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Most sites do not put their name on the title.
Is there any disadvantages in putting it like this:
<title>Company XYZ - Widgets and more</title>
Most site pack it with their keywords but I find that customers don't really 'know' you in the end and won't remember you.
So does putting your name in the title 'take off' anything from your search optimization efforts?
My 2p :O)
What I was trying to acheive is to get customers to notice the name. This is to acheive recognition and branding.
However I want to be absolutely sure it doesn't hurt or take away from my SEO efforts.
Also, can someone explain to me how search engines rate and value the title bar?
Adding the company/site name into the title will probably just dilute your SEO efforts and not add that much branding wise?
I have to take the other tack. Since many folks searching for one term will also search for other related things for which my site will pop up, I think...
"This Is What You Searched For -- My Brand Here"
...repeatedly appearing in the top five or six adds some authority and a bit more legitimacy. If nothing else it helps break out from the clutter and differentiates it a bit from the...
"Your Search Term Search Your Term More Search Term"
..gobbledygook that make some SERPs so hard to read.
Besides being formatted for the SEs and pure SEO purposes, a good title should help you get the searcher's click.
Besides, web users are more interested in seeing the words they are searching for in the SERPS, not company names.
Once in serps, you stand out, maybe even get that authority level mentioned (direct to the company making them) or a recognition level (seen that company before for "widgets", let's take a look).
For ranking, there is maybe a minor cost, as far as I can see only to the extent the company name appears in the first letters of the title as opposed to later letters in the title (because the whole idea loses effect if it's not leading the title words -- the visitor doesn't need to see "widgets" overemphazised again because that's what they searched for, and there is a description to look at.......). Undoubtedly keywords in title are important, but I don't think the weight of being in the first letters or not counts for all that much, and I don't think that the company name need weigh downwards the overall keyword density that determines your ranking.
Only you can decide how you want to dial up or down on the three factors. Remember your domain name will help with the branding and your company name may not hurt your rankings (maybe get more good anchor text links if it does).
Ex - the site I'm in the middle of setting up has 3 keywords in it's url, but 2 of them are very specific to the site, so I put the site name in the title before the actual name of the page.
<title>sitename - keyword title goes here</title>
Since the first few words are extremely important, I find this does help a little bit.
However if my site name didn't have any keywords in it, then I would probably include it but put it after the page title.
<title>keyword title goes here - sitename</title>