Google has been testing a new design for search results over the past few weeks and it appears that this new design will stay with us as it is being rolled out across more search results over the past week. This move allows Google to “improve consistency in design across platforms (desktop, mobile and tablet) and make it easier for (Google) to develop and ship improvements across the board.”
The biggest change that users will notice is the update to the formatting and font for search results. Gone is the underlining that Google users have become accustomed to over the years. Additionally, Google has changed the font for title tags making the title tags larger in turn reducing the maximum length of a title tag.
For instance, title tags that were optimized for 70 characters may now find themselves truncated. Truncated Titles can lead to reduced click-throughs to your site and might make Google re-write your title tag to provide a better user experience. This could also hurt your ability to rank for targeted keyword phrases.
Optimally, a website should follow three basic best-practices when constructing title tags:
- Length: With the new search results, title tags should not exceed 56–64 characters. This length is dependent on the pixel width of characters in the title tag. For instance, the letter “I” is constructed with fewer pixels than the letter “W” and this creates variability in the title length.
Additionally, because capital letters are wider than lowercase letters in terms of pixels, the length of your title tag will be even shorter with ALL CAPS. Capital letters should be used sparingly as this affects both the length of your title tag and click-throughs.
Also, the length of your title tag is affected by the search query used because Google bolds the keywords used in the query. By bolding the keyword, more pixels are used which could put the title tag over the maximum pixel length.
- Use of Keywords: Optimally, it is best to have your keywords towards the front of the title tag as it will be more helpful for users. Additionally, it is also best to keep user experience in mind while drafting title tags.
- Brand Your Title Tag: The best practice is to have your brand in your title tag towards the end of the title tag.
With the recent change to the length of title tags, it may be necessary to rewrite some title tags on a website to maintain their optimal visibility.