Google updates guidance on site names

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 7 Aug, 2023
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New section details what to do if your preferred site name isn’t selected.

Google site names.

When Google lists a page in search results it shows the name of the site the page comes from, which is known as the site name. 

site name.

Google’s update to its documentation on site names gives guidance to webmasters for cases when their preferred site name is not chosen.

While the best way to indicate a preferred site name continues to be to use WebSite structured data, Google now also advises more use of the alternateName property. 

Google says sometimes a preferred name isn’t available for use. For example, the system "generally won't use the same site name for two different sites that are global in nature”.

The alternateName property gives you the chance to provide the system with further options if your preferred site name isn’t chosen.
site name documentation.

Google’s site name documentation details steps to take if your preferred sitename is not chosen. The update now lists further workarounds to try if you’ve followed these and neither your preferred or alternative site name has been selected:

  1. First, try providing an alternative name using the alternateName property. Google says if your preferred name is not chosen, the system “strongly considers” this option.
  2. Provide your domain or subdomain name as a backup option. To do this, add your domain or subdomain name as your alternative name. It needs to be in all lowercase (for example, not for the system to detect this as a site name preference. Again, the system will strongly consider using it if your preferred name isn't selected.
  3. IIf that's still not working, then try providing your domain or subdomain name (in all lowercase) as your preferred name, as a last-resort workaround option. Google says if you provide your domain or subdomain name as your preferred name, the system will generally select that, but they only recommend doing this as a last resort.

You can see Google's full guidance on site names here and Google also has a support thread Questions about site names.

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