In recent months you may have noticed some changes in the display of your Google Search results pages, including an increase in font size and in some cases your search query displaying seven listings rather than the previous ten.
These changes are all to adapt to the new Internet era; the rise of mobile. In the next few years, Google plan to implement a series of changes, adding more colour, information targeted data, and key sections that we have never seen before.
So how can you adjust to these new changes to ensure your website is seen?
In this blog series Emma Kavanagh our Digital Media Consultant will outline the recent changes and how they may impact your website, starting with ‘Title tags’.
One of the major changes we are seeing is a difference in how your website’s Title tags now appear in search results.
Google is aiming to make the Search Results Page or SERP for short, cleaner and easier to read so have increased the font size from 16px to 18px and removed underlining.
This this great news for users and all looks great, but it does mean a bit of work for website owners/managers who need to adjust their website to adapt to these new changes ensuring that their Title Tags are fully optimised.
So what is a Title Tag and why do you need to worry about it?
Title tags, also called Meta Tags or Title Elements define the title of the individual page or article on a website. They have long been considered one of the most important Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) elements.
When a user searches for something within a search engine it is the Title Tag (highlighted in red below) that appears in blue at the top of each search result.
Ensuring that these titles are optimised will increase your chances in attracting visitors to your website. By making sure these titles are accurate and clear you are telling Google exactly what that page or article is about increasing your changes of your website appearing in search results and in turn increasing the likelihood of your result being clicked on.
This Title Tag should communicate a clear, accurate and concise description of what that page is about. Title tags that do this earn a higher click-through rate driving more traffic to your website. More traffic … more visitors … more customers and that is what everyone wants!
There are some best practise tips we advise all our clients here at OSD Digital Agency to follow when optimising their Title Tags. Since Google’s recent changes we have updated our Basic Best Practice Tips for Title Tags:
- Ensure that your Title tags are under 512 pixels in width, generally this means 55 to 60 characters in length.
- 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 i.e. that they make sense, are clear and accurate.
- 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 with no duplication
- Avoid stuffing keywords, Google can penalise websites for this. It is important to include key search words or terms however ensure that they are relevant to the content and make sense. The key to consider your ideal visitor first, what terms they are likely to search for and how you can optimise your title to encourage them to click on your result.
So should you change all your Title Tags?
So the big question is having optimised your Title tags should you now go back and reduce all your title tags on every page across your website to 55 characters in length?
I hear ya! We know that most business owners are time poor and unless you have a dedicated digital manager, investing time in re-optimising your title tags can be difficult.
However the good news is from the research I’ve read and from my own searches in many cases if you have already well optimised title tags the change should not have affected your rankings.
However we would strongly recommend revising core pages on your website. I would recommend starting with reviewing the search results for your target keywords and making sure your Titles look the way you want them to and adjusting were needed.
As outlined by Dr Meyers on The Moz Blog “Use your judgment, and keep the guideline in mind for future SEO efforts, but don’t start hacking at characters. Google could change the rules again.”
So watch this Space!