8 Mar, 2023

Site Names on Google Search Replace Title Tags

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Have you noticed something different lately when you look up specific websites on Google using your smartphone? In case you missed it, site names on Google Search now appear instead of the usual title tags for mobile search results. The search giant revealed that the latest feature only applies to pages at the domain level and not those at the subdomain (e.g., https://news.yoursite.com) or subdirectory levels (e.g., https://yoursite.com/news).

A Closer Look at Google Search’s New Feature

The new feature is part of Google’s efforts to make the search engine more user-friendly. Using site names in lieu of title tags makes it easier for mobile users to identify specific websites in Google search result pages. 

The update is currently available in English, French, Japanese, and German. Users using Google in other languages are expected to get access to the new feature in the next few months. 

Here’s an example if you’re wondering what the site names would look like on mobile search results. A mobile search for Springhill Marketing will yield a search result page with our site’s generic name, Springhill Marketing. In comparison, the title tag for our website’s home page is “Springhill Marketing – SEO – Ads – PPC – Digital Marketing Specialists”. 

Google Search

However, the update doesn’t seem to apply to non-branded mobile searches for keywords as these online queries still show the title tags on search results. Also, there might still be lingering issues that Google has yet to address because the site names do not always appear for certain branded mobile searches.

How to Ensure Compliance

To ensure the new site names feature would work on your website, you should use WebSite structured data. Before, most SEO experts would advise against using WebSite structured data because it is a waste of time since Google would automatically know what a website is all about. Furthermore, the search giant didn’t require structured data to understand the sites it was indexing.

However, the recent update shows that Google now uses WebSite structured data to understand webpages. In particular, it utilises the “name” property to understand a website’s site name. 

To help site owners, Google published an example of WebSite structured data using the “name” property. The following should be on your homepage or your domain-level root URL: 

<title>Example: A Site About Examples</title>

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

“@context” : “http://schema.org”,

“@type” : “WebSite”,

“name” : “Example”,

“url” : “https://example.com/”

}

</script> 

One of the advantages of using WebSite structured data is that it makes it easier to let Google know your website’s alternate name. If you’d rather use an acronym or a shorter version of your website’s name, you can do so by adding the “alternateName” property. 

You can use the following structured data if you want your website’s alternative name to appear on mobile search results: 

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

“@context” : “http://schema.org”,

“@type” : “WebSite”,

“name” : “Example Company”,

“alternateName” : “EC”,

“url” : “https://example.com/”

}

</script>

 

While it is highly encouraged that you use WebSite structured data to ensure the appearance of site names on Google Search, note that it doesn’t always guarantee that Google’s new feature will work on your site.

The search giant uses more than structured data to determine a webpage’s site name. It also pays attention to your title tags, headings, and Open Graph Protocol metadata, specifically the og:site_name. Therefore, ensure that these essential on-page elements are carefully considered and accounted for if you want to take advantage of Google Search’s latest update.

What the Experts Are Saying about Google Site Names

Many industry experts agree that the new site names feature makes Google mobile search result pages more attractive and readable. Because there is less clutter, it would be easier for users to find the specific websites they are looking for.

However, there is also a caveat. Some are worried that the absence of title tags might influence mobile search results and make it more challenging for less popular sites to attract visitors via Google.

Let Google Specialists Assist You

It remains to be seen if Google’s latest update would be a bane or a boon for marketers and site owners. However, one thing is certain. It’s vital to be always prepared for any Google update and make adjustments when needed to ensure your site’s compliance and improve its performance.

If you require expert assistance when optimising your site for Google, we at Springhill Marketing are ready to help. We have a team of highly experienced SEO experts who can offer you the services you require. Contact us today, and we’ll create a bespoke digital marketing plan for your business.

Drive Your Business Towards The Best Results.

Talk to us about how we can help.

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