Where Should Company Names Appear in the Title?

Jakob Nielsen wrote an interesting article about where the company name should appear in the Title. Prior to this, Nielsen believed that the company name should never be frontloaded. Now, he says to analyze the top five SERP results for your main keyterms and consider:

  • Are competitor Titles “junk” (as he calls them.) If so, put your company name at the beginning. A well-known brand name has build-in trust – and can encourage click-through.
  • If competing Titles are what Nielsen calls “meaningful,” put your company name at the end of the Title – and create a Title that’s “solutions oriented.”

(As a side note, I’m not sure if I agree with one thing. Top-ranking pages may not have “junky Titles.” Sure, the Titles may not be the best – but they are [hopefully] far from the keyword-and-pipe structure from years ago.)

My thought is – why not have the best of both worlds? I would argue that Titles (whenever possible) include some sort of keyphrase-rich call to action or benefit (otherwise known as a “solutions oriented Title”) and branding. If it’s a well-known brand, I typically suggest the brand appears first in the Title. If it’s not, I put it at the end. But that’s just a general rule of thumb – I’ll do different things for different clients and test results.

Detlev Johnson (who forwarded me this article,) has seen better conversions with the company name being first -and discusses why the search engines “expect” the Title first. in his latest Search Return article.

What have you noticed? Do you place the Title first or last and why?

3 replies
  1. copywriting agency - sarah says:

    I love titles – they’re one of the purest forms of copywriting. You’ve got to have a call to action, frontloaded with keywords, maybe the company name, and all in one short sentence.

    They remind me of those slogan competitions – To win, tell us in ten words or less, why this website is the one you should visit :-)

    Nice blog by the way!


  2. Kye Grace says:

    I work exclusively in the real estate space, which tends to be fairly competitive in regards to the number of blogs on similar topics and SEO wise. I always prefer to place the ‘brand’ name (usually the Realtor’s name, but not always) at the end of any title and will even go so far as to not include it if doesn’t fit well.

    My thoughts are the site is going to rank for their ‘brand’ name anyways so why not use the title that uses keywords and describes what searcher’s problem is solved by the content first and foremost.

    We have also found within the real estate space most consumers could care less who provides the solution online as long as there is a solution. Once they have found a site to be reliable source of wanted information they will then pay attention to which Realtor provided it.

    That seems to be the nature of the real estate perception amongst consumers…prove to me that you can be trusted then tell me who you are.

    • Heather says:

      @Kye – that’s great advice. You’re completely correct when you say, “Most consumers could care less who provides the solution as long as there is a solution.” Focusing on solving the prospect’s needs (I need a new home) is much more important than blasting the Realtor’s name all over the Title.. :)

      Thanks for your post!


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