Several clients have asked me about their web page titles not showing up properly on Bing and Yahoo.
Frequently, instead of the web page title, Bing and Yahoo will say “Company Name – Official Site“ as you see depicted in the image to the right.
These images are taken from a Yahoo and Bing search for the company Intel. However, instead of saying “Intel | Data Center Solutions, IOT, and PC Innovation” which is what their HTML title element (technically, the title is an element and not a meta tag) says, the title of the web page simply says “Intel – Official Site”.
You may take solace in the fact that, if it’s happening to Intel, you probably cannot do anything about it.
But you’d be wrong.
So, let’s take a look at why this is important, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it.
Why The Title Element on Bing and Yahoo is Important
As we saw in the above example, the title for the Intel page does not show up correctly on Yahoo and Bing.
For Intel, this may not be important. Everybody knows who Intel is and what they do. Can you say the same for your company?
Ah, but you may think, nobody really uses Bing and Yahoo anymore. Right?
Wrong. As we read in this recent SEO for Bing article, “Bing and Yahoo make up 33.6% of the desktop search engine market.” Is 33.6% more traffic irrelevant to you?
The second erroneous reason not to care about this is that “the title is not that important”. Whether the search results says my real web page title or Official Site, there is not a big difference.
This could not be further from the truth. In the article 9 Powerful Title Generators That Drastically Increase Click-Thrus!, we read that “A great headline can make a 500% traffic difference!”
If searchers do not know yet know who your company is or what they do, you need a compellingly clickable website title that shows up on Yahoo and Bing to get that other critical 33.6% of website traffic.
Now, let’s take a look at why this is happening.
Why Yahoo and Bing Are Not Showing Your Website Title
You will notice many similarities between the search results that you will see in Bing and Yahoo. Let’s take a look at the image below that shows the results of a search for Salesforce on Bing and Yahoo.
Two things stand out when looking at these search results.
One, Salesforce suffers the same fate as Intel on both Yahoo and Bing — their title element does not show up. It simply says “Salesforce.com – Official Site”.
Let’s contrast this with how Google displays the title of the webpage for Salesforce.
This matches exactly what the web page code on Salesforce looks like:
Secondly, you will notice that both Yahoo and Bing show the same results.
The reason for this is nicely articulated in an article entitled Simple SEO Strategies for Bing and Yahoo: “Since 2009 Yahoo was powered solely by Bing so their search results were always similar.”
The author of the article goes on to note that Yahoo is striving for more independence and currently “moves between Google and Bing to bring users the best choice of results.”
So, when we look at the title not being displayed on Bing and Yahoo, the problem usually lies with how Bing is evaluating your title.
How Bing Evaluates Your Webpage Title for Search Results
In the previously referenced article regarding Bing SEO, we read that “Bing will often choose titles for search results on its own, instead of pulling the title directly from the HTML tag.”
This is exactly what we are seeing with these Company Name – Official Site type of results — Bing is choosing a title for us.
Well, why is Bing choosing our webpage title instead of using what we have declared?
The answer lies in Bing’s own recommendations for webpage titles.
You see — highlighted in the image above — the most probable reason that Bing and Yahoo are not showing your proper webpage title in the search results: They have deemed your own title not relevant.
This is not as complicated as it may seem. In fact, it’s rather simple by asking one question: Does the content of your webpage title exist (or occur with enough frequency) on the webpage itself?
So, let’s put our two example companies (Intel and Yahoo) to the test.
Here are the intended/desired webpage titles for each of the companies.
What are we going to do now?
We will simply go to each of these web pages and see if the title text appears on the webpage.
Intel? The terms Data Center Solutions, IOT, and PC Innovation appear nowhere on the page.
Salesforce? The term “Customer Success Platform” only appears one time and “Customer Success” only appears twice.
Because of the scarcity of title words being used on the content of the page, Bing has opted to show their own title rather than what the company would like.
How To Get Your Webpage Title to Appear in Bing/Yahoo Search Results
We have taken at look at why having your title appear on Bing and Yahoo is important. Next, we looked at why it’s happening.
After exploring “why it’s happening”, it’s pretty evident what you need to do — implement great on-page SEO on your web pages!
In other words, you must implement important keywords on your homepage in the right places (Title, Heading Tags, Body Content, etc)!
I know…I know…many of you have sleek, minimalist pages with little room for new text. But, it’s still possible to have great on-page SEO. Check out my post Minimalist Website Design & SEO: Creating Sites for People and Search Bots for more information.
Intel and SalesForce are big enough names that they apparently don’t care about this…but you should. You need will not get clicks from Bing and Yahoo based on your brand; they will.
How ’bout we end with a positive example? Want to see a company that does it right? Check out our homepage listing on Bing and Yahoo 🙂
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