One of my colleagues today noticed something weird with a client’s website. Basically, because of a problem with their CMS, some of this french site’s pages do not have title tags. While my colleague was working on the website, she realized that in its index, Google displayed some text in the SERPS for what’s usually the title tag..
The text displayed instead of the title tag is actually a header. Google is showing the first header that it found on the page. In our example, the first header in the source code is a h2 (note: there’s no h1 tag on the page) :
I’ve checked other titleless pages from this site, and in the SERPS, Google always shows this h2 tag instead of the missing title tag. The first header tag is always this h2 tag containing the text “DerniÃ¨re Minute”, or “Fresh News” in english. Unfortunately, the site didn’t make a clever use of Hx tags to structure their document, if they did, Google would have showed something relevant to users, but that’s not the case…
This is yet another example that respecting basic accessibility principles will be appreciated by Google and improve both your rankings and the user experience.
I tried to see if someone else came across the same case, and found this guy.