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
I might have expected the snippet you see below to appear in Google search.
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.
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
If you use the SEO Framework WordPress plugin (as I do), then automatic branding of title tags is easy to do.
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.
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.
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.