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When searching today for the same word WIDGET1 all of the sites shown have 3+ words in <TITLE>.
What is the optimal number of words in <TITLE> today?
My guess is 5-8 words.
There is one particular site I've watched for a while because it was so extreme. The home page has a title tag of over 10,000 characters! Conventional wisdom always said is was a crazy thing to do, and yet this home page was ranking well for almost every phrase in that mega-title, and for a long time.
It's no longer ranking - so that points to a definite shift in the algo, and a welcome one as far as I'm concerned.
Google only shows the first 65 characters, so I tend to draw the line there if I can.
the different keywords I am working with have all shown this change within the last 2-3 months I think. I usually liked 3-5 words in title, but place 1-5 normally for 1-2 word searches normally showed the once with titles exact matching (1-2 word in titles).
On the same searches today, not a single listing with less than 3 words in title. More like 5-8 words. And these categories are very wide apart from each other.
They had a run of maybe 6 months out of that approach!
The "WidgetTown" where twice in the 14 word long title, but nowhere to be seen in the text. Even did a search in the sourcetext.
Personally I think it should be more relevance if the searchterm is represented in the document and not only in the Metatags. Are we back to good-old-days when Meta-stuffing was everything?
Not really evil, but not entirely nice to users either and not quality results in my opinion.
I will try a site with title-spamming and let you know :-)
There's been significant confusion generated around the web by calling everything in the <head> section a meta tag. This has probably caused many webmasters to devalue the power of a good title element.
At the same time, several people have reported that frequent changes of their title element (looking for the sweet spot, I assume) may have caused them a long term ranking demotion.
<title>target keyword - good reason to visit this site</title>
That way even if you rank at #2 or #3 if you have a more compelling reason to visit your site in your title you can out pull the one or two results above you. And if you get to #1 you can really clean up.
Its a bit like a free Adwords ad.
<TITLE>*CITY Beach rentals *CITY beach condos *CITY beach vacation rentals *CITY beach townhomes *CITY beach condominiums *Resort CITY *COMPANY NAME Vacations *COMPANY NAME International</TITLE>
I too have see 36, 16, 18 words strings using this same format for a title.
Looks like stuffing to me but Google seams to love it.
I have seen some much longer than that.
I thought that the use of an asterisk or other such charters were not to be used at the beginning of a title tag. I am here to tell you, Google loves it.
I my area there are about six websites all built and maintained by the same Webmaster using this format.
Does anyone still see an example of "...this is part of the title"?
ADDED: this may be because the full phrase is being used in the snippet (either from meta description or body text). I don't have any pages where the text is ONLY in the title tag.
It has it seems, until now... Google seems to change its Algorithm so often my site seems to be attached to the string of a yo yo.
Iv adapted to suit Google and moved up by taking the brand name away and moving the Widget forward, but in my view this will in time damage google as it will turn into a sea of sites using the same titles and eventually harder for the end user.
until a couple of months ago I was certain that it was the case. The more word would create less value for every word. However, looking at the SERPs today, most of the short Titles are gone.
Looks like it could be a very long Title today, eventhough only the first part is visible in the SERP.
Maybe also the META Description is a part (or a bigger part) of the algoritm now?
any extra wording in the title would dilute the strength of the most important word or words. So I try to keep 'em as short as possible
Netmeg, I always used to do this too, but got curious and started playing around about 12 months ago. I now regularly use up to 8-10 words for the home page, with internals sometimes shorter. Hasn't meant loss of rankings on the sites I've tried it on, but I do back it up with links. In fact in one instance I think it even helped me out of a -950 filter.
I have to say though that with everything so up in the air at the moment I can't tell if things have changed in this regard recently.