Site name is your brand name that you want everyone to remember when thinking of your site. This is not just a social media branding as Google shows the site name in each result. So, it is important for you to choose an appropriate name. Google also recently rolled out a new site name format for mobile searches to emphasize the importance of using proper site name. Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy for you to add site name and show in search results. In this article, we will explain how to add or change site name in WordPress for site wide or only for a particular page.
Site Name Vs Domain Name
It is a good idea to use the same name for your domain as well as site. For example, our domain name is webnots.com and the site name we use throughout the site WebNots. However, it is not always necessary to have a single name and you can have different names for your domain and site. Similarly, it is also not necessary for using a single site name throughout the site for all your pages. Before explaining how to add or change site name in WordPress, here is how the site name will look in Google mobile search results.
Though currently this site name feature in mobile search is applicable for English, French, German and Japanese searches, it will be rolled out for other languages and desktop searches in future.
Where Google Gets Your Site Name?
As per Google’s developer documentation, here are the four sources from where Google may get the site name for your site.
- Page’s HTML title tag
- Open Graph meta tag
- Structured schema data
- Headings on the page
As you can see all these sources are at page level and can be easily changed per page on the site. However, it is recommended to use a single site name same as your domain name unless you have a need like you want different site name for a subdirectory installation.
Change WordPress Site Name from Settings
WordPress uses a term called “Site Title” which is same as site name. In most cases, you would like to use a single name for your site.
- Login to your site’s admin panel.
- Navigate to “Settings > General” section.
- “Site Title” is the first item under “General Settings” page.
- Enter your site name in “Site Title” text box.
- Scroll down to bottom and click “Save Changes” button.
If required, you can also enter the “Tagline” in the next box explaining few words about your site. However, in general tagline will not appear in Google search results though you can configure to show it using a plugin especially on a home page.
Change Site Name from Customizer
WordPress also offers customizer section from where you can assign or change the site name.
- Login to your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Navigate to “Appearance > Customize” section.
- Click on “Site Identity” option and enter the site name in “Site Title” box.
- Click “Publish” button to make your changes live.
The advantage of using customizer is that you can preview the appearance of site name live before publishing the site.
Showing Site Name on Your Site
The appearance of site title on the published site completely depends on the theme you use. The above example screenshot is using twenty twenty one theme which shows the site title as a text logo. However, most of the commercial WordPress themes simply hide the site title and use the image logo instead. For example, below is the customizer screen from Astra theme offering an option to hide the site title. You can upload an image logo and show it on the site instead of site title.
Regardless of your theme shows the site name (title) on the frontend or not, it will always appear along with the page title of each page. You can see the page title and site name in the browser’s title bar as shown below.
This essentially means, the site title is part of the title tag in HTML even your theme hides from displaying it. You can view the source of any page on your site to find the site title appears in the <title> tag in <head> section.
Showing Site Name in Google Search Results
As site name is part of title tag (which is one of the sources), it will automatically appear in search engine result pages. As mentioned, there are also other sources (like schema) you should consider for showing correct site name in Google. There are many free SEO plugins available for WordPress which can help you in optimizing the site name. Here we will explain with the popular Yoast SEO plugin, and the settings will be similar in other plugins like Rank Math.
Using Site Name in Knowledge Graph and Schema
Your page should use correct site name in WebSite schema for Google to get the input. You can refer the complete details of a WebSite schema in this official documentation on Schema.org. The “name” property in “WebSite” schema is the one Google uses for identifying the site name of your site. Do not worry much about these technical details as Yoast SEO offers an user friendly way to setup this.
When settings up Yoast SEO for the first time, you can see the plugin automatically assigns the site title as your organization name. However, you can change the organization name something different than your site name if required.
If you are already using Yoast, then go to “SEO Search Appearance” section. Expand the “Knowledge Graph & Schema.org” section and you can see the plugin automatically assigned the site title for your “Website name” as well as “Organization name”. If required, change the details and also enter alternate website name.
You can check the page source and confirm the schema data from Yoast SEO plugin is included. The schema data should contain the “name” property with the value as site title from your general settings section.
Enabling Open Graph Meta Tags
The “og:site_name” tag in Open Graph meta tags is used by Google as a source to identify your site name. All what you need is to enable Open Graph meta data in Yoast so that the plugin will automatically add the required tags using the site title information.
- Go to “SEO > Social” menu in your dashboard.
- Navigate to “Facebook” tab.
- Enable “Add Open Graph meta data” option.
- Scroll down and click “Save Changes” button.
You can check the source of the page to confirm the Open Graph meta tags are part of header section. It should contain “og:site_name” property with the “Content” value as your site name from general settings section.
Using Site Name in Home Page
All posts and pages on your site will show the site title at the end of post/page title with a separator. However, by default the home page of your site will show the site title and tagline as shown below.
In most cases, this will not be the way you want to show your home page in Google search. Go to “SEO > Search Appearance” menu in Yoast SEO and expand the “Homepage” section. Here, delete ethe variables showing in “Site title” text box and enter your custom title for your homepage. Site title, tagline and separator are the variables used by the plugin to pull the corresponding values. You can change the separator in “Title Separator” section showing just above the “Homepage” section.
In “Homepage” section, you can also setup custom social title and description for your home page to use on social platforms.
Change Site Wide Title Format in Yoast SEO
As mentioned, the site title in WordPress is applicable for site wide and appears at the end of each page after a separator. You can modify this site wide by configuring the global templates under “SEO > Search Appearance” section. Navigate to “Content Types”, “Taxonomies” and “Archives” section to change the site wide appearance of site name for your content. If required, you can also change the site wide schema settings from here.
Remember, the plugin uses “Site title” as a variable to get the site name from general settings section. Removing the “Site title” variable from the templates will completely delete the site name value from HTML title tag. So, make sure the “SEO title” box always contains “Site title” variable after the “Separator” for each content type.
Change Site Name for Single Post or Page
Yoast SEO plugin adds a meta box in the post editor where you can configure the settings for each post on your site. This helps to change the site name only for specific pages.
- Edit a post or page or category or tag for which you want to change the site name.
- Scroll down to find “Yoast SEO” meta box and check under “SEO” tab.
- Remove the “Site title” variable in “SEO title” box and enter a custom text after the “Separator”.
- Publish your page and the entered text will appear in Google search result as your site name only for that page.
Since site name is a mandatory value appears as a separate line in search result, Google will pick it up from one of the sources as explained above. Google recommends using schema (structured data) for this purpose. You need a plugins like Yoast SEO for adding proper “WebSite” schema to your WordPress site. For any reason if you are not using schema data, then make to have a text value for “Site title” in general settings section which appears in HTML title tag of the page. Otherwise, Google may pick up the name from page headings irrelevant to your site which may reduce the click through rate in search.
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