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High Rankings Question of the Week

December 14, 2011

To go along with this week's question on Title tags, I asked my social media followers:

++What's your recommended Title tag length?++

ShahMenz: Whatever the reader needs to understand what the page is about. Titles are purely for on-page users - Google does its own thing.

DavidWallace: 65 characters or so.

Emma_Lee1: What the page is about in 10 words or less to benefit people rather than search engines.


Mary Walilko: I don't have a recommended tag length that depends on the length of the keyword phrases and other important text. But I do like to place the most important keyword phrases or other text in the first 70 or so characters of the title tag so that these characters can be seen in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Digital Eel, Inc.: No exact formula for crafting Title tags, but we like to follow these guidelines: No more than 70 characters, including spaces, consisting of what is most relevant for that specific page. Unique Title tags for each page of a site. No keyword stuffing. We also use one, possibly two geographic modifiers when appropriate.

John Mills: I always try to keep it short to fit in the space allowed by Internet Explorer (IE). However, prominence is important so keyword position should be near the start. However, I do try to be descriptive within the space allowed.

Bob Gladstein: 10 or 11 words, around 65 characters including spaces, but it's OK to go over that if you've got a good reason to.


William Rock: I work to stay under the word count and character count. I think eventually we will see Google transform the count into its pre-defined space already set for paid advertising. Who knows, but if I can apply the same tactics as I would with paid and get a good conversion from that I think it works.
David Spanierman: I find 8 to 10 words that are keyword focused and conversion oriented do the job.

Nathaniel Kingsley: 3 keyword phrases - 4 if they require their business name (which I hate). Unless you are Nike, guess what? Nobody is looking for your dumb company. Thank god their checks clear.

Bill Treloar: I try to stay under 80 characters. Is the old idea that they only index 60 to 80 characters wrong?

Jill's Comments: Wow…lots to comment on here! See below:

@ShahMenz, I'm surprised by your answer because it implies that the words within Title tags are no longer given weighting by Google when trying to determine relevancy. That's absolutely not true, and I would hate for people reading here to ever think it was.

@Emma_Lee1, Title tags truly are the one place where you really do have to think about search engines first.

@Nathaniel, I couldn't disagree more. The whole idea of having a business is to brand it so that people do in fact search for you by name. Look at the top keywords nearly any company is currently getting found under, and you'll find that a good portion of their visitors came via some form of the company name at Google. And I'm talking about sites that are not even close to Nike's level. In fact, I strongly believe that those sites that weren't getting brand traffic from Google were among those nuked badly in Google's Panda updates. Branding is important, and using your brand in your Title tag can contribute to your overall branding efforts.

@Bill Treloar, the 60- to 80-character limit has *always* been for what search engines will display, not what they will index, which is why it's not something I've ever paid attention to.

And finally, regarding how many words I like for Title tags, I always shoot for around 10 to 12 words. I disregard the 70-character limit that many talk about because Google indexes far more than that and I don't mind my Titles being cut off in the search results display.

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Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings Jill Whalenand an SEO Consultant in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen

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