.com

Since Google is randomly appending the url to the end of the title, instead try including your url in your title, formatted the way you prefer:
<title>Some random thing - example.com</title>

I personally haven't tested this, but it would be the first thing I'd try doing to influence the results. Also keep in mind it can take a while for the search result index to be updated, so if you do make a change, you may need to wait a while for it to be reflected.

Another thing that may help is making sure that somewhere in your site, you are including a human readable version of the URL (not just inclusion in the source code links) in an attempt to influence google.

Author

Commented:
Thanks!!! :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial