SEO

An Update on Site Names: Google’s New Approach

Imagine you’re at a bustling party, trying to find your friend, John. You shout out “John!” and several heads turn – there’s John the baker, John the lawyer, and John the artist. It’s a common name, and it’s confusing. This is similar to what happens when Google tries to identify websites with common or similar names. But Google has recently rolled out updates to its site names feature in Google Search, aiming to reduce this confusion and improve the user experience.

What’s New in Google’s Site Names Update?

Google’s site names feature is the title and name of the site Google displays in the search results listings. Google displays the name of the website from which a page originates when it appears in search results. The recent updates have expanded the support for site names on subdomains across all devices in English, French, German, and Japanese.

Google Site Name Update

Moreover, Google has made other improvements and added workarounds when Google gets your site name wrong. For instance, if Google’s site name system isn’t robust enough to use your preferred name, it considers the alternative name provided by the alternateName property.

Google has updated its guidance on declaring your preferred site name to Google Search. The best way to indicate a preferred site name to Google is to use WebSite structured data, as explained in Google’s site name documentation. Google now encourages more use of the alternateName property when sometimes a preferred site name isn’t available for your site.

Workarounds for Site Names

Google has also listed a few workarounds for when Google Search does not select the preferred or alternative names. These include:

  1. Providing an alternative name using the alternateName property.
  2.  Providing your domain or subdomain name as a backup option.
  3. ┬áIf the above two options don’t work, you can provide your domain or subdomain name (in all lowercase) as your preferred name as a last-resort workaround option.

Google uses various methods to determine the name of a website for search results. However, you can use structured data on your homepage in order to convey to Google the specific name of your website. Google has specific documentation on this new Site name structured data.

Here is an example:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context" : "http://schema.org",
  "@type" : "WebSite",
  "name" : "John's Bakery",
  "alternateName" : "John the Baker",
  "url" : "https://example.com/"
}
</script>

In this example, “John’s Bakery” is the primary name of the website, and “John the Baker” is an alternative name that Google can consider if it’s unable to use the primary name in search results.

The Evolution of Site Names

The feature for site names has developed since its launch in October 2022. At first, Google introduced site names for the domain level in mobile search results for major languages like English, French, German, and Japanese. In April 2023, site names were added for desktops for the same set of languages. By May 2023, Google support extended for subdomain-level site names and was available for the same languages on mobile search results.

Conclusion

The update has improved how Google selects and shows your site name in the Google Search results. If Google is still getting it wrong and you are following the documentation, maybe try some of those new workarounds to get your site name to show precisely how you want it in Google Search.

Just like at the party, when you specify “John, the baker”, it becomes easier to find the right John. Similarly, with Google’s new site names update, it’s now easier for users to find the right website they’re searching for. So, whether you’re a website owner or a user, this update is set to improve your Google Search experience.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar working in the Search Engine Optimization field since 2015. And worked on many successful projects since then. He shares the real-life experience of best SEO practices with his followers on seoneurons.com. You also can learn Advance level SEO for WordPress, Blogger, or any other blogging platform. Stay tuned.

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