Over the years, Google’s algorithms have placed an increasing focus on “site authority”. It all started off with their “PageRank” metric, and even though Google has now discontinued their public data on PageRank, they’ve openly proclaimed that it still plays a role. Last year, the famous “Medic” update made SEOs all over the world lose their hair as the search engine placed an increased focus on the metrics of Expertise, Authority, and Trust (EAT).
Some have theorized that branding is key to all this. That a site’s brand name is the single biggest long-terms bet that you can place to increase a site’s overall performance. Individual pages can rise and fall, and there’s only so much you can do about “on-page” SEO. But building your site’s brand is never a wasted effort. The more it’s visible, the better for you. The more people refer to your brand online, the more value you get from all your pages.
And it’s not just search engines. Over time, people in the industry will come to recognize your brand, and assign more value to its content, compared to other sites in the same space. So brand building builds two-fold benefits – in the search marketing space, as well as the mindshare/word-of-mouth department.
Page Titles Without Site Branding
And yet, I see even SEO agencies make basic mistakes like this:
Where is the branding? The article title is obviously “optimized” to a perfect length. But there’s no site name attached to the article. Without branding, you’re losing out on massive value. If someone finds the article useful, they’re going to always associate that particular site with value. And without branding, that opportunity is lost.
It’s ironic that this basic mistake is made by a company writing a blog on “SEO Basics”:).
One reason some people choose to omit the brand name, is because it takes up valuable space. This is true – Google’s search result space is limited. It’s supposed to be 66 characters, but sometimes it changes, and it’s always good to leave a little bit extra just in case.
But that’s the trade-off – you NEED your brand name. Especially in a competitive industry where it’s not easy to distinguish yourself from someone else. It may seem like a long term goal, but it’s important to pursue it.
Verifying the Title Length
Yoast for example, allows you to check the complete title length on WordPress, but I’ve sometimes found that they allow titles that shouldn’t be allowed. Occasionally, I’ll see that Google has cut off my title in the search results even though it shows up just fine on Yoast. So for this, I use Mozilla’s title tool instead.
As you can see, you can paste in the complete title (along with your brand name) and see how it’ll look in the Google search results. I find this to be a better solution than using the in-built Yoast checker.
Configuring Yoast to ALWAYS Include the Site Title
You can make things easier by adjusting the Yoast setting which ensures that your site’s brand name is always shown after the page or post title as shown here:
This is under the “Content” tab. Just make sure you choose a suitable separator before the site title, and you’re done! This way you’ll be forced to craft page or post titles that leave sufficient space for your website’s branding.
Turn off Domain Privacy
One way to increase trust, is to increase transparency. And you can further this by not purchasing add-ons that hide your details on the WHOIS database. Most web hosts include protection as an additional feature, for which you have to pay. But I suggest you not only save the money, but actually increase your trust factors when you turn it off.
There’s no proof of course that search engines including Google take WHOIS records into consideration. But it’s a possibility. In any case, it allows your customers to verify who you are, and so by definition, should help with increasing your brand’s trust. And that’s always the best approach – to think of what your customers will find useful, and not just what search engines will see. Because in the end, they converge towards the same thing!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!