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Does it make sense to include the domain- or brand-name in the title?

The title element is one of the most important factors when it comes to a website’s OnPage optimisation. The website title, working together with the meta-element attribute “description”, can certainly influence a result’s CTR (Click Through Rate) on the search result pages.

Should you use the brand- or domain-name in the title?

If we assume that the domain-name is also the brand-name, then it may be useful for the user’s search-intent to include the domain- or brand-name in the title, at least in certain markets or industries.

Example #1 search-term [common cold]

In an informational search, the user tries to find specific information. This is the first search result page for the search-query [common cold]:

Erste Suchergebnisseite zum Keyword [Erkältung]

First search result page of the keyword [common cold]

The results with the domain- or brand-name in the title are marked in red.

Does this make sense or is this helpful? Please ask yourself the following questions:

  • "Which would be the first result that I would click on for this exact search-query?"
  • "What do I expect from this search-query?"
  • "Do I want to get my information from a credible source?":

Especially when it comes to the topic of health, many people are very sensitive and would rather click on a trustworthy or well-known source to get their information. If you use the domain- or brand-name in the title, you can make it easier for the user to find the above information and arrive at a decision.

Example #2 search-term [apple notebook 13"]

Another example of a transactional but also informational search-term is [apple notebook 13"]:

Die ersten Ergebnisse zu der Suchanfrage [apple notebook 13"]

First search result page of the keyword [apple notebook 13"] – shown without Ads

Just looking at the search term [apple notebook 13"] does not immediately tell you whether the user wants to buy one (transactional search) or just find out more about the product (informative search).

This time the search results that are marked red are those that would lead the user to the respective website where they can buy this product (transactional search), as they know very well that both the Apple Store as well as Amazon sell this product.

The yellow search result is an informative search result, in this case a product review. Here, too, the domain- or brand-name is used to show the user that the information on the page is both “trustworthy” as well as relevant.

Does this mean I should always use the brand- or domain-name in the title?

You can basically say: If you have a well known and popular brand, then you should always add the brand- or domain-name to the title (as long as there is room). You can also use your brand- or domain-name in the title when you want to build up brand-awareness, which is also called brand-building.

Amazon.com has proceeded to always adding the brand/domain-name to the very start of the title.

The best thing you can do is run an A/B-test in order to figure out if the user will click more often on your result with or without the brand/domain-name?

Video explanation by Matt Cutts / Google on this topic

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