I’ve noticed that Google has been forcing website titles in search results for certain terms and have done some digging to find out more information on the subject.
One that is relevant to my industry is “Bay Area Website Design”. In the shown screenshot three out of four companies that have a
CompanyName: Services Provided title syntax have had that title picked for them by Google. All three of those companies are, conversely, using the
Service Provided - Company Name syntax.
Conversely, the top ranking result does not provide a company name in his <title> syntax and those results remain unaltered. Furthermore, a result which ranks for this search term with a sub-page, rather than home-page, also does not have the displayed title altered by Google.
The reason for this is explained in this webmasters help page and summarized below:
We use a number of different sources for this information, including descriptive information in the title and meta tags for each page. We may also use publicly available information—for instance, anchor text or listings from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ)—or create rich snippets based on markup on the page.