Is the length of a page title a search ranking factor? Google answers
More often than not, we see web page titles around 55 to 65 characters in length. That is also the advice and recommendation that most SEO professionals share, i.e., to keep the meta title length around that mark. But there doesn’t seem to be any concrete official guidance by Google on what the page length should be.
This leads to a question: does this length of the page actually matter, and can it affect the search engine rankings of a page?
This exact question was recently asked by a person in a recent Google SEO Office Hours Hangout.
“Is that a really good factor of ranking, that the title (length) should be like something with the limitation?”
The person who asked this question worked in a news organization. Because of the nature of news articles, most of the pages had titles longer than the typical 55-65 character limit. His suggestions to shorten the page title’s length weren’t always liked by the newsroom management.
“They were very upset about that because …news should be like a long title and a good title.”
Google’s John Mueller answered the question by confirming that the length of the page title is not a ranking factor.
“No, no. The length doesn’t matter.
If we show something shorter or if we show something slightly different, that’s just kind of how we display it in the search results, it doesn’t mean the ranking changes,” said John Mueller.
John followed it up with further explanation:
“So, I think, kind of picking a number from your side and saying on mobile like this much room is available so as an editorial guideline — we’ll say 65 or whatever you want to choose.
That’s perfectly fine.
From Google, from the search quality [and] the ranking side, we don’t have any guideline that says it [page title] should be this long.”
According to Google’s recommendations regarding title tag best practices:
“Title links are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query.”
How to write effective page titles
While the length of the page title is not a search engine ranking factor, it is a good idea to keep it within the character limit, so Google does not truncate it or rewrite it completely.
For more tips, read this post: How to Write Page Titles and Meta Descriptions.