Should you include a site brand in meta titles or not? For example, should the meta title be:
My Super Mega Web Page | Red Clay Interactive
or, should they be without your site brand trailing the meta title:
My Super Mega Web Page
The Status Quo
In our marketing discussions around this topic, we generally agree that if there is an existing site with a strong brand, then having the extra brand term in the meta title may not be needed and can make the titles longer than best practices call for. Adding the site’s brand to the end of the meta titles isn’t likely to improve SEO for that page or topic, but could help improve brand searches, which aren’t needed for a strong existing brand.
Conversely, if a site doesn’t have any brand strength or isn’t ranked well, then having the trailing brand term at the end of the meta titles would likely help improve brand search visibility, even if it means some titles may be longer than best practices.
Poking The Bear
While doing some keyword research for a client, we tested the status quo by searching for a term plus their brand: “daigger pippette”, and here’s what Google showed us – it included the trailing brand term because we asked for it.
Now, to find the exact same page, we searched for something specific: “reference and research plus pipette”. Google drops “Daigger” at the end and shows more of what you searched for.
Challenging The Status Quo
We were originally of the opinion that dropping the brand term would be a smart idea for clients with a strong brand, since it adheres to best practices and anything too long would likely be cut off in the fixed-pixel width area. But, Google clearly appears to show you what you search for, even if it means cutting up or coming at the expense of other parts of the meta title (as seen above).