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What is the Best Google Title Length?

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Search engine titles

The best Google title length for search engine optimization is about 60 characters. But there is more to the story.

A review of titles in Google search results showed a fairly consistent pattern with how long a title can go before Google cuts it off with ellipses.

Including ellipses, the longest title in the review was 63 characters. Eliminating the ellipses plus the extra space brought the length of that title down to 59 characters.

Out of the dozen examples, only three fit the available space. Some of the titles had cutoffs that didn’t read well, especially the ones that used a dash or pipe symbol to show both a title and a site brand name. Site brands were often cut off entirely or in part. They were lost branding opportunities.

Site Brands in Titles

Branding matters, but only to a point. The best titles with brands have the article subject first and the brand second because search results emphasize the relevant search terms in the title.

Words at the beginning of a title are more noticeable than ones at the end because people, of course, read from left to right. They also scan quickly for results and may click within a matter of seconds.

Publishers of sites with consistent branding in titles — which is often automated with content management systems — have a good reason to put a firm limit on title length. Otherwise, the brand is cut off altogether, which is a waste, or gets cut in half, which looks bad. One word brands work best.

Sites with long brand names may not want to put them in the title because they leave less room for keywords. The shortest title that was cut off had a 12-letter brand plus a pipe and two spaces. That’s 25 percent of the available space dedicated to the brand. No wonder Google cut off the brand and pipe.

Keywords in Titles

The review found that the two critical keywords in the example appeared at the beginning of the title in seven out of 12 examples.

This result is surprising in one way and not surprising in another. It was surprising because it showed that the critical keywords don’t have to appear at the beginning of the title at all times. It was not surprising because it appeared seven out of 12 times and emphasized the advantage of putting those words first. Again, note that people read from left to right, scan quickly and may click even without reading the entire title.

Website publishers have plenty of details and priorities to chase in their daily activities. Taking a moment to check titles before publication is worth the time and attention in achieving better search engine optimization with Google.

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