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Title Tag Length In Google


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10 replies to this topic

#1 ttw

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:26 PM

I've always worked under the assumption that Google displays 70 characters of your title tag in the SERPs. (and 65/66 for PDFs)

My team has been writing 70 character title tags for a client's website but something odd is happening;

First, the client's CMS system is tagging on a pipe and then company name to the end of every tag like this: l Your Company (this far exceeds the 70 character that will display)
I wouldn't have thought there was a problem because it just wouldn't display.

But now Google is truncating the title (which is no surprise) and is only displaying anywhere from 60 - 65 characters and then they add the < ... > to show that there's more text.
Even with the dots at the end of the tag, Google is still displaying far fewer than 70 characters.

I've already told the client that it is not necessary to include the company name at the end of every title tag.

Are you folks seeing a change in the number of characters Google is displaying?

Thanks very much!

#2 Jill

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 01:49 PM

Google has been changing what they display for page titles in the SERP for quite some time now. It's query dependent.

So when you search using one keyword phrase you may see the Title you provided, and when you search using another, you may find that Google has changed it to something they feel is more relevant to the search query.



#3 bobmeetin

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 05:31 PM

Disclaimer - anything Jill says trumps anything I say!!!

A few years ago, 2008, I ran some tests. I found that Google and I think Yahoo would display up to 70 characters as title. It had to be a clean break for the last word to display meaning that if your 65th or so character started a long word, it would truncate and you would see the ... thing.

But the other thing I found was that although Google would only display a maximum of 70 characters it would index up to 95. So you got a little hidden bonus.

In doing these tests I set up pages with titles exactly 70 and 95 characters in length and some longer just to validate the results.

You mentioned your CMS adding in a pipe (|) and the business name. This will vary from CMS to CMS but many have some parameters defined somewhere in administration where you can change this stuff. If you don't want to waste space with the business name you can disable it.

If you can't find that in the admin panel then you need to find and edit some configuration files where this stuff gets compiled. You can do this with Jooma, my CMS of choice, and probably the others. It takes some digging.

#4 chrishirst

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 05:36 AM

Joomla! 2.5 now has this in the global config settings. There is a select box labelled "Include Site Name in Page Titles" with options of [After | Before | No], whereas with versions previous to 1.5.26 it was a case of editing the default template documents and maybe the current "in use" template as well.
I am assuming that the short lived 1.6 & 1.7 releases had this select option too, as they had the same core structure as 2.5 does.

Edited by chrishirst, 11 August 2012 - 05:37 AM.


#5 bobmeetin

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:17 PM

Yeah, in 1.5 it was stickier. You had to do it in config files that built up the document <head></head>. I never even transitioned a site to 1.6 or 1.7. Waiting on decisions and whether extensions and themes would be transitioned for something so ephemeral seemed pointless.

#6 torka

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:32 AM

If the business is a brand or otherwise well-known, removing the business name from the titles could actually be harmful. The company I work for is a brand, and the majority of our searches are brand-related. The way I see it, those are people who know who we are and may already be inclined to buy what we offer.

As bobmeetin mentioned, what the search engines display and what they index are two different things. Just because something doesn't display, that doesn't mean it's useless and should be removed. Before you change anything, take a look at the search terms that bring the client converting traffic. If a lot of them include that company name, removing it could be a big mistake.

There have even been some studies that show in some circumstances, some people are more inclined to click through when the title ends with an ellipsis (the "..." thing) because it piques their curiosity. They are compelled to see what comes next. Since it's a CMS and the whole thing relies on what the search engines display, I don't know of any easy way to test this. If you do decide to remove the additional text, be sure to monitor traffic and conversions and be prepared to put it back if it looks like removing it had a negative effect.

And, of course, as Jill pointed out, sometimes it doesn't matter how carefully crafted your titles are. Google may well decide to display something else entirely if in their infinite wisdom they decide you picked the wrong phrase to describe your client's page.

-- Torka :propeller:
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#7 chrishirst

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:11 AM

And some of of the 86 updates in June and July, snippets and titles are some of the things targeted for improvement.

#8 ttw

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:51 PM

If the business is a brand or otherwise well-known, removing the business name from the titles could actually be harmful. The company I work for is a brand, and the majority of our searches are brand-related. The way I see it, those are people who know who we are and may already be inclined to buy what we offer.

As bobmeetin mentioned, what the search engines display and what they index are two different things. Just because something doesn't display, that doesn't mean it's useless and should be removed. Before you change anything, take a look at the search terms that bring the client converting traffic. If a lot of them include that company name, removing it could be a big mistake.

There have even been some studies that show in some circumstances, some people are more inclined to click through when the title ends with an ellipsis (the "..." thing) because it piques their curiosity. They are compelled to see what comes next. Since it's a CMS and the whole thing relies on what the search engines display, I don't know of any easy way to test this. If you do decide to remove the additional text, be sure to monitor traffic and conversions and be prepared to put it back if it looks like removing it had a negative effect.

And, of course, as Jill pointed out, sometimes it doesn't matter how carefully crafted your titles are. Google may well decide to display something else entirely if in their infinite wisdom they decide you picked the wrong phrase to describe your client's page.


Every companys' analytics that I see shows the company name - or variations of - as the top keywords driving traffic whether the company name is in the title or not.

I don't see the value of repeating a company name on every internal page - even at the end of the title tag. (whether the company is well know or not)

#9 bobmeetin

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:41 PM

If your company is branded and folks have the name at their fingertips then they're already somewhat circumventing the method of searching by key phrase. If a key phrase is part of the name then it is important and I'd include it on relevant pages. If you haven't burned up your character limits with vitals include it. Those first 70 (or 95) characters are prime real estate which should be used wisely.

#10 bobmeetin

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:15 PM

Google (and Yahoo) will display up to 70 characters of a page title (or with some truncation) although they will index up to 95. I've been making use of that hidden real estate for several years. In those extra 25 characters I commonly put text that I want indexed but does not need to display in the search results. 

 

So here's a slightly new twist on this question. Is what I'm doing a good use of the title?  Is there any harm? 

 

I just did a google on page title length and got a bunch of results back talking to best practices, standards, etc. Most don't even mention that more than 70 characters can be indexed. They talk about the makeup of title.  I see recommendations, standards, best practices suggesting 64 - 70 characters.

 

Many SEO companies will accept that and not dig into the extra 25, perhaps not even know of it.  Is there any evidence to support that adhering to the so-called 64 - 70 practice will improve the bottom-line? 


Edited by bobmeetin, 15 March 2013 - 12:16 PM.


#11 Jill

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:45 PM

Bob, please see this more up-to-date conversation on Title tag length.






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