Over the last few weeks, Google has been looking into changing the width of the left-hand column. Reports said that the tech giant is conducting some tests to expand containers from 512 pixels to 600 pixels. Google has also increased the length of result titles appearing on SERPs. Because of this update, marketers and website owners are wondering if they can now fit more characters into the title tag.
For those who are still unfamiliar with title tags and do not know how important they are, a title tag is basically an HTML title element that provides a brief description of the topic and theme of an online document like a web page. It is displayed in two important places: the top bar of internet browsers and in search result pages.
When Google redesigned SERPs in 2014, experts suggest limiting your title tags to a maximum of 55 characters. But since Google is working on a container that is 17% bigger, does it mean that marketers have nine more characters to add to their title tags?
According to Dr Peter J. Meyers of Moz.com, you might want to take some time to think about adding those extra nine characters to your title tag before actually doing it. Here’s why.
1. There are variations in character widths
Different characters occupy different amounts of space on Google SERPs. For example, a lowercase “I” is going to occupy less space than an uppercase “W.” This basically means that there’s still a risk that your title tag won’t fit even if they have the correct number of characters. Since the total width is measured in pixels and not in characters, the maximum amount of characters you can fit in that space will ultimately depend on what you want to say.
2. The titles break at whole words
Before the recent update, Google was breaking words wherever the cut-off occurs. Now, the tech giant is breaking title at whole words. For instance, if the title is cut in the middle, the remaining length could be significantly shorter. As a result, if you’re using a long word in your title tag, you might not be able to fit it into the display title twice.
3. Google is appending brands
Here’s another reason why Dr Meyers think adding those extra nine characters to your title tags might not be a good idea. According to him, Google is cutting off titles and then appending the brand to the end. For example: “Cheap Cars for Sale | Sydney, NSW… – Your Brand Name.” Unfortunately, this occurs automatically.
So what you should do? Whether Google’s update is permanent or not, Dr Meyers suggests keeping your title tags to below 60 characters to prevent them from looking truncated and without sense.