Home | Search Engine Optimization | Should I Use My Brand Name in the Page Title?

Should I Use My Brand Name in the Page Title?

John Doherty —  March 2, 2011
  • Buffer
  • Vote on Hacker News
  • Sharebar
  • Buffer
  • Vote on Hacker News

Today I’ve been thinking about brand SEO (again) and how branding your site may be good for SEO purposes as well, for ranking important keywords even.

Most of my thinking has come about in the past week, after a webinar given by SEOmoz a week and a half ago. Today I also watched a WhiteBoard Friday on Search Engines and Brand Entities, where Rand Fishkin is talking about the importance of brands and how Google and other search engines might use branding as a ranking factor.

I’m starting to buy this as a theory, as I see a lot of SEO companies doing it.

Should I Use My Brand Name In The Page Title?

Well, should I? I’m honestly asking the question. Here are the good and bad factors I see to adding your brand name to your page title:

Pros

1) Use builds your brand name. If you want to become the next “Google it” (or just have people think of you when they want to buy, say, “coffee”), you should start associating your brand name with the product.

2) You can build trust with your brand name. Using it, and associating it with your product or service, might increase your click through rate, and then your conversions as well (of course, many on-page factors weigh into this heavily).

3) If this is a ranking signal, it is a good idea. Obviously, if the search engines are using brands as a signal in ranking websites, we would be wise to heed this advice and include our brand names with our page titles, at least on relevant pages.

Cons

1) Less room for keyword-rich page titles. I’m not talking about keyword stuffing here, by the way, but it is currently SEO best practice to put your important keywords for your page into your page title, written into a coherent string of words. Since we’re limited to 70 characters, using your brand name will eliminate some precious characters.

Conclusion

I am really asking the question, so please respond with your thoughts. My thought is that using your brand name in your page title tag could be a good idea on your main site entrance pages, if you have your site structured to drive traffic deeper from a main homepage. If your entire site is built on the “every page is a homepage” mentality, a la new Gawker websites design, you probably either want to use your brand name in your title tags or not at all.

*Update: A good post that mentions this issue was posted on March 2 on SearchEngineLand.com. You can read it here.

Thoughts?

John Doherty

Posts

I'm the Senior Marketing Manager of HotPads.com, based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

5 responses to Should I Use My Brand Name in the Page Title?

  1. Great post. However, one thing to consider is that different pages have different requirements. I’d suggest that having your brand in your page title is much more important for your homepage and ‘about us’ style pages, than it is, say, for every product page. Something for a follow up post?

    • Tom – Thanks for your comment! I agree with you, though I guess it also depends on if you want your product to be associated with your brand or not. For example, if you have SEO software, you probably want your brand associated with that in Google’s eyes (that is, if Rand is correct in his thing about brands being important for ranking). Aka, “SEO Tools | SEOmoz”.

      If course, if you’re Sears and you’re selling, I don’t know, lawnmowers, it probably does not matter at all if you have “Sears” next to your title for any of your specific product pages. But it may matter for your overall lawnmower section. So, “Electric Lawnmowers | Sears” may be a good idea, but “(Brand) Lawnmowers | Sears” is not necessary, IMO.

      Thoughts?

  2. I am creating a wordpress blog site for branded and independent hotels. There are static pages with information about the hotel and lists of area restaurants and attractions. All the keywords for the hotels are long-tailed because they are geocentric like “Things to do in Martinsburg WV” or “Martinsburg WV hotels.”

    I just need to figure out what I should do for the static pages. I thought I should follow the template that is “Primary Keyword-Secondary Keyword | site name” but it is always over 70 characters. If I am going to take the time to use a secondary keyword in the text than I want it to be in the title tag. I also like the consistency of using the site name in the title.

    For example the attractions page’s title tag is “West Virginia Vacation Ideas-Things to do in Martinsburg WV | Holiday Inn Martinsburg WV”

    This is the title tag for an attractions page for a Holiday Inn in Martinsburg. I tried to end with the site name on each page, but is it really that important?
    Also, for the blog portion I have it set up to have the “post title | Holiday Inn Martinsburg WV” not sure if this is really necessary either because it ends up being too long as well.

    If you can help clarify things for me I would really appreciate it!

    • Hey Leslie –

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the question! It is usually my recommendation that you use the brand name if you are a big brand, but when it comes to local versions of brands, I’m not so sure it’s important. You are looking with the example you gave me to provide local information about Martinsburg, right?

      If I were you, I would split this page into two separate pages. The first one would to “West Virginia Vacation Ideas | Holiday Inn Martinsburg” and then have link to a subsection of this that goes to “Things to do in Martinsburg WV | Holiday Inn Martinsburg”.

      Usually I recommend that you try to put your brand at the end on static pages. On blog posts, it’s not so necessary.

      Hope this helps!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. 13 Digital Media Resources That You Shouldn't Miss: May 3, 2013 | Minterest - May 3, 2013

    [...] Should I Use My Brand Name in the Page Title? | John Doherty [...]