Notes on Google+

Google+ is pulling the wrong title!

Specifying the title of a web page when sharing it on Google+

When you share your web page on your Google+ profile or page stream, or in a Google+ community, you would expect the page title will be shown, together with a thumbnail image (if there is an image on the page), and the page URI.

Sometimes, however, something unexpected happens: Google+ is pulling something different as the title of your page. Why? It may have to do with the way you implemented mark-up on the page. Google+ currently looks for itemprop="name" and itemprop="image" first, and if it finds them regardless of type in the page source, then it uses them as the title and the thumbnail for the snippet of that page, as explained at Snippet — Google+ Platform — Google Developers ( If you have multiple things marked up with itemprop="name" and itemprop="image" on the page, Google+ will use the first of each it encounters. If you have not marked up your site with, then Google+ will look for Open Graph properties, which are also used by Facebook and Twitter among others, specifically og:title and og:image, and if the page is not marked up either by or Open Graph, then it will use the <title> and the first image it sees in the page source. If the page does not have a <title>, then Google will be forced to resort to guesswork.

Perhaps in response to Using markup for organization (Google Webmaster Central Blog), in which Google announced that website owners can specify the logo for their sites, or an increased interest in appearing for search results influenced by location, many businesses and organizations are implementing Organization mark-up (or more specific types under Organization such as LocalBusiness) on their sites. For example, you may have written an article on your site, added <title>Article title</title>, even <meta property="og:title" content="Article title">, but you have also marked up your business in the footer section as follows:

<div itemscope itemtype="">

<span itemprop="name">Business name</span>

<span itemprop="description">Description of the business</span>

<img itemprop="logo" src="logo-location.png" alt="Business name logo">

<span itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="">

<span itemprop="streetAddress">123 Street</span>, <span itemprop="addressLocality">Town / City</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">County / State / Province</span>, <span itemprop="postalCode">Postal code</span>



You might expect Google+ to pull the Article title as the page’s title, because that is in <title> and og:title, but as mentioned above, Google+ first looks up for itemprop="name", and seeing that Business name is marked up as such, it will use Business name as the title of the page to be shared on Google+.

For Google to pick up Article title as the title, in the example above, you will need to mark Article title as itemprop="name" somewhere above <span itemprop="name">Business name</span> in the page source. This can be achieved, for example, by marking up the page with itemscope itemtype="", using the Structured Data Markup Helper ( offered by Google. Depending on the CMS, it may be possible to add a plug-in that will mark up Article title with itemprop="name". Otherwise, the tool at the top of Snippet — Google+ Platform — Google Developers will generate the marked up codes to insert into your page.

Not only is useful in controlling how your page appears on Google+ when it is shared, but also in terms of making your page more easily undestandable for major search engines, so it is worth familiarizing yourself with how works, even if it can take a while to grasp it.