Yahoo SERPs Using Anchor Text for Title Tags

It looks like Yahoo! is using anchor text from the first link found on the page in place of the designated TITLE tag. I just noticed it today on two separate sites so I am not sure how long it has been going on and whether or not it will be a permanent change.  At first I thought it might be pulling the TITLE from a Yahoo! Directory listing or DMOZ listing, but neither site is listed in either directory. So I dug a little deeper and realized it was the anchor text of the first link on the page pointed back to that page.

Not sure if I am explaining this clearly or not so here’s an example. Let’s make up a fake site about dogs called DoggyExampleSite.com.

The keywords you want to target are “dogs for sale” so you put it in the TITLE tag.

<TITLE>Dogs for Sale | Doggy Example Site</TITLE>

The first link found in the source code of the page is a link to DoggyExampleSite.com with the anchor text “Doggy Example Site.”

Let’s say your site has come up number 1 on Yahoo! for years for the keyword “dogs for sale.” When somebody searched for it, your site would come up first with the “Dogs for Sale | Doggy Example Site” as the title in the SERPs and everybody was happy.

But if today’s findings are going to be permanent, your site would now display “Doggy Example Site” as the title in the SERPs instead of your desired keywords. It’s yet to be determined if the actual ranking of the site will drop, but I imagine that the CTR would decrease as the searcher may opt to click through to the 2nd result that might have “Dogs for sale” in their title.

So basically this could become a problem when it comes to SEO for Yahoo! I will definitely keep my eye on it in the next few weeks.

Comments

2 Responses to “Yahoo SERPs Using Anchor Text for Title Tags”

  1. MrP on October 14th, 2009 8:02 am

    That does sound very strange!? The title in the search results for any particular page should use the value of title attribute on the indexed page – that is surely going to be the most accurate ‘title’ for the page?! To be honest, I have not experienced what you are saying. The results I’ve seen in Yahoo! do show the value of the title tag, but I might not have an anchor marked up as you have in the page.

    “The first link found in the source code of the page is a link to DoggyExampleSite.com with the anchor text “Doggy Example Site.””

    Why do you have a link in the page, presumably linking back to the same page?

    It is understandable that the value of links to a particular page do play a part in the search results, but these should not necessarily be visible in the SERPS.

  2. marck_don on May 6th, 2010 4:29 am

    It happens from time to time just like serps in Google. If you are a real webmaster, you could just relax and do what you are doing.

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