Google uses WHOIS Data?

    July 23, 2007

What happens if you leave your title tag blank? It’s a bit embarrassing, but I developed a site for a friend years ago and after a modification to the homepage earlier this year the title tag has been empty (note, I wasn’t doing SEO, just the site).

I noticed this not from looking into the code itself, but from checking some rankings manually through Google. I noticed the listing wasn’t the name of the site or the page, but rather of the company itself!

At first I thought, okay maybe it is pulling the name from another meta tag…nope! I did a quick site: query and found really only one page, the contact us page, that the company name could be pulled from. Then I thought, Google wouldn’t go to a contact us page for that, too much variability. Seeming that Google is a registrar, and we all know how important domain age is to the Googlerithm, why not go to the WHOIS data for the title page? Sure enough, the title listed in Google is an EXACT MATCH to the registrant data for the domain.

Obviously one instance isn’t enough to prove it, but I’m convinced that is what happened in this case. The only other example I could find is where Google used a header tag instead.

Anyone else seen this?