You’ve probably noticed Google implemented a redesign of its search results pages recently.
Jon Wiley, the lead designer for Google search, posted in Google+ that:
We’ve increased the size of result titles, removed the underlines, and evened out all the line heights. This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look. We’ve also brought over our new ad labels from mobile, making the multi-device experience more consistent.
If you look closely you’ll also see a faint grey line beneath the sections of results. In the example above, beneath the ads at the top and below the first three organic search results: maybe the first move towards the card-like look of Google+ and Google Now.
In bringing over the new ‘Ad’ labels, Google adwords results no longer have a shaded background, separating them from the organic results, and the little subtitle that used to display at the top of the shaded block – ‘Ads related to [keyword]’ – has also gone.
These factors tend to break down the separation between ads and organic search results – a reflection of Google’s policy of taking into account the quality of the destination landing page as a factor in determining which ads rank highest in the ‘ad auction’ for particular keywords. See more on this in Adwords Essentials.
Shorter page titles
The larger typeface and removal of underlines creates a cleaner and clearer look.for the page titles and the results page as a whole.
However, increasing the font size does mean that long titles (for example, of 70 characters) will no longer fit; they are cut short with a trailing ellipsis – see the example above.
Due to the different widths of letters there is no definitive cut-off point below which you can be certain your title will be displayed in full. However, if you keep your title to 55 characters or less, and not all caps, it will almost certainly be displayed in full. Well, 95.8% likely likely if the analysts I’ve read are correct.
If you want to be more certain how your page title will display in Google search results, there’s a useful tool at moz.com where you can test it out.
The page description, incidentally, gets cut off after roughly 160 characters.