Hopefully, by now, you’ve been told or learned that the Title Tag on your web site pages is one of the most important factors in judging what content exists on the page. However, does it mean you should now stuff the title with as many words or characters in it so that you can get credit for all those terms?
There’s a bit of information out there that confuses many of you in terms of how to properly create title tags for each page. One of those pieces of advice involves the length of the title tag. There are recommendations including SEOMoz saying it should be 70 characters to an argument by this guy named SEOmofo. You can search for all the competing pieces of advice or refer to this article on Search Engine Roundtable about the mofo’s thoughts.
Title Tags Could be as long as 107 Characters
The SEOmofo argues that the title tag length maximum depends on the characters you use. For example, an “l” is thinner than a “G” for example. So, multiple “l”‘s could equal “lllll” or maybe 3 G’s like this “GGG”. So, if you wanted to title your website:
In thi till trill little litter fill! | Is it illicitly lil‘ lilli! | If I fill ill jill I’ll frill thrill!
You could potentially have 107 characters in your title tag. We’ll test this by creating a post with the same exact title tag and add in it the same meta description. However, what’s the liklihood you’ll be titling a page like this? Very unlikely, I am betting…
Using Common Sense for your Title Tag Length – Approx 65 Characters
Regardless of all the advice out there, we recommend that you create one that’s about 65 characters. Unless, for some reason you’ll be using lots of “l’s” or “i’s” in your title, a cushion of several characters seems reasonable and for the most part is very safe for most title tags. If you want to be even more conservative, use 60. The point is that you should simply estimate what you think will be a length that google will not truncate.
You can usually check by looking at the search engine results pages (serps) you are hoping to rank for and check the number of characters the top websites are using for their title tag length. Copy and past the title tags and check with the character count tool in Word or another wordprocessor that does this for you (Textpad, for instance).
Over time, we even decided to go even lower for both branding purposes and also because we felt like the longer title tag simply didn’t make sense. Rather, it confused people and looked messy. We’re happy with our recent change to 45 characters and haven’t really lost much in terms of rankings or traffic. Actually, due to our other efforts with blogging and building up our credibility in terms of our brand, we’ve actually increased our traffic quite a bit: over 500% growth in the 2nd part of 2012.