Google appears to have stopped showing title tags for mobile search results for the entire website such as in searches for the name of a website which generally show the home page.
This feature does not work for subdomains.
According to Google’s Search Central documentation for site names:
What’s being shown in mobile searches is just the generic name for a website.
For example, a mobile search for Search Engine Journal shows a search engine results page (SERP) with the generic name of the website, Search Engine Journal.
The title tag for the above home page is:
Non-branded searches for keywords appear to still show the title tags.
Brand name + keyword searches also appear to still show the title tags.
Google is using site names in order to make it easier for users to identify the specific website in the search results.
This new feature is available in the English, French, Japanese, and German languages and will begin showing up in other languages over the next few months.
A search for a compound word domain name like “Search Engine Journal” and “searchenginejournal” return the same search results that featured the new site names as the title link.
But a search using the compound word domain name HubSpot shows the old version search result with the title tags.
But a search for Hub Spot (with a space between the two words) does work and shows the site name.
A search for compound word name “Wordfence” and “word fence” returns the same site name search.
So it appears that Google isn’t consistently returning site name results for HubSpot but is doing it correctly for many other sites.
Google is recommending the use of the WebSite structured data type.
Previously the WebSite structured data site was considered pointless because obviously Google knows a website is a website and it didn’t need structured data to understand that Google was indexing a website.
But that’s changed because Google is now using the WebSite structured data type, specifically the “name” property, to understand what the site name of a website is.
Google published an example of the WebSite structured data with the “name” property in use:
The above structured data must be shown on the home page.
Google’s Search Central page for site name recommends the following for placement of the WebSite structured data:
What’s useful about the WebSite structured data is that it offers the opportunity to tell Google what the alternate name of the website is.
Google explains how to do it:
The structured data for adding an optional name looks like this:
The Google documentation on site names explains that Google is using on-page, off-page and meta data information in addition to structured data to determine what a webpage site name is.
This is what Google uses to understand the site name:
Something to take note of is that og:site_name property is an optional but recommended Open Graph property.
The Open Graph notation generally looks like this in the HTML code:
The new site names feature in Google search looks attractive on mobile devices.
It makes sense to have less clutter in the SERPs for home page brand name searches. although I can see some complaining about the absence of title tag influence in these kinds of searches.