Controlling the way your results are displayed in Google may seem like an academic subject, but it’s important. It can make a huge difference to the clickthroughs you get from Google, which – down the line – will affect your company’s sales. As simple as that. Companies can throw a lot of money at “SEO” (often not knowing what that really involves), without realising that perhaps the single most important element of SEO may be getting the titles and descriptions looking good – and that’s something which is easy to manage, in-house.
Even the best-reading titles and descriptions can be ruined, however, if they get cut off by Google. So it’s important, when you’re writing them, to know how many words you can use. There’s now new data available on that, following the introduction of Google’s recent redesign.
In the past, analysts have recommended that you “count characters”, and have suggested around 60 characters is the upper limit for titles, and 160 characters for the description. However, Google is now using a fixed-width box, and things get much more complicated, because the number of characters which fit in the invisible box depends on which characters you’re using: “W”s, for example, are much wider than “i”s.
This might sound impossible to calculate, and I’m not even going to tell you what the pixel limits are here, because none of us can count them by hand. Fortunately, some folks who like data crunching have come to the rescue. Firstly, they’ve worked out how many pixels we’ve got in which to fit our titles and descriptions. Then they’ve developed tools we can use to test things against this pixel limit.
I can understand companies agonising for hours over a print advertisement headline, even though it might only be seen by a few hundred people, and be history after a couple of weeks. But it doesn’t make sense if you don’t spend at least as long on a web page title, which may be seen (in the Google results) by tens of thousands more people, for years to come. You need to audit the titles and descriptions on all of your web pages, and you need to keep on top of them.
Those readers who use BMON for their Google AdWords campaigns can always ask us for a complete titles and descriptions analysis – we’re happy to provide these, free, at any time.
Page Title & Meta Description By Pixel Width In SERP Snippet (Screaming Frog)
New Title Tag Guidelines and Preview Tool (The Moz Blog)