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Title Tag Length


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18 replies to this topic

#1 Jill

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

Everywhere I have read that title tags should be no longer than 65 to 70 characters. Is this true?

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#2 Guest_Jhon06_*

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:53 AM

Less than 70 characters, since this is the limits Google displays in search results.

 

Title tag is displayed in search results.

 

Optimal Formatting

 

Primary keyword - Secondary keyword | Make a Brand name

 

Or

 

Make a Brand name | Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword

 

Browser does: -

Titles tags will appear in both top of your browser chrome and appropriate tabs.

 

Search for Result Pages: -

In title tags appear also in search engine result.

 

External web sites

Several times, external web sites (especially social media sites) will make use of the title of a webpage as a link anchor text.



#3 qwerty

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:03 AM

You and I aren't in complete agreement on this, Jill, but I would say that over the years I've been slowly moving a little closer to your position.

 

I've always felt that you have more control over click-throughs if you can make sure that your entire title appears on the SERP, and that means keeping it short enough that the search engine won't truncate it, especially if you're putting your branding at the end of the title. You want searchers to see that, so you can't have 80 characters in the title before you even get to it.

 

The count of words (not just characters) in the title has also seemed to make a difference in the past: it's not just that words near the beginning carry more weight, but I found that anything after the tenth word was indexed, but wasn't returned when you used the intitle operator. I don't think that's still true, however, and it may not have mattered. If a word is indexed, does it make a difference if Google doesn't bother including it in intitle results? Only SEOs use that operator. I just assumed that it was an indication that something more was going on. But like I said, I don't think it's true anymore.

 

Finally, there's the big change that took place last year: Google might rewrite your page's title for you, and I've seen that happen even on titles that are nice and short. It looks like they like the format [keyword phrase] - [company name]. I've seen one or two examples where the only change they made was to replace a pipe character with a hyphen, and perhaps even more strangely, I've seen a page where the title was [exact keyword phrase] | [company name] replaced by [slightly different keyword phrase] - [company name] in the results for a search on [exact keyword phrase]! Why on Earth would they do that?

 

But even with all that, I still think it's worth it to at least try to provide a title that has a chance at displaying in full on the SERP. If I can't keep it to 65 characters or less, it's not a big deal, but if I can, I usually do. The project I've been working on for the past few weeks is for a company with a pretty long name, If I write a title of [keyword] | [company name] and it's over 65 characters, I've been switching to an abbreviated version of the company name. I think it's an acceptable compromise, but we'll have to see what Google chooses to do with it.



#4 DocSheldon

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

Jill, some people seem to conflate what is indexed, what can appear in the SERPs and what might affect ranking.

I think most will agree that the 60-70 character range is a good target for SERP display considerations, although I agree that it's not strictly a character count that determines that. Some experiments indicate that it may be more pixel-driven, others that it may be wordcount driven. That raises some interesting possibilities, but I think that character count is probably the easiest, in most instances. Personally, I just try to ensure my main keyphrase and/or brand are included within that count, since none of us can be really certain.

However, I dont entirely discount any value in the 70+ position. Lesser perhaps, but not necessarily zero. I prefer to craft my titles primarily for the users, with relevance and CTR in mind. As you said in your post the other day in response to a question, as long as the title isn't keyword stuffed, there's really no issue.

 

Personally, I've seen no evidence that convinces me that either a 300 character title can affectrankings or that the last few characters of such a long title have no value whatsoever. Until I do, I see no reason to change my approach.



#5 StandingDog

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:03 PM

Myself and a couple of our SEO managers have spent a great deal of time/effort researching this subject, and wrote up a report yesterday (2-1-2013).

 

The premise of the report is this: Google truncates titles based on PIXELS rather than CHARACTERS.

 

Our SEO Director Bill Hartzer posted one of the many title tag tests: WAY MORE THAN 70 CHAR

 

This test was the largest in pixel size that we saw Google use (466 pixels) .

 

We built a pixel calculator, but to give you an idea on how to judge pixel size yourself is to understand that Google uses a 16pt Arial font in the titles of their organic search listings.

 

 

I know I'm a 1  post wonder so far, but if you'd like to view the full blog post (with 2-3 more real world examples) here's the link: Title Tag Length Tests

 

 

I look forward to working with the High Rankings Community!



#6 qwerty

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:44 PM

I've seen a number of articles about this recently, but this is the first test of it I'm aware of. It's pretty interesting, and I'm guessing it has a lot to do with limitations on the UX of the SERP because of the growth of search on mobile devices.

 

Of course, rather than giving you more options, I think it may over-complicate things when you try to take it beyond experimentation and actually make use of the conceptin an actual page title. Assuming you're trying to create a title that won't be truncated (if you're not, this won't matter at all), are you going to try to find words containing multiple i's that can be used in lieu of words with w's? You still have to go with the phrases that your keyword research indicate are valuable, no matter how wide the words in those phrases happen to be.

 

I suppose if you're starting a new company, you might want to try to come up with a name that uses narrower characters, not unlike the way people used to start company names with multiple A's back when a listing in the phone book was a big deal :)


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#7 bobmeetin

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:12 AM

Yes this is interesting.  Number of pixels.  Not that I'm from St. Louis which I'm not but I need to see this in action for myself.  I just added several pages with various titlle tag lengths in lower and UPPER case. In the lower case renditions I set up one page using mostly lower case "l" and "i".  In the UPPER CASE version I used mostly "M" and "W".

 

In email readers and similar if using a fixed width font, it all looks the same, but variable width would take up more space, pixel space.

 

This test talks to capacity, not best practice.  If there is a technical, genuine best practice, perhaps click-through, reason why short tags are good, then fine!  But it's still of value knowing how much real estate is indexed.

 

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...


Edited by bobmeetin, 19 March 2013 - 11:16 AM.


#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

People are way overthinking their page titles.


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#9 chrishirst

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:50 AM

People are way overthinking their page titles.

 

Nothing new there then :)


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#10 bobmeetin

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:14 AM

Undoubtedly, but some of us will never be at peace if we don't know.  I added a couple test pages to my website with really long title tags in both lower and UPPER case. The pages are now indexed. I visited google, enter the phrase, quoted

 

 

"MMMMMMMMMMWWWWWWWWWWMMMMMMMMMMWWWWWWWWWWMMMMMMMMMMWWWWWWWWWWMM 65 M 70 WWWWWW 80 MMMMMM 90 WWWWW 100 MMMMM 110 WWWWW 120 MMMMM 130 | General"

Google returns the page as a result, meaning that 95 characters is no longer a limit. Heck, maybe just to see I should test 200-250 characters. Curiosity satisfied.

 

Of course this doesn't talk to what IS best practice or overthinking but at least I'll be able to sleep tonight without the itch. Well, er, after checking out Chris's latest post "46 Mins Of The Best 'seo' Advice Ever!"



#11 qwerty

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:08 AM

Yes, Google returns the page (at #2 for me) for a search on a snippet from near the end of the title. But I find it interesting that it doesn't consider the title to be a good indication of the page's relevance for a search on text from the title. Here's how Google returns the page for a search on ["120 MMMMM"]:

 

[The forum won't let me upload the screen cap, but it's the text from the page's breadcrumb trail entry with the site name appended to it.]

 

And I still find it interesting, after all these years, that the page is not returned for [intitle:"120 MMMMM"].


Edited by qwerty, 30 March 2013 - 10:10 AM.


#12 Jill

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:03 PM

Google returns the page as a result, meaning that 95 characters is no longer a limit. 

 

Pretty sure it never was.



#13 chrishirst

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

Undoubtedly, but some of us will never be at peace if we don't know.

 

Yeah, but some of you fuss about the minutiae in the mechanics of "SEO" so much,  you actually miss the overall picture. For [deity's] sake, take the 50.000 foot view NOT the 1/1000 inch view.


Edited by chrishirst, 31 March 2013 - 08:47 AM.


#14 qwerty

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 09:36 AM

I think it's fine to be interested in these little details as long as it doesn't eclipse the big picture. As long as you understand that what's really important is content and its indexation, you can enjoy yourself looking at how relatively unimportant things have an effect.

 

For example, I've been thinking a lot lately about what happens when a 302 redirect sits around for a while -- how temporary is "temporary," and what happens when it's not temporary enough.



#15 Jill

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:36 PM

While off topic, a 302 never really seemed to have meant "temporary" at least not to search engines.






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