Google typically cuts down the display of the title tag in the search results to no more than 65 characters. A WebmasterWorld thread asks does that mean Google won't look beyond the 65th character to determine what that page is about? Or if they do look beyond that 65th character, does Google deem the value of the words after the 65th character as less valuable?
The title tag is arguably the most important on page SEO component of a single page. Most, if not all, SEOs suggest that if you want to rank for a specific keyword phrase, you must have that keyword phrase in the page's title tag.
In addition, almost all search engines display your page's title tag in the search results, as the blue, clickable link to your page. It is vital to make sure the link is "clickable," meaning that people are encouraged to click it, by making it read well and appear nice.
Finally, the title tag is also displayed in the browser's title bar, tabs, and as bookmarks or favorites. So having them formatted nicely, is key in that respect. Let alone all the different social networking sites that use the title tag of the page as the default title of your article.
When formatting your title, I take the approach of making it short enough to be attractive in the Google search results. But you also want to make sure it has your keyword phrase in it. Will Google rank you for a keyword phrase that goes beyond that cut off? Most SEOs say yes, Google will rank you for keyword phrases found after the 65th character.
Long time WebmasterWorld member, pageonresults said:
There really is no hard rule when it comes to longer titles. I've seen titles with up to 20+ words perform just fine. tedster has mentioned that he has seen pages with longer titles perform for keyword searches where the words were towards the end of the long titles.
Senior member, wheel, said:
I care more about clickability than I do rankings when it comes to title and particularly description. I want my 'advertisement' to really pop out.
An older Google Groups thread has Googler, Reid saying:
Also making sure the most difference in the title is starting on the left ensures it will show up as a distinct button when the window is minimized or the tab is at the back of the browser window. Furthermore this also helps Googlebot in determining how unique that is.
I mentioned length of the description meta tag in terms of words because this is the typical measurement. But yes, 2 lines for a total of about 160 characters or so. As for teh title, it depends on the browse but about 70 characters are safe.
In short, there are no fixed number of words/characters that are allowed for a meta description.
A Googler did say have the most important keywords to the front of the title tag.
Let's not forget that Google recently confirmed showing longer snippets for the description part of the search listings. Would this translate to longer titles and clickable links? Who knows - it would not surprise me to see this.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
This article was written earlier this week and scheduled to go live April 10th.