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Go Long: Google Search Results Get A Facelift

Services: Law Firm Website Design . SEO . Internet Marketing . Law Firm Marketing Guide . Content Marketing . PPC

Ostersund, Sweden - August 28, 2011: Close up of Google search page on a computer screen. Google is the most popular search engine in the world

A title tag is an important part of any successful web page. The title tag, which should succinctly and successfully identify the page content, is displayed on the Google search result pages. It’s a helpful way to let users see what your page is about before they click through to the page.

In the past, length requirements for title tags have cut off tags that exceed 55-60 characters, adding an ellipsis in their place. The limited character count forced writers to be concise, or risk having an ellipsis cut off the sentence. But, restriction often breeds creativity, and so the world adapted to Google’s requirements, or suffered from titles tags that underperformed or ranked low in search results. But last month, Google announced some big changes that may change the game for search engine optimization marketers (especially title tag writers).

Quantity Over Concision

The changes to Google’s search results page include increasing the search results column from 500-600 pixels and title tag length to 70 characters. Although this might sound small, it is a pretty big deal. So what does it all mean?

The wider column means that search results might actually be moved higher up on the search results pages, bringing formerly ‘page 2’ content on to the coveted ‘page 1.’ As for the title tags, longer length means more room to capture your audience before they scroll down to the next option.

Featured Snippets, AdWords, and local map packs have also been impacted by the wider column, showing increased width but a consistent amount of content. Talk about an overhaul!

At this point, you’re probably itching to go spruce up your title tags, right? Hold your horses… 

We are Still Recommending 50–60 Characters  

Although all of these changes are pretty exciting, we’re not jumping on the bandwagon just yet. For the time being, we recommend keeping title tags between 50 and 60 characters, until we are more certain that this change will be permanent.

Google could reverse this change at any time, leaving you high and dry with newly changed title tags that are just too long. So let’s give it a moment, and see how this plays out.


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