Google Updates Site Names Guidance

Google choosing incorrect site names have been a persistent issue the past months. To help address this, they have released additional guidelines for site names
Marie Aquino
July 29, 2023

Google has first introduced the site name feature last October 2022 for Mobile, and added support for Desktop last March. In May, they also added support for subdomains on mobile devices for English, French, German, and Japanese. In a blog post, they have announced that they are now supporting subdomains on all devices in these four languages.

The past months, there have been issues with Google choosing the wrong site name to display for sites in the search results. They have released a workaround that has solved a couple of the issues reported, however, some have reported that they still continue to encounter issues.

Google has now added more guidance in their documentation for site names, to help the search engine determine the correct site names to display in the search results. They have updated their site name guidance on how the site name system works and what to do in the preferred site name is not selected.

According to Google, the generation of site name in the search results is completely automated and they take into account the content from a site’s home page and references to it that appear on the web. Their goal for the site name is to best represent and describe the source of the result.

The best way to indicate a preferred site name is to make use of the WebSite structured data. Aside from the WebSite structure data, the system will also consider content in og:site_name<title>, heading elements, and other text on a home page. However, WebSite structured data is the most important area.

What to do if your preferred site name isn’t selected?

Google has added additional guidance on what to do if your chosen site name is not displayed. These are the workarounds:

  • First, try providing an alternative name using the alternateName property. If our site name system isn’t confident enough to use your preferred name, it strongly considers this option.
  • Provide your domain or subdomain name as a backup option. To provide your domain or subdomain as a backup option, add your domain or subdomain name as your alternative name. Your domain or subdomain needs to be in all lowercase (for example, not for our system to detect this as a site name preference. Our system will strongly consider using it if your preferred name isn’t selected.
  • If 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. If you provide your domain or subdomain name as your preferred name, our system will generally select that (but we recommend only doing this as a last resort

The documentation provides particular examples on the structured data to use to help Google determine the correct site names. Read more about it at

Hopefully, with these workarounds, the persistent issues with site names will finally be resolved. Read more about the updates at in this Search Central blog post.