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A Little Title Tag Can Go A Long Way

Thu, Jul 26th 2012 01:00 pm

About a month ago, Ruth Burr, over at SEOmoz posted an article about a situation that transpired when one of her coworkers went to run a search for a post he had written and found the web page's URL in place of his carefully thought out title.

Why did this happen? You can read the story in its entirety here, but the short version is that, instead of simply truncating too-long titles and adding an ellipsis to the end, Google recently employed an algorithm to automatically determine shorter titles for your pages.

Has This Happened To You?

If you've already caught on to this new practice and updated your titles, good job! If not, the fix is fairly simple - go back and manually shorten the affected title tags. It seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes the simplest solution actually is the best.

Don't Get Cut Off Again.

Most blogging and content platforms offer the option to include a custom title tag, which will create a page title separate from the post's URL, rather than generate it from the title of the post or page. To prevent Google from altering your page titles, make sure you utilize provide a custom tag that won't get cut short.

How Long Should My Title Tag Be?

Based on the results of a recent experiment, it seems that the old rule of "70 characters or less" is no longer considered a best practice. Instead, Google now determines what titles make the cut based on pixel with. This means that "title tags rich in wide letters like W and A won't be able to fit as many characters in before getting truncated, when compared to title tags rich in narrow letters like i and t."

The big takeaway here is to make sure your pages with long headlines have shorter (still keyword-rich) titles in the title tags and to go back and fix any of the ones that may have gotten cut off. If you've adjusted the tag length and your titles still aren't showing up properly , there's a chance that it could have to do with keyword relevance, as AJ Kohn, explains here.

For information on how to improve your search engine rankings please visit www.fissionseo.com.