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Google changed my page title in favor of the anchor text from Distilled’s blog.

Yesterday I was doing some research on my blog and trying to find it using different keywords, searching old-school (like a normal Web user) using Google.com. I’ve been hoping to get this site ranking high for “John Doherty”, as it’s my name, after all.

So I searched “John Doherty”. The first instance I came across was my #linklove post, which is titled “The Distilled London #Linklove Conference” (screenshot below):

But this is what I saw in the SERP’s:

Huh? Wait, this is not the title that is on the post on the site, nor what I set using Yoast SEO:

Hang on.

So what is being displayed as the title?

After some more investigation, I realized that the title that is showing is the text used to link to the post from the Distilled Wrap-up by Tom Critchlow! Check it out:

Wow. I can almost hear Google saying “Who the eff is this John Doherty guy, with this new domain, getting links for his SEO site from big SEO players? We don’t trust him! Let’s trust Distilled. *evil laugh*

Why might this be? Here are my thoughts:

Google may think that the link text is a better description of my post than the title I gave it, since the link comes from a site that is much more authoritative than mine. In essence, Distilled is vouching for my recap, so Google trusts that their “stamp of approval” is a good indicator of quality, thus the words they use can be used to describe my post.

I cannot say I necessarily agree with this, but it is interesting! Does anyone else have any examples?

By the way, I saw this result when logged in with my girlfriend’s account. It shows the same when logged out.

*Do a search for “John Doherty”. The result should be on the second page. Let me know what you find.*

*DISCLAIMER – I do not think Distilled stole my page title. I highly respect Distilled and have met Will and Tom, who are both great guys. I titled the post this way to get you to read it :-) *