It was brought to my attention that one of the websites our company manages is not showing up correctly. The title tag on the page and company name contains pipes, but google replaced one of the pipes with a colon and rearranged it.

I did a quick search and learned that google does as means to optimize the titles that they "interpret" as having brand names along with company names.

Good article about exactly what I'm referring to

Well google got our company completely wrong and it should NOT being doing this.

For example, Company name = My | Company | Inc

Google is displaying it as: Company | Inc: My

Is it possible to stop google from doing this? I have found a lot of articles about it, but haven't been able to find one that presents a solution.

Worth noting, our actual company name is only 26 characters.

(For the record, I was not responsible for naming the company with pipes, nor am I responsible for the SEO, keyword optimization. But I have been asked to look into it)

2 Answers 2


As is is clear that the pipe character holds special meaning in this situation, I would suggest using a substitute in your page title markup, such as the light vertical bar ❘ (&#10072, U+2758), or the double vertical line ‖ (&#8214, U+2016).


Admittedly, this one is only a slight bit off my understanding of how Google uses branding and pipes. For example:

Americas finest widget manufacturer. | WidgetCo.com

Americas finest widget manufacturer. | Brass widgets | WidgetCo.com

Should normally yield:

WidgetCo: Americas finest widget manufacturer.

WidgetCo: Americas finest widget manufacturer. | Brass widgets

...assuming that enough branding signals are in place to recognize that WidgetCo is a brand or company name.

Your use of My | Company | Inc does not make sense to me and I am assuming that Google's branding algorithm is not understanding it. Google is seeing Company | Inc as your brand evidenced as Company | Inc:. You would be better off with *page title* | My Company Inc.

Pipes are special in that they are to signal keyword phrase groups. Normally, you would use them to signify that a keyword group is to be taken as a whole such as my Brass widgets example.

  • Thanks for the response and I agree, using pipes as part of the brand name doesn't make sense to me either. But that's just how the management team decided to spell it and how the company name has been branded since it's inception. Was hoping to find a way to stop google from doing this altogether since it's the only search engine that does. Also, changing it just for google will not only misrepresent the brand, but will do so in every browser. Not ideal.
    – kdub
    Jul 21, 2015 at 13:58
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    I would argue that the way the company has chosen to identify themselves is damaging search and for the life of me I cannot see why anyone would insist on having pipes in the middle of the name. It is one thing to represent something in print as an identity, however, the Internet is another thing altogether. You cannot always have what you want and it is not so important to insist on pipes in the company name that it should trump results. After-all business is about business and not about ego. It is about what works and results. Pipes in the title like this does not work- clearly.
    – closetnoc
    Jul 21, 2015 at 14:06
  • You're preaching to the choir as I agree with everything you said and actually have already made that argument to the team. Unfortunately, they're pretty insistent and I just do what I'm told. Thanks for your insight.
    – kdub
    Jul 21, 2015 at 14:25
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    I know I am preaching to the choir... I know that you are are in sync. You may want to take the tact that it is damaging search for the brand. After all, who is going to search for the company with pipes?? Seriously? Google is not likely to make the match well. You have my empathy my friend! I have been there too. I think we all have at some point. Sometimes it is best just to inform them and then let it go for your sake. They will figure it out eventually. Late of course. ;-)
    – closetnoc
    Jul 21, 2015 at 14:40

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