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Web page titles, ex. "Lorem ipsum - Example Company Inc.", have a maximum lenght of 70 characters when being used in the Google search results.

I work with SEO on a daily basis and have been giving this some though; What's the best practice for meta titles?

The competition can be extremely high in organic searches, and you'd want your titles to be perfect and contain relevant keywords which in some cases don't fit in within the 70 characters.

My question is: Is it REALLY necessary to include your site/company name in meta titles?

Your company name often takes 30%-40% of the titles, and may not be relevant to the users.

I know if I were looking for a webshop that sell "tennis equipment" I would Google it and click the most relevant landingpage, not the most relevant Company.

What do you think would have the highest CTR? A or B? :

A) "Buy tennis equipment - 20% off everything in October!"
B) "Buy tennis equipment - TheSportOutlet Inc."

Plus! The website domain name also shows right below the page title, so if you have a logical domain name it shouldn't be necessary to include your company name in the title, right?

Why does "everyone" always include their site/company name in the titles?!?!

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Not an SEO expert myself so won't address the main question, but with regard to the domain name, would comment that with modern browsers letting people have multiple tabs open, the favicon is essential to helping people identify the company - it's encouraging people to recall the company rather than go to the tab and read the domain name. –  Peter Aug 29 '13 at 11:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The title is an important identifier for a web page. It is used in various places by various user-agents, not only by browsers and search engines.

Think, for example, about bookmarking (i.e. a list of linked titles). The title "About" wouldn’t be very helpful. Instead, "About – ACME Inc." would work much better.

HTML5 defines (bold by me):

Authors should use titles that identify their documents even when they are used out of context, for example in a user's history or bookmarks, or in search results.

Regarding your A vs. B example: This heavily depends on the specific information need (resp. the search query) of a user. Not all users want to buy tennis equipment, no matter where. Some might want to make a list of available shops, some might look for the tennis page on the TheSportOutlet’s website, some might want to buy stuff but not from TheSportOutlet, etc.

Also, not all domains/URLs necesarily describe what the site/page is about. And even for those that do, it’s likely that not all users look at the URL at all.

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Thanks Unor, this makes sense. I agree with your point of view, and thanks for the HTML5 definition :) –  Robin Rismyhr Sep 2 '13 at 7:05

It depends if you focus on SEO or SEM (talking about CTR, in case of impressions you would probably be better off with the A option).

Search Engines are focusing every time more on branding than simple kwds, so I would try to build a middle-long term sucess of the site with a good branding strategy. Don´t mix SERP results with SEM strategy for Adwords or BingAds, that´s a completely different story.

"Why does "everyone" always include their site/company name in the titles?!?!" - Exactly because of the importance of branding and building the site´s brand (returning users, buzz etc.) and spammy character of the abuse of innecessary offer-sounding content etc.

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Ok I get the "spammy characters" part, and I agree. But it could also be very informative in other cases, like: A) "Receipt > Home made spaghetti carbonara from scratch" versus B) "TheOnlineChef.com - Home made spaghetti ca..." (Bad example. Hope you understand my way of thinking) Branding is ofcourse a super important thing, but if you have a domain name that matches your brand name, and include your brand name in the meta description - I just don't think that would affect seo in a negative way? –  Robin Rismyhr Aug 29 '13 at 11:35

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