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Why Does Title Tag Length Matter?

Too long title tags get rewritten by Google, & too short title tags are not engaging enough. This blog tells you the right way to write a title tag. Check now!

Home / Blogs / Why Does Title Tag Length Matter?
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

February 21, 2024

Title tags are essential for search engine optimization as they allow search engines (and your potential customers) to identify what the web page will talk about. A well-optimized and correctly formatted title tag can significantly boost your search engine rankings. But that’s just a part of the story.

While everything about title tags is fascinating, and they are a hidden gem to help search engines understand the context of your page better, there’s still something you will need to be careful about – their length.

While keeping the title tag between 60 characters or 575 pixels (the maximum length) or 30 characters or 285 pixels (the minimum length) is ideal, the real question is if a title tag above these character limits really harms your SEO efforts or is it just a myth to make sure everyone is following a standardized norm. Let’s find out!

Understanding Title Tags and Their Importance

Title tags are HTML code elements that add a name and description to a web page. They help search algorithms and potential customers understand what the page is about, its category, and if it aligns with what they are looking for. The title tag is a ranking factor and can influence where your website pops up on search engines.

Additionally, if your title tags are longer than 60 characters, there’s a high chance that Google will rewrite it based on the content on the web page. As most search engines aim to solve a search query with the best possible response, there’s always a possibility that poorly written title tags will rank lower, even if the page has sufficiently informative content.

The Role of Title Tag Length in SEO

Which title will you prefer the most?

<title> This is a short title tag </title>

<title> Long title tags give you an opportunity to include more keywords naturally so they match search intent. Anyway, Google will choose to rewrite title tags if needed  </title>

There’s no definite answer to which title tag is most effective as they vary in length, and there’s a possibility that Google will rewrite both titles if needed. However, what’s important is setting a suitable title tag for your page to convey information in the best possible way.

What is Google’s official statement about title length?

In the past, Google has indicated much about the title tag length that can help websites rank higher on search engines. However, the standard length that Google used to talk about is between 60 to 70 characters. With Google shifting its focus to becoming mobile-first, the title tag length was updated to be between 45 and 60 characters.

It ensures that the title tag is clearly visible on mobile screens. This shift is major because many people use their mobile phones to search for something online more often than desktop users. Additionally, mobile users are often willing to explore more pages on a website for learning or purchase purposes.

Notably, Google has also specified title tag length limits in pixels (which is important when optimizing your website for desktop users). However, the 650-pixel limit doesn’t show up the same way for every page. There have been instances when the limit reached 1000 pixels, and yet it showed up, giving mixed signals about the effectiveness of considering pixel title tag length.

What is the Ideal Title Tag Length?

The ideal title tag length is somewhere a moving target that depends on your priorities for the page. The entire title tag should be between 50 and 60 characters, but there are still some discrepancies regarding display on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, there are no strict character limitations, as longer title tags always get truncated or are rewritten for visibility and clarity.

Notably, no official announcement or guidelines from Google state that the character limit for title tags should be 60 characters or the meta descriptions need to be under 160 characters. The only thing Google looks at is whether the title tag or the meta tag satisfies the search query. In case it is not, Google will rewrite the tags to fit the context and provide the best possible answer for the search query. So, even if you have written a considerably longer title tag, there’s always a chance it will get rewritten if needed.

Impact of Short and Long Title Tags

Let’s look at an example,

The web page talks about how New York cheesecake is different from regular cheesecake. The title tag for this web page is 64 characters, and it got cut with ellipses (represented as ‘…’), displaying only 51 characters worth of title tag.

Here’s another example for the same search query.

In this case, the title tag is 53 characters and hasn’t been cut to fit the screen. It is more likely that you will click on this as opposed to the one with a longer title tag, solely because this title is more readable and addresses the search query directly.

The Effect of Short Title Tags

Short title tags always run the risk of not describing what the page is about in much detail and are likely to lose out on organic traffic.

The two common reasons for this are:

  1. Often, more information helps your target audience understand the page’s context better, and they feel more inclined to check your web page for information. However, a short title tag offers minimal information. It creates a cloud of confusion about whether the page is worth exploring or if it is better to skip to the one that could possibly be answering the query better.
  2. Short title tags get rewritten more frequently by Google. So, even if you think that your short title tag is enough, there’s a possibility that Google may rewrite it to add more layers of information to it.

The Effect of Long Title Tags

Title tags that are longer than 60 characters are called long title tags. While Google has not set any mandatory limits to the maximum length, if it finds the title tag overly long, it usually combines them both. It may not be the best for businesses at all times, so it is always best to stay within the 50 to 60-character limit.

Google’s helpful content system rewards pages that offer users a positive and fulfilling experience. Overpromising in the title and not having value-driven content on the web page can result in poor ranking and not being seen as a trustworthy source of information.

It is noteworthy that keyword stuffing can trigger a Google penalty under Google’s spam policies. So, instead of adding too many irrelevant keywords to your title tag, be strategic and use only keywords related to the page’s content and search intent.

The Balance: Title Tag Length and Relevance

Relevance plays a vital role in writing effective title tags. It aligns the title tag with the search intent and ensures search engines and viewers can understand the content of the page before they decide to view it. Relevancy also helps search engines to place your website on SERPs.

How to write effective title tags within optimal length?

Here are some ways you can write highly effective and search-engine-optimized title tags:

  • Create a basic structure of the title tag format. SERP analysis is an ideal way to analyze your target market and understand how your competitors are writing title tags for their websites. This will help determine an informative format that can be customized for individual pages and sufficiently informative for crawlers. You can also gain insights into your competitors’ mistakes and how you can avoid them.
  • Always focus on writing for your target audience instead of writing for the crawler. By writing for crawlers alone, you will be dehumanizing your content and will make it challenging for your viewers to determine if the page has any value to offer to them. It is always best to A/B test your title tags for readability, potential to attract higher click-through rates, and ability to create brand awareness.
  • Offer a benefit to entice your website visitors to click write way. Avoid clickbait titles, as they can be misleading. By offering a benefit straight away, you indicate that your website offers genuine information and there’s more in the vault for them to explore.
  • Be creative with your target keyword and avoid keyword stuffing, as it can spoil user experience and make your website look spammy to search engines. Begin by using the primary keyword at the beginning, the secondary keyword, and then the brand name. Additionally, to separate keywords, consider using dashes instead of pipes, as they will likely get omitted if Google rewrites your title tag. Similarly, avoid using brackets unless necessary.
  • If your article is a listicle, consider using odd numbers (as much as possible). The presence of odd numbers makes the content seem easier to go through than the use of even numbers. Additionally, odd numbers make it seem that available information has been used to create the article instead of bulking up content to create the listicle.
  • Avoid relying on Google to rewrite your article to make it engaging and attractive. Google often chooses to rewrite the title tags if it finds the title needs to be more informative and answer the search query in the best way possible. To ensure that your title tags do not get rewritten, always focus on providing informative and search-intent-oriented content.
  • Being creative and engaging is the key to ensuring your title tags are not monotonous, attract organic traffic, are not misleading, and are not aligned with the search intent. To ensure you are hitting the sweet spot every time, consider regularly engaging in SERP analysis and revisiting your keyword strategy during competitor research.

SEO Tools for Measuring Title Tag Length

Manually measuring title tag length is time-consuming and frustrating, as you could be researching and analyzing hundreds of thousands of pages. However, ample SEO tools can be used to measure title tag length with just a few clicks. Here are some to consider:

RankWatch

The tool is an all-in-one SEO management solution that can analyze title length with its Meta Tag Analyzer feature. Here are the reasons to include the tool in your SEO strategy:

  • It has an incredibly user-friendly interface that makes it easy to analyze even the largest list of competitors.
  • Easy auditing of websites and analyzing how your competitors are performing. You can improve current strategies by analyzing the gaps and ranking higher on search engines.
  • Gain in-depth insights into how your SEO strategies are working and easily implement potential trends that you can leverage.
  • Additionally, the SERP analysis feature is incredibly useful in gaining in-depth insights into how your competitors, the keywords they are ranking for, and where your strategy is falling short.
  • Furthermore, RankWatch can send email alerts whenever a significant change in your website’s rankings occurs. It keeps your business on its toes and makes necessary changes as and when required.
  • The detailed reports from RankWatch can help your business make tangible changes in its current SEO strategy.

RankWatch is an excellent tool if you are looking for a simple start and transition into creating a successful online presence.

Moz

Moz offers a wide range of services that can help a business take control of its SEO strategy and its effectiveness. Here are the key benefits of using Moz:

  • The tool can be used for extensive keyword analysis, discovery, rank tracking, research, and tracking.
  • With pageview tracking, you can keep track of pageview footfalls and analyze results to determine potential updates that can attract more traffic.
  • The tool extensively focuses on streamlining your SEO strategies and can be used for competitor rank tracking to find areas where your efforts are not fetching results.
  • Aside from these, the tool can determine search visibility scores, SERP analysis, competitive link metrics, and historical reporting.
  • The tool offers a page optimization checklist that enables businesses to determine areas for improvement.

Capitalize My Title

While the title tag length is an important factor, the impact your titles are creating is of paramount importance as well. An engaging and attractive title is more likely to capture the attention of your target audience and make them click. However, writing a title tag is tricky, especially when you have a lot to say in a mere 60 characters.

That’s where Capitalize My Title can help. The tool clearly indicates how impactful your title tag is and if it has the potential to attract the attention of your target audience and help search engines understand the context of your page.

Here are the parameters that Capitalize My Title uses to gauge the potential of every title tag:

  • Overall Headline Score, which analyzes the readability, SEO-friendliness, and sentiments of the title.
  • Readability Score to help you create title tags that are easy to read and understand. This part consists of the Flesch-Kincaid readability score, weasel, and common words used.
  • SEO Score of the title tag to ensure search engines can understand your title tags and minimize any rewritings from Google. This parameter counts the word character count, power words used, keywords, and SEO pixel width.
  • The Sentiment reporting part of the tool helps businesses tap into the right emotions with their target audience. It helps communicate stories better and with more effectiveness. The tool can show positive and negative word counts to help create more compelling and click-worthy title tags.

HEY META

The tool helps businesses build meta tags relevant to their content and can attract the right audience while helping search engines, social networks, and messaging services find and understand what your content is about easily.

CheckSERP

It is a must-have tool for SERP analysis as it enables businesses to understand the nature of content ranking high on search engines and how they can improve their content to make it rank.

Here are other reasons to consider CheckSERP:

  • The tool can run scans across 700+ search engines and 46,000+ locations.
  • The rank tracking is claimed to be 100% accurate.
  • Helps in keyword research and identifying keywords that your competitors are ranking.

Bottomline: Prioritizing Quality and Relevance Over Length

While title tag length is an important factor to consider when writing your titles, it is crucial to focus on being precise, delivering the right information, and providing value over meeting the character limit.

Title tags are a ranking factor, and turning them in your favor is all about:

  • Use a primary keyword in the beginning, followed by a secondary keyword in the middle, and include a brand name.
  • Providing offers, benefits, or features instead of clickbait offers that are misleading.
  • Focusing on writing human-centric content and not only for Google bots.

Aside from this, run A/B testing campaigns and conduct regular SERP analysis to determine if improvements are needed, as title tags can be edited to meet trends and current market demands. Lastly, use tools like RankWatch to track how your web pages perform and where they rank on search engine results pages.

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