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Recently, Google has been replacing many domains in SERPs with website titles, e.g. "Stack Exchange" instead of "stackexchange.com".

stack exchange serp

However many smaller sites, including my own, only show a URL and not a "website title":

maxlaumeister.com serp

What is this feature called in Google Search, and how can one affect it from an SEO standpoint?

  • You may notice that SE is a well known brand. Google may be using their brand ontology for this. – closetnoc Nov 29 '19 at 23:56
  • @closetnoc That may well be. The obvious follow-up question would be: How to affect a website's google brand ontology? – Maximillian Laumeister Nov 30 '19 at 0:01
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    You need a strong brand. Here is a list of what it takes to begin. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/99933/… Cheers!! – closetnoc Nov 30 '19 at 0:08
  • @closetnoc Good info, thanks. Though I did see some smaller websites with this display in the SERPs, that you wouldn't usually think of as brands. – Maximillian Laumeister Nov 30 '19 at 0:18
  • I would have to see more of them to know for sure. You are right on that. I was making an assumption. I have a small site for my apartments and you would think, looking at the site, that the brand was not strong and yet, it is. Which, quite frankly, s*cks because I chose the name quickly because Google forced me to come up with one. If I had known better, I would have thought of a better name! – closetnoc Nov 30 '19 at 0:23
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Those are a kind of google experiment. Some of them run in a limited environment and for a small selected number of websites, and when they intend to implement it widely, you will see it affecting even your website.

As far as its effect on SEO, I don't think it has any effect unless you have an appealing website name that might increase your site's SERP ctr, other than that it is just google experimenting, trying to visually improve its search result pages.

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