Where, oh where, should company names appear in the Title?

red-computer-mouse.jpgJakob 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?