How To Brand Title Tags On a Blog

Updated On
[o2modified-date]
By
Liz Jamieson

Google has stated it wants title tags to be branded. But what does this mean?

Let's start with a brief recap.

In the past, the title and meta description tags that were specified for each web page were the ones used in the Google search results pages (SERPs).

In the example below you can see that if I'd specified

  1. How to Create The Best SERPs Snippets Ever - as my title tag, and
  2. Can you control your search results snippets in Google? How these appear, can affect click through rates and visitor numbers - as my meta description,

I might have expected the snippet you see below to appear in Google search.

Typical Google Search Result Snippet

Google Sometimes Changes Meta Description Snippets

At some point, Google started replacing some meta descriptions with ones of its own choosing in the SERPs. Often, Google took alternative text from the content, and used it in the meta description area of the snippet. The reason this was done, was to better match the user's search.

That seems to be fair enough and may be helping us to get more clicks because the snippet meta description might end up being more relevant to the user's search phrase.

But if Google finds title tags to be lacking, it may replace them with what it thinks are better ones.

Take Steps To Make Your Title Tags Better

You don't want Google to change title tags, because most of the time (not all, but most), it means Google has found the tag to be of poor quality. Do we really want to give Google any more ways to diss our content?

If you construct title tags well, and make sure they reflect the contents of the post they head up, then Google is unlikely, for most searches, to change them. But how do you do you write them well?

Title tags must be descriptive and concise ... branding should be on each title, but use as few characters as possible.

Google
  1. Don't allow your SEO plugin to auto-generate title tags
  2. Instead, write a hand-crafted title tag for each post.
  3. Don't make the title tag the same as the H1
  4. Make each title tag unique
  5. Make title tags short enough to display without ellipses, (...), but not too short. Keep them informative.
  6. Make sure title tags accurately reflect the content on your page.
  7. Make the title tag read well - it should make sense.
  8. Brand each title tag - but find a very short way to do it (good luck).

Branding Title Tags

If you use the SEO Framework WordPress plugin (as I do), then automatic branding of title tags is easy to do.

Branding Title Tags On Internal Pages

The branding text is whatever you have placed in the Site Title field in WordPress for all internal pages.

Within the SEO Framework plugin's Title Settings, under Additions, make sure you set the Blog Name Location to either left or right. Also choose a separator. This will cause all your non-home page titles to be branded.

Branding Title Tags On The Home Page

Whatever you place in the Meta Title Additions box on the home page settings of the SEO Framework plugin is used for the home page branding.

Review each title to make sure that the additional branding text does not push the character length too far. This would lead to it being truncated in the SERPs and may trigger Google to replace your title himself.

If all that sounded a bit complicated, don't worry - it's easy and I've created a video to show you what I was saying.

What Happens If Title Tags Are Not Branded?

As already stated, if title tags are not branded, it is possible that Google will alter your title tag to include branding and other text. Branding them is one way to minimise the risk of this happening.

If you use the SEO Framework plugin for adding SEO title tags and meta descriptions to WordPress, then the plugin will warn you if your titles appear to be unbranded.

The SEO Framework plugin warning of unbranded title tags.

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