Today I did a search for one of my clients using only his company name and I noticed that the title tag that Google was using was not the one on the clients site.
However, when searching a query that is not related to the company name, the title is displayed as it is on the company page (the correct title).
Why would Google shorten the titles?
My guess is that Google is once again improving its quality in the search results. Most companies do not even put their company name in their title as it wastes valuable space for a nice descriptive title. Google has noticed this trend and adjusted their algorithm to ensure that the user finds the company they are searching for.
How did I test this algorithm change?
I was a little sceptical at first and thought that maybe there was something wrong with my sites title meta-tags. So I searched for the company name of other clients and brands and compared the title to the landing page title and sure enough. The titles have been shortened by Google.
Google is trying to make things easier for the searcher and making sure that the searcher is getting what they are looking for. This change does not yet affect all sites but I have noticed it on a number of sites so far.