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How to Help Bing Choose Your Title for a Query

Title Tag Optimization

Search engines work by crawling and building an index, and providing users with answers by evaluating relevancy and serving results. Search engine robots use links to identify pages and so title tag optimization plays an important role in improving a website’s SERP rankings. However, Bing sometimes serves titles that are very different to a website or document for which the webmaster had taken the best optimization efforts. This means that the optimization techniques used Google will not work to show up your titles on Microsoft’s search engine. Back in a June 2014 blog post, the Bing Captions team explained how this search engine selects a title and how to help it choose your title for a particular query:

A search result consists of three things: the title, URL and the snippet along with the additional information, if any.

Title Tag Optimization

The title refers to how a site or document is relevant to a query, the URL specifies the source of information and shows its authenticity, and snippets help to explore search results at a more granular level. To help the user to complete the search tasks as efficiently as possible, Bing optimizes titles, snippets and URLs. However, it has a complex set of rules that integrate different pieces of information to build titles, snippets and URLs, and provide the optimal search experience. It explained the method used to select the titles:

  • As the search engine needs to place titles within the available space, long titles might get truncated. By evaluating which particular format or piece of information the user favors, it will try to incorporate that content in the title. For example, if the user is looking for a site selling antique furniture called ‘Antif’ and the webmaster sets the title as ‘Antique Furniture Styles: Colonial, Jacobean, Victorian, Gothic – Antif’. The search engine will select the title ‘Antif – Antique Furniture Styles: Colonial, Jacobean, Victorian, Gothic’. The site name ‘Antif’ is moved to the front part of the title to save it from truncation.
  • In some cases, other pieces of information from the web page including OpenGraph annotations or prominent text are extracted and used for choosing titles.
  • External data sources including anchor text, or the listing found in the Open Directory Project (dmoz.org, a directory of online sites) may also used.
  • If the search engine crawler is blocked by the webmaster or if there is not enough content on the page, then the URL would be used as a title.

Though Bing is not as popular as Google, its market share is growing. It recently reached the 20% milestone in March 2015 according to ComScore findings. The majority of that chunk has been grabbed from Yahoo’s share. Of the 18.9 billion core searches in March 2015, 12.1 billion were conducted with Google Sites, 3.8 billion with Microsoft Sites (Bing), and 2.4 billon with Yahoo Sites. Of these Bing witnessed the highest growth rate, at 12%.

Here are the best ways to ensure that your title is shown on Bing results.

  • Your HTML Title should be relevant to the queries used to search for your site. Do not make the title overly long or repetitive, and avoid generic titles (for example, ‘Home’)
  • If you are embedding OpenGraph and similar things, ensure that it is consistent with the title that you want and every field (for example, site name) is correct
  • In case your site is listed on dmoz.org or other directories, ensure that the entry is correct
  • Do not block the search engine crawler. If you slow down the crawl rate (through the Webmaster Tools), block Bingbot in the robots.txt file or block IP addresses, you are preventing the search engine from crawling and indexing your content. However, you can control the crawler using the crawler control instructions

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.