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Most page's title chars greater than 70 advice needed

     
7:42 am on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hi about 70% of my website's page has title characters numbering more than 70 .

Is this a problem for Google serps ? Kindly advise.
1:30 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They're never going to show more than 70, and probably not more than 55 or so because of pixel width (a w is wider than an l, for example) So shorten them, or if you can't, then make sure the important stuff is at the beginning of the title.
3:08 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Out of curiosity, WHY are they so long?

There is an art to writing headlines, and page titles are one form of a headline (at least, that is how they appear in the SERPs).
4:23 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Shorten them, that is the only way for you to still have the important stuff on your title. Once you go over a certain length, google will truncate based on what they feel is right. Then they start getting elements off of your pages and replace 50% of your title.

I did experiments with both really short titles and long titles, the results are quite disastrous.
7:31 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Look up at your browser's tab bar. Page names are truncated from the right (or from the left in an rtl script). So titles should be in "inverted pyramid" form, with the most important part at the front.

Crystal ball says that all your titles are in the form
Sitename - Widgets - Special Offers - the-meat-of-the-title-here

Take all the stuff from the front and shift it to the back, where it will only be seen if there's room for it. I assume your titles are generated by whatever program builds the page, so you only need to change one thing.

Page titles are one of those happy areas where what's good and useful for the human user is probably also what the search engine wants. This is not always the case, so cherish it.
12:42 am on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys for all your advice!
2:00 am on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Agree... Cut them back to 55 or less, or Google will do rewrite them for you.
12:03 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It's more than characters - it's the amount of pixels required to render the characters you use. So different letters and caps will affect how much space you have.

Moz have an online checker that allows you to preview your title tags and see whether they will or won't be cut off. I think Screaming Frog have one too.
2:27 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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True on the pixels. But you can't definitely know how many pixels it will take to render a title because they bold different words in the title, depending on the search phrase used to find the URL. 50-55 characters seems to be a decent guideline/rule of thumb so that most of the time, G can render the full title.
6:44 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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From an earlier discussion here...

Google SERPs new larger font effectively shortens title display
March 22, 2014
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4656190.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I'd posted...
New Title Tag Guidelines & Preview Tool
March 20th, 2014 - Posted by Dr. Peter J. Meyers
http://moz.com/blog/new-title-tag-guidelines-preview-tool [moz.com]

In the post, Pete looks at the width of letters, upper vs lower case character width, and the space taken up "...", etc. Starting with a sample of 10,000 queries, he comes up with a table of title "cut-off lengths at five different levels of confidence," to give us a range of new title length guidelines.

Previously, I'd used 63 characters as my rough maximum length for Google titles. With Pete's new measurements, 55 seems to be "the reasonable title length limit under the new design"....

Put simply, if all of your title tags were exactly 55 characters long, then you could expect about 95% of them to be left alone (1 in 20 would be cut off).


There's also a tool for testing titles... and Screaming Frog includes a pixel width feature in its spider tool.

I'd say that "55" is the new "63"... and before that, "63" was the new "70". This is for display purposes. How much the display length might ultimately influence SEO is a question also worth reconsidering from time to time.
7:11 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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PS: You should shorten them if they're long because you're trying to include a lot of keyword variants.

If they're long because you're including additional technical specs, package quantities, etc... then try to get them as short as possible while keeping that information at the end... and plan a break point (at c55 char) that will work well.

Also, you then need to consider how your description and title will display together, so the searcher sees the necessary info to prompt click-through.
8:54 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Basically what Robert_Charlton said -- If it's necessary info, leave it, but if it's just trying to get more keywords and/or variations in there then shorten them. That said, I wouldn't worry too much about the rewriting of them by Google. The algo will change them if they're too short and in some other cases too, so I'd stick with "necessary info presented" over stressing too much on the exact length of each.
9:07 pm on Dec 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Something else to note on the truncation of longer titles is Lucy24 is correct the browser display can give an indication of how much shows, but the algo doesn't always truncate left-to-right like browsers do. Sometimes the algo will clip the front-end and leave the later text for certain queries, so keeping necessary info in them at the end doesn't necessarily mean that info won't ever be shown in the results, even if they're too long for the entire title to be shown.