Title Tags After Google’s SERP Update

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http://moz.com/blog/new-title-tag-guidelines-preview-tool

Google recently made some changes to the layout of their results pages.  Titles now appear at a bigger font and without underlines.  Beyond just changing the look of the SERPs this has also affected out Google handles titles tags slightly.  According to research posted on Moz, the safest number of characters to keep your titles from being cut off is now 55.  This number is somewhat arbitrary as the actual length is determined by pixels, not characters.  The bolding which shows the search query in the titles also eats into the allowed pixel width. 55 characters seems to provide the best balance between safe title length and enough space to write a good title.  The linked to article also includes a tool to see what any given title might look like in search results.

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Google Satisfaction Survey

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http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2013/06/introducing-website-satisfaction-by_27.html

This is an announcement about the website satisfaction surveys that Google is now offering.  A small line of code is added to a site which makes a survey button appear at the bottom of the page.  This survey asks 4 questions, collects 500 responses and then goes dormant for 30 days.  This allows a webmaster to get an idea of how well people like the website and see the difference that changes make.

While user surveys are nothing new Google offering them directly is very convenient.  This tool is free of $0.01 for each response if the questions are customized.

Disavow Tool and Penguin

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http://moz.com/blog/google-disavow-tool

This article covers an experiment and research into how Google’s Disavow Tool works.  The author disavowed all links to his site in order to see what affect it would have.  Initially there was no change until the Penguin update was released.  Based on this and information from other SEOs they came to the conclusion that the Disavow Tool takes affect either when a reconsideration request is filed or when there is a data refresh.

The article suggests that disavow can be used to help recover from Penguin 2.0 but it should not be the first option.  Disavowing can have negative consequences so it is important to try other routes first.  Identifying and removing as many bad links as possible should be done before attempting to disavow links.  If that does not get results disavow can be looked at as an option.  It is also important to document the link information for all links that are being submitted to disavow and make sure that everything is formatted correctly.  The article has step by step instructions for dealing with bad links.

Title Tag by Pixels

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http://www.standingdog.com/blog/measure-title-tag-length-in-pixels-not-characters-for-search-engine-optimization/

This article discusses how Google is now using pixels to determine how much of the title tag to show in search results rather than number of characters.  It’s includes the results from their tests as well as a tool for measuring pixel length of an entered title.  Based on their results the maximum length of a title tag seems to be about 500px.