Crafting Highly-Optimized & Competitive SEO Meta Title Tags was originally published on Apr 3, 2014 and has recently been updated on Jul 13, 2020 to reflect emerging trends.
Crafting the Perfect Meta Title Tag
What is the recommended title tag length?
Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag, but it’s the size that matters — think pixels, not characters.
If you keep your titles under 60 characters, research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly. There’s no exact character limit, because characters can vary in width and Google’s display titles max out (currently) at 600 pixels.
Tips for Crafting the Perfect Meta Title Tag
- Maximize usability across devices with a concise title element of up to 60 characters.
- Avoid long titles. Observations could indicate that you penalize yourself with long titles.
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
- Include keyword phrase once.
The What & Whys of Meta Title Tags
Understanding what title tags are and why they’re so important is the first step to understanding how to craft highly-optimized ones.
Knowing where they show up and who will see them will help you create ones specific to the audience you’re trying to target — and gain the most clicks over your competitors.
Let’s dig into what meta title tags are and why they’re so important.
What is a meta title tag?
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page.
Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content.
<head><title>Build Highly-Optimized & Competitive SEO Meta Title Tags | Ben Marshall</title></head>
Why are meta title tags important?
Meta title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about and are the first impression many people have of your page. Title tags are used in three key places:
- Search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Web browsers
- Social networks.
Search engine result pages
Your title tag determines (with a few exceptions) your display title in SERPs, and is a search visitor’s first experience of your site. Even if your site ranks well, a good title can be the make-or-break factor in determining whether or not someone clicks on your link.
Your title tag is also displayed at the top of your web browser and acts as a placeholder, especially for people who have many browser tabs open. Unique and easily recognizable titles with important keywords near the front help ensure that people don’t lose track of your content.
Some external websites — especially social networks — will use your title tag to determine what to display when you share that page.
Keep in mind that some social networks (including Facebook and Twitter) have their own meta tags, allowing you to specify titles that differ from your main title tag. This can allow you to optimize for each network, and provide longer titles when/where they might be beneficial.