Over the past six months, Google had been testing using pixel width to determine title lengths on their SERPs. Three months ago Google pushed this new feature live and now titles can only be 512 pixels before you get everyone’s favorite “…”. These three little periods are the nemesis of SEO’s everywhere as it further limits our ability to target long tail terms, while maintaining branding in titles. This isn’t a terrible change, but we’ll be dropping branding from many of our partners title tags on service, product, and/or article pages.
Want To Check Your Titles?
Luckily for us there are already two fantastic tools out there for testing. If you’ve already added in your titles then we recommend using ScreamingFrog as it will scrape your live site and tell you pixel counts for up to 500 pages for free. If you are doing some title research and want to know if you’re going to get that nasty ellipsis then I recommend using Moz’s Title Tag Preview Tool. Both will help you to get more clicks and keep those titles clean.
Controversial – Drop Your Branding
Common practice for title tag optimization has been to target two keywords and follow with your branding: KEYWORD | KEYWORD | BRAND. With these new restrictions we’ll be continuing a strategy we had already been deploying: drop branding whenever we don’t have enough space. We do this for two main reason.
- You are going to rank for you brand name so you don’t need it. This is a no brainer unless you’re committing some sort of copyright infringement and need help ranking for your business name.
- Most people won’t know your brand anyways. One of the greatest benefit of search engine marketing and search engine optimization is you get in front of potential customers that are looking for your products or services, but don’t know you yet. So what will having your branding at the end of your title do? Nothing.
Save Room For Your Optimized Titles
Now that we’ve got rid of your branding, we still need to do more so we can target those long tail searches marketers love talking about. We are switching all our partners over from the standard – to break up keywords to the | as it will save another couple of pixels. Now excessive capitalization isn’t something that we do, but another way to save pixels is to use CAPITALIZATION sparingly. We’re building a site for an interior designer in Boston that uses all capitals in their titles. We’re updating this in their new site as we wouldn’t have been able to target the keywords we wanted if we had to deal with even fewer pixels.
Google’s title update isn’t the end of the world, but it definitely makes SEOs squirm, more than normal, when completing keyword research projects.