From the past few weeks, Google has been doing testing a major change to the left hand column, expanding containers from 512 pixels to 600 (a 17% increase). Google has also increased the length of the result titles:
Does it mean the length of the title tag can be increased? Well there are so many parameters linked to it :
(1) Character Widths Vary
Arial font is used by Google for the result titles and this font is proportional. It means that different characters will occupy different amount of space. A lower case “i” is going to occupy much less space as compared to upper case “W”. As we all know, Google measures the total width in pixels and not characters.
This title has 14 i’s and lowercase l’s, 10 lowercase t’s, and 3 narrow punctuation marks, creating a character count of 77 characters.
(2) Titles Break at Whole Words
Google used to break words at the cut-off points. Now, it appears that they are breaking titles at whole words. The remaining length might become considerably shorter if the cut happens in the middle of a long word. For example, here’s a word that’s just not going to fit into your display title twice.
(3) Google is Appending Brands :
Sometime Google is cutting of the titles and and is appending brands at the end. This auto – appeneded brand text still occupies space and counts.
The brand text “- The Homestead” was appended by Google and is not part of the sites <TITLE> tag. The next word in the title was “Accommodations”, so the combination of the brand add-on and long word made for a very truncated title.
In some cases, Google is cutting off titles and then appending the brand to the end. Unfortunately, this auto-appended brand text still occupies space.
As Google keeps on evolving and adapts to a wider range of devices, we can expect them to continue to adjust and test display titles. They are also currently testing a new, card-style format for desktop SERPs where each result is boxed and looks like this :
As Google keeps on evolving and adapts to a wider range of devices, we can expect them to continue to adjust and test display titles. They are also currently testing a new, card-style format for desktop SERPs where each result is boxed and looks like this:
No one is entirely sure for now that the current change is permanent. The narrower format is still appearing for some people under some conditions. If this design sticks, then it would be better to keep your title length under 60 characters will prevent the majority of cut-offs.