January 30, 2013
I am talking to a potential client who has title tags that are over 300 characters in length. Everywhere I have read that title tags should be no longer than 65 to 70 characters, and this is clearly beyond that... I am surprised to see that the site has such high rankings for many of the keyword phrases, even at the tail end of the title tag.
I realize it gets truncated and is not visible, but clearly Google is not penalizing them for this practice. If so, why aren't more sites doing this?
I am curious how you would approach this situation... if I suggest they shorten the title tag, they will probably lose some rankings. I was going to suggest we do a few tests on other pages where the rankings are not as high.
Just curious your thoughts on this.
I disagree with what you've read on the subject. Regardless of how many articles spout some magic number of characters that a title tag can have—there is none. The character number refers only to approximately how much of the information in the tag will appear in the search results pages. But your title tag does not have to be limited to that number of characters. The main thing is that it shouldn't be keyword stuffed. I typically like about 10 to 12 words and have never, ever counted the number of characters.
If the site is doing well with the titles that they have, and they're not overly keyword stuffed, I'd leave them alone. If they're not getting as many clickthroughs as you'd expect, you may then want to consider revising them a bit. If nothing else, be sure that the most important descriptive information is placed first in the title tag.
Hope this helps!
Jill Whalen has been an SEO Consultant and the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston area SEO Company since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen
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