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Shopify chat bug leads to titles with (1) in Google's search results

Over the past couple of weeks there have been complaints from some Shopify site owners that Google was showing a (1) in the title name for their pages in the Google search results page. The issue turned out to be related to a chat feature activated on those Shopify sites, the chat feature fixed the issue and the Google search results should soon no longer show (1) in the title name.

What it looked like. I found a screenshot of this happening for a site in the Shopify forums dating back a couple of weeks ago, here is that screenshot showing the (1) at the beginning of the title name in Google Search.

What it looks like now. The issue was resolved and Google recrawled and processed this specific URL, so the (1) is no longer there:

It will take time. If you still see a (1) before your title name in the Google Search results, give it more time. Google has to recrawl and reprocess all of the URLs that were impacted and that can take time. If you want to expedite it, you can use the URL inspection tool in Google Search Console and submit that URL to the index manually. But again, the issue will resolve itself over time.

Google’s statement. Google published a statement on this issue in the Google forums, basically saying it was an issue with the chat feature dynamically embedding (1) in the title attributes of these pages and thus Googlebot picked up on it and indexed it. Google’s Caio Barros wrote:

Hello, all!

We have been receiving some reports of a “(1)” showing up in some titles in search results. Upon some investigation, our Product Experts noticed that this behavior happened to websites built in Shopify and were using a chat app. It looks like these sites used a chat-bot script which added a “(1)” to the page’s title element. Titles changed with JavaScript can still be picked up, and used as title links in Search.

However, it looks like that script has been fixed to no longer change the page’s title element, so as Googlebot reprocess pages, it will no longer see the “(1)” as a part of the pages’ title, and we can take that into account when generating title links in Search. Keep in mind that title links in Search aren’t always exactly the same as the title element of a page, so it’s not guaranteed that Google will drop that element immediately after reprocessing.

There’s no need to do anything special to have pages reprocessed. This should happen automatically over time. We crawl and reprocess pages at different rates, usually you’ll see important pages like a site’s homepage reprocessed fairly quickly, within a few days at most. Other pages may take longer to be reprocessed.

Thank you all for the reports!

Why we care. If you see (1) in your titles in the Google or Bing search results, it was likely due to this chat feature in Shopify. Again, the chat feature fixed the issue and the search engines will eventually recrawl and reprocess those titles and show them correctly in the search results. It is a widespread issue, not a Google bug, but it was related to a feature in Shopify that had this unintended consequence in search.


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