By now you’ve probably noticed a subtle change to your Google search results. No longer are your title tags underlined. Instead, the text size has been increased to help it stand out from the snippet text.
So, no big deal right?
Unless of course, your copywriter has written custom title tags adhering to the previous character limits, which were generally capped at 70 characters including spaces and punctuation.
What the new display format means for you
The larger font size means that the meta title tag is now much shorter – so you have far less room to convey your message.
Prior to the new look, you were usually safe with 70 characters, provided you used sentence case. If you used all caps, it reduced your message to around 55 characters.
Now you might be safe with a title tag 60-65 characters in length, but this largely depends on the width of certain characters and the use of CAPS. Your message may now cut off at 48 characters (or less!)
Here’s a demonstration of the same title tag diplayed in the old format and the new, as well as the difference between sentence case or all caps.
How you can check your title tags
In my post What is a meta tag? (And what you need to know about them), I recommended the SEOmofo SERP Snippet Optimization Tool to check the length of your title tags. At this stage, the tool has not yet been updated to take the new layout into account.
But I have found an alternative!
The Moz Blog has developed a quick preview tool to help you check what your title tags will look like with Google’s new formatting – although they do advise this is a guide only.
Definitely one to bookmark for now.
The final word
While Google still pay attention to the keywords which may have been cut off in longer titles, your title tag plays an important role in persuading prospective customers to visit your site. If your full tag is no longer displaying, your message may be losing its impact.
The best course of action is to ensure your title tags are short and sharp, and contain your main keyword or phrase. Consider the most important information you need to convey and don’t be tempted to add more than you need to.
Got questions? Feel free to get in touch, or come and join the conversation on Facebook.