Robert_Charlton - 9:00 am on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
MadScientist... I understand your wanting your listing to stand out in the serps, and there's little I can say to comfort you. See this discussion from last Sept-Oct....
Google is testing altered page titles
Since that time, changes have become much more common, and Google does seem committed to them.
The title of the page is only Brand.
This is precisely the kind of title that will trigger the addition, particularly when the added phrase is what caused Google to rank the page for the query... and when the phrase is contained in the query and on the page and in inbound links.
In part, I'm sure the additions help click-throughs. Google's not putting up results to have you think they're not relevant and search again. They want you to click, so they want searchers to understand what's beyond an otherwise anonymous title. If the title is descriptive enough, Google won't add extra vocabulary to it.
With the ODP/Yahoo changes, btw, the situation was just the opposite. The engines were removing our nice descriptive vocabulary from titles and just returning plain vanilla company names. I'd scream like crazy if they did that again... and in fact I give myself partial credit for wearing Tim Mayer down enough to give us our full titles rather than our Yahoo Directory titles in Yahoo search. We were getting disadvantaged by having Yahoo Directory listings. I think overall, and I know you disagree, that these Google additions are advantageous.
From what I've seen, it doesn't matter with regard to the Google changes whether the onpage text is in hx headings or not. Also, I haven't yet seen Google add an irrelevant phrase. You may not like it, but at least it's relevant.