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.
This article presents the notes from an SMX Advance panel about micro data and rich snippets. There is a lot of good information in the article and I have selected a few points I thought were particularly interesting. First, when multiple types of mark up are included, such as author, rating, product information etc Google will display different types of rich snippets based on the keyword being search for. Second, when author markup is used and a reader goes to the link and then hits the back button a “more by” type box shows up in the SERP. And third, bread crumbs are a possible rich snippet options, which opens up opportunities for purely informational articles that don’t easily lend themselves to other types of rich snippets.
This article breaks down an example of results based on a search with local included. It looks at how the organic results are mixed in with the local results. In this particular example 3 of the local results would have ranked organically on the first page if there was no local consideration. One of these would have been number 9 on the page so it got a jump up in the rankings. This is useful information as it shows how ranking locally if possible can give a jump up in the ranking when stuck in the general organic results.
This is a short article showing how some companies are starting to see company pictures in SERPS. The two examples given are Progressive, which does not use rel=author but has a strong G+ presence and PEA.com which does use rel=author and is starting to use G+. The information here is not conclusive but is a sign of what may be coming soon.
This article explains the different types of rich snippets and how to include the information needed to make them appear in searches. This is valuable because it distinguishes the result when it is listed in the SERPs. The possible types of rich snippets are:
- Reviews and Ratings
This post covers a test Google is running which will display rich snippets with images for articles in the organic search results. While this is not truly official yet it was confirmed as a test by Google and is a likely direction for the SERPs to move in. Choosing eye catching, relevant pictures is important, both to improve user experience and for when and if the rich article snippets go live.
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.