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Do your page titles suddenly need shortening? [SEO Wednesdays]

A case study on the SEOmoz website has recently highlighted a potential problem in the Google results if you haven’t got your website page titles written to recommended standards. As you’ll know, the main title shown for each result in Google is set by you, the website owner, using the “Title tag” in each page. For example, on our website’s page about Google AdWords management, we’ve written a title reading “Google AdWords Management by BMON”, and that’s what shows in the Google results:

However, what Watch Out for Long Title Tags – An SEOmoz Case Study shows is that Google is now rewriting those titles if it feels like it. Specifically, it’s tackling long titles, which don’t fit in the space it has available. In the past, the search engine hasn’t reproduced long titles in full, but has simply cut them off and added an ellipsis (…) at the end. That’s not desirable, but at least you get the first part of what you wanted. Now, it seems, that’s not the case, and Google will look elsewhere on your page for words which might make a title, if you haven’t provided it with something suitable. You really don’t want this. The results could be horrible.

Search engine optimisation specialists have traditionally recommended titles of 65-70 characters maximum. That might be a bit liberal, and I’d suggest 60 characters or fewer, to be on the safe side. It’s worth checking your site. If you’re a client of ours, of any sort, and would like a report on the pages on your website with titles over 60 characters, please ask. This is the sort of free add-on service we love to offer clients.

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