After Google’s recent changes, new best practices for title tags have come into vogue. Google increased the font size from 16px to 18px and removed underlining. As a result, the SERPs appear cleaner and easier to read. At the same time, increasing the font size reduced the number of characters that appear before truncation.
For years, the most common advice was to keep title tags less than 70 characters. After this year’s change, most articles tell you to keep your tag under a width of 512 pixels (55 to 60 characters).
Did the way Google truncates suddenly change from characters to pixels? No. It’s always been pixels. Google search results use the proportional Arial font. This means thin characters, like 1 or I, consume less space than fat characters like 5 or M. The character count was an easy-to-understand convention. The new character count suggestion is 55 to 60 characters.
Here are the basic best practices for title tags:
- Under 512 pixels in width, generally 55 to 60 characters
- Place keywords as close to the beginning as possible; the closer a word to the start of the tag, the more influence it exerts
- Make title tags readable
- If you include a brand in the title tags, place it at the end unless it is a well-known brand people seek out
- Make each title unique
- Avoid stuffing keywords
Another recommendation, for Site Links, is that the title should form a complete message before Google cuts it off with an ellipsis mark. Title tags that communicate a clear, coherent thought earn a higher click-through rate.