Title Tags Best Practices


Let me tell you one little secret. Google can and is making changes to your title tag to make it relevant to the search query. Not always but can quite often.

For e.g.

Search Query – seo tools seomoz

Page URL– https://www.seomoz.org/seo-toolbar

Title – SEO Toolbar for Firefox & Chrome | Download the Free … – SEOmoz

No of characters displayed in SERP – 65 characters

Actual length of the title tag– 79 characters


Search Query – seo toolbar

Page URL– https://www.seomoz.org/seo-toolbar

Title – SEO Toolbar for Firefox & Chrome | Download the Free MozBar SEO …

No of characters displayed in SERP – 65 characters

Actual length of the title tag– 79 characters

Google can also make changes to your title tag to show different results to users in case your content is scrapped/shared across SERP. For e.g. See how the title tag of my blog post changed after being shared on a forum:

If you search for more examples, you can find them easily. Not only Google can change your title tag to suit the search query but it can also change its visible length (no of characters it displays in SERP) and can truncate characters from anywhere (in between the title tag, end of the title tag). I have noticed these changes happening esp. to those web pages which exceed the 70 characters title tag limit, web pages with duplicate title tags or missing title tags. So this is a strong reason to stay within the title tag length limit and follow best practices. Here is what Google has to say about changing your title tags:

“Google’s creation of sites’ titles and descriptions (or “snippets”) is completely automated and takes into account both the content of a page as well as references to it that appear on the web………..Make sure that each page on your site has a useful and descriptive page title (contained within the title tags. If a title tag is missing, or if the same title tag is used for many different pages, Google may use other text we find on the page. “

Source: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35624


Why this is not an experiment?

Check this video from Matt Cutts in which he has clearly said that “if you use a really really long title, Google may still use it in its scoring but when they are ready to show it to the user they may find a better title. He has also confirmed that the title itself can change like meta description.


How to keep a control on your title tags

  • Keep the length of your title tags less than 68 characters. Shorter the better.
  • Make sure that the title tag is relevant to the body text.
  • Remove duplicate title tags across the website.
  • Create unique title tag for each web page
  • Use brand names in the middle of the title tags so that it doesn’t get truncated by Google easily.
  • Make sure that a website doesn’t have web pages with missing title tags. Google can create its own title where the title tag is missing.


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My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
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