In the “old” days, merchants who optimized the title tags on their web pages could do so knowing they have a very specific amount of characters available to them. Those days are now over.
If you are wondering what a title tag is, it is the element of your webpage that defines the tile of the document. This is what tells Google (and the other search engines) exactly what your page is about. While most visitors to your site pay little attention to the content in the tabs or at the top of their web browser, this title tag info is critically important for Search Engine Optimization. Most SEO experts feel that the title tag is the most important “on screen” factor for your pages to rank well, besides the page content itself.
Google recently redesigned how search results appear. While the results may not look much different to a casual browser, for merchants who need to optimize their content, this presents a challenge. Instead of optimizing title tags around character counts, merchants need to understand that Google now displays 512 pixels of title tag information. That sounds easy enough, but is it?
For example, narrow letters take up less pixels than wider letters. ALL CAPS use more pixels. Google matches a customer’s search query with your title tag in bold, so that affects pixel usage. To make it even more difficult, if your title tag gets truncated because it is too long, Google will insert … into the title so that further reduces the space you have.
Wow, this now sounds complicated and it is making my hair hurt. How do I solve this issue and know how much space I have for my titles? Thankfully a lot of research has already been done on this topic and if you limit your title tags to 53 to 55 characters you can be highly confident that they will fully display the vast majority of the time. You can see specific data as to where these numbers came from, as well as a fantastic preview tool in this Moz Blog article written by Dr. Peter J Meyers.
If you are using Nexternal’s eCommerce system and wish to revisit your title tags, simply edit a product and you will see the Title Tag field in the Search Engine Options on the second product page. In your categories section, edit a category (don’t forget about your category pages as well) and you will see the Title Tag field in the Search Engine Options at the bottom of the first page.
While Google has thrown merchants for a loop with their display update, it is easy to adjust your content and get back to selling.