After much speculation as to whether or not the extended length of search snippet titles and descriptions is a test or a permanent change, we finally got confirmation from Google’s John Mueller. On Twitter today Mueller answered a question about this very subject, saying that the extended length of titles and descriptions and search results is just a test at this point in time.
@JulianMHoffmann @methode We’re always experimenting, so I’d have a tough time saying “new” to any particular change.
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) May 24, 2016
Many searchers have been noticing the longer titles and descriptions in the SERPs, which has rightfully led to confusion amongst SEOs as to what length they should base their page titles and descriptions on going forward.
Considering the fact that this is just an experiment at the moment, it would be wise to stick to the same length of titles and descriptions you have been up until now. For reference, that would be 50-60 characters for the title, and between 150-160 characters for the description.
If you read more into Mueller’s response, it’s possible to arrive at the conclusion that the new card-based interface which many searchers have been seeing is also just an experiment right now.
Until an official announcement comes out from Google, most of the time it’s safe to assume that any changes to search results are just a test. At the same time, if the test proves to be successful it could result in a permanent change, but history shows that you should wait for an announcement from the company before coming to any conclusions on your own.