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SEO Website Audit

Extra Characters in Title Tags

August 2, 2006
Hello Jill,

I would greatly appreciate if you were able to answer the following

Do the search engines see the addition of this character: | in the title tag
as words/characters, thus reducing the amount of words you should put in the
title tag?  I am using the character to separate the various services we
offer so that they are clear to the people searching, as they are very

Many thanks.


++Jill's Response++

Hi Rosalind,

There's really no specific character limit for the Title tag, so don't worry
about adding that character to it.  At worst, if your Title tag is very
long, it will appear truncated in the search results.  It probably wouldn't
hurt to keep your most important keyword phrases within the first 10 or 11
words, however.

Post Comment

 rtpHarry said:
1) Keep your titles to about 60 characters or less, including seperators such as space, pipe, dash, colon. Google clips them in the SERP’s and IE doesnt display really long url’s.

2) If you are putting your site structure in the page title then do it in reverse order as in “product | section | company name”. It keeps it visible in the taskbar when viewers are flipping between windows.

3) If you use characters that windows won’t let you use in filenames, such as | etc, then they will be stripped out when a user adds your page to their favourites. This is because unlike other browsers which keep all of their bookmark’s in a single file, IE saves it to its own file. This means that “product | section | company name” becomes “product section companyname”
 Jill said:
rtpHarry, I disagree that you have to keep your Title tags to 60 characters or less. It’s just not necessary.

I do agree with number 2, however. It’s a simple thing that’s often missed by many!

 Kathy K said:
Hi, Jill,

I’ve noticed that when I use a hyphen in my title tags, the various meta tag analyzers that I use only read the words before the title tag (which often comes back as an error because the
tag is then considered to be too short to be optimized properly). I’ve decided to stop using special characters all together in my title tags. Wondering if others have had the same experience?

Kathy :)
 Jill said:
Hi Kathy,

Meta tag analyzers are not helpful as they do not necessary do the same thing as search engines do. I would recommend not using them. It’s perfectly fine to use hyphens in your title tags as they appear to be ignored all together.

 AJ said:
Jill, you're wrong on the character limit. Search engines truncate after 65 char, and although it likely won't hurt to have more, it certainly won't help. Search engines frontload the title tag for keywords anyways, which means that you'll have your first keyword most heavily weighted. After 65 char, it won't mean anything. Having a massive title tag is one of those flags that goes off to signal a spammy site, so avoid going over.
 Jill Whalen said:
AJ we'll have to agree to disagree on this as my results show that while SE's truncate the display they don't necessarily give less weighting. They certainly do give some weight well beyond that arbitrary number of characters people have bandied about for years.
 Justin Tyler said:
With regard to the | character, I also use it as a seperator in my page titles and I am finding that Google is indexing and crawling all the keywords quite happily. However, I'm finding it difficult to determine if it is giving the words at the start more weight than the words further on in the title?

To put another spanner in the works my page titles are fairly consistently over 20 words/130 characters long but I am finding myself coming up in the SERPs for most if not all of the included key words and phrases.

Obviously this is not a scientific study as there are many factors which could be affecting my SERPs, however I think this does add weight to the argument that the SE's do not stop indexing keywords in titles after approximately 10 words or 65 characters.