For years now, Google has been known for altering the meta description of our content on their results pages – something we don’t always appreciate.

In short, what Google does is it goes through the content of your page, looks for a phrase that’s related to whatever the user is searching through Google Search, and then displays this part as the description. With Google, this only happens if the description you’ve set by hand is not related to the search term.

Bing, however, takes this game to whole another level. Instead of just altering the description, they also tweak the page’s actual title.

This means that you can never be sure that the title you’ve meticulously picked for your page is going to appear in the Bing search results.

Let’s take a look at an example given on the official Bing Webmaster Blog. If the page is titled “Home Ware: Bedroom, Kitchenware, Garden Ware, Hardware – Contoso’s” and the query being used is “Contoso” then the user can very well see versions of the title like:

  • “Contoso’s – Home Ware: Bedroom, Kitchenware, Garden Ware…”
  • “Contoso’s – Official Site”
  • “Contoso’s Home Ware”

Additionally, on mobile devices, the whole title can be even shortened up to a simple “Contoso’s.”

Why This Happens?

Like most search engines, Bing is mainly concerned with delivering the best possible results to whoever enters a query in the search field. So essentially, they don’t care all that much about the title we – the webmasters – have set for our pages.

In most cases, Bing has to trim the title to fit the length restrictions. Looking at the example above, if the essential part of the title is at the end, like with “Contoso,” Bing wants to preserve it from truncation, hence moving it to the beginning. But that’s not all. Quoting the source:

In some cases, Bing may use other pieces of information from the web page such as OpenGraph annotations, or prominent text extracted from the page. Bing may even use external data sources such as anchor text, or the listing found in the Open Directory Project. [...] In the extreme cases, when our crawler is blocked by the webmaster, or when the page doesn’t have enough content, Bing may use the URL as a title.

How to Ensure Your Title is Displayed Properly

In its core, Bing changing the titles is not an entirely negative thing. They are only trying to make the listing relevant to whatever the user is searching for. Still, it’s worth to keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Make the title relevant to the queries that are most likely to be used when someone is searching for your page.
  • If you use OpenGraph, make sure that the data represents your page correctly.
  • Make sure your listing remains updated.
  • Don’t block Bing crawlers.

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