Last month, Google began using a larger font, so you have less room for characters in your title tag before they start to cut off. This is going to affect a lot of websites who don’t notice that Google made the change, and it will affect a lot of software that detects and counts title tag characters.
Search Engine Land posted about this before it right when it first began happening, and gave us this pretty good example of how the message can change.
The title of this article went from “How to be Social” to “How to be So…” what? It’s a pretty dramatic difference…
What Should You Do?
Type site:yourdomain.com into Google to see what they are showing as your titles now. Scroll through page after page of results to see what is now being “cut off”, and then make the appropriate adjustments.
Then, besides examining your own title tags and those of your clients, don’t forget about your tools! Make sure that they’re reporting correctly, because some of them aren’t yet.
If you run our SEO review plug-in, either the pro version or the free version, you’ll need to adjust the advice that you’re giving yourself. We can change the advice for the new releases and new installs, but the original advice is written to recommend a 65 character title tag, and there’s nothing we can do to change that once it’s installed on your WordPress.
It’s up to you to go into the admin yourself, and edit the advice, to let your users know that the recommended character count has changed, so your advice is not outdated. Great SEO’s have to act quickly, and I noticed that my favorite software Screaming Frog changed immediately, but even as I write this, I can see that the advice being given by the Yoast SEO plug-in is still incorrect nearly a month after the change…
So What’s the New Count?
The allotted space for a title tag is actually based on pixels, and not a character count. For example, a W takes up more room than an I, so the “correct” count does vary. However, for my own purposes, where I used to recommend staying at about 65 characters, I’m now recommending 55 characters – and maybe less if you use a lot of W’s . You’d better go now, because you have work to do…