With increasingly complex and guided search engine results pages, the displayed title of organic listings is one of the most crucial elements in helping rankings and driving click-through-rate. Search Engine Roundtable regularly covers industry chatter about various aspects of the Page Title's importance, including recently and long ago about how titles can be adjusted by Google and other search engines.
A recent thread featured at Webmaster World Forums begins with a member asking most specifically about two nuances related to the page title: the ideal length and case sensitivity. Forum administrator Tedster leaped into the conversation, providing:
...characters in the title element are indexed well beyond the seventy or so that make it into the visible display. Sometimes, if the truncation point would hide a keyword in the query phrase, I've seen Google place a dieresis (...) in the middle of the title somewhere so there is room to display the important keyword.
The comments veer off towards the use of synonyms in place of targeted keywords, and Robert Charlton provides interesting insight into that subject. A quite educational spinoff comes when pageoneresults describes the idea of testing page title's likely effectiveness by using "phrase stacking."
Phrase Stacking - Read your page title(s) backwards. If you are using a hyphen as a separator, can you construct the title so there are phrases matched both forward and reverse? If not, move things around a little. For example, if you have two separators in the title, move the groups around to see if there is a better combination of forward and reverse matching.
Another poster provides a good example of this methodology later on in the post. In short, Page Title are in my opinion one of the top priority elements for search engine performance. Not only can proper keyword use and positioning help you rank, but with so little time available to get the attention of a searcher these days - it better speak to what they want!
Please share your thoughts in the growing discussion at Webmaster World Forums or in the comments below. By the way, as of the time I am writing this no one has touched the "case Sensitivity" topic yet... the only thing I would recommend is to avoid ALL CAPS unless it is a brand name that is always displayed that way. What are your thoughts?