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Google Says There’s No Limit on Title Tag Length

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Google Says There’s No Limit on Title Tag Length

Gary Illyes shared if there are any hard limits to how long title tags can be during a Google Off the Record podcast. He then explained what the best title tag is.

How Long Should a Title Tag Be?

Title tags are technically measured in pixels. It’s typically recommended that title tags be from fifty to about seventy characters long.

Those character limits are based on how the titles display on desktop and mobile devices.

Title tags that are longer than what Google displays in the search engine results pages (SERPs) will be shown cut off, which means that nobody will be able to read the full title tag in the SERPs if it’s longer than approximately 70 characters.

Many SEOs and SEO websites recommend a title tag length of approximately 50 to 70 characters because that’s what Google shows in the SERPs.

But that is not anything Google recommends to the SEO community. That 50 to 70 character length for a title is something the SEO community invented as a standard based on what Google is able to display.

But those display limits are based on what a mobile and desktop browsers are able to show.

Title Tag Length Recommendations Are Not for Ranking Purposes

Nobody at Google has ever said that the 40 to 70 character limits are what Google’s ranking algorithms are limited to indexing for ranking purposes.

So it does not make sense to accept the advise for limiting the title tag to 70 characters for ranking purposes when that recommendation is based on what is displayed.

You can search around and you will see that 70 characters is the recommended limit for title tags.

SEO Industry Recommended Title Tag Length

Moz Title Tag Recommendation

Moz’s title tag length recommendation is 50 – 60 characters but Moz correctly notes that there is no actual limit to how many characters can be used.

Optimal title length
Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our 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.”

Ahrefs Title Tag Recommendation

Ahrefs recommends that title tags stay within the 50 to 60 characters, with no caveat about there being no actual character limits as Moz documented.

“Google starts cutting off title tags in the SERPs after around 50–60 characters. (Well, it’s actually based on pixels, but 50–60 characters is a good rule of thumb.)

So keep your title tags around this length.”

SEMRush Recommends Limiting Title Tag Length

SEMRush goes one step further and recommends limiting the title tag length for “effectiveness.”

Limit The Size Of Your Title Tag
The most effective title tags are around 10-70 characters long. These include spaces so keep this in mind when coming up with your Title Tags.

If it is too long, the title tag will be cut off from the display not revealing the full message.”

Google’s Gary Illyes on Optimal Title Tag Length

Google’s John Mueller asked Gary Illyes about title tag length.

John Mueller:

“I have a question that is, maybe, just a yes or no thing, Gary. “Is there a value in having <i>title</i> tags that are longer than the displayable space and the sections of it?”

Gary Illyes gives a direct answer without any hedging or ambiguity about if there’s any value in having a longer title tag.

Gary Illyes answered:

“Yes.”

After some lighthearted jocularity between Martin Splitt, Gary and Mueller the question was revisited.

Martin Splitt asked:

“Christina’s asking if we can get a reason for the <i>title</i> tag length answer, Gary.”

Gary expanded on his original answer by noting that the title tag length that is typically recommended is something that comes from outside of Google.

Gary Illyes:

“The <i>title</i> length, that’s an externally made-up metrics.”

After some attempts at humor and general merriment between Gary and Martin they soon returned to  answering the question.

Gary Illyes Explains Why He Does Not Recommend Title Tag Length

In his answer Gary Illyes mentions “tokenizing” but without explaining what that means. Understanding tokenization will help understand his answer.

Tokenization is something that is done in natural language processing and information retrieval. It’s a way to edit a document into chunks that make it easier to understand what sentences and words mean. Some chunks are sentences and some chunks are single words.

Stanford University defines tokenization like this:

“Given a character sequence and a defined document unit, tokenization is the task of chopping it up into pieces, called tokens , perhaps at the same time throwing away certain characters, such as punctuation.

These tokens are often loosely referred to as terms or words, but it is sometimes important to make a type/token distinction.

A token is an instance of a sequence of characters in some particular document that are grouped together as a useful semantic unit for processing. A type is the class of all tokens containing the same character sequence.”

Now that we have a light understanding of tokenization we can make more sense of Gary’s answer.

One last thing though, Gary mentions a “manual action.” A manual action is a penalty given by Google that can stop a page from ranking.

Gary Illyes:

“The reason why I try to steer people away from thinking about concrete numbers is it’s not even about how we display titles, but rather, how we construct our serving index and how we tokenize the page itself.

Technically, there’s a limit, like how long can it be anything in the page, but it’s not a small number. It’s not 160 characters or whatever– 100, 200, 20, or whatever.”

Gary follows up with advice on title tags:

“Try to keep it precise to the page, but I would not think too much about how long it is and whether it’s long enough or way too long.

If it fills up your screen, then probably it’s too long, but if it just one sentence that fits on one line or two lines, you’re not going to get a manual action for it.”

Google Does Not Recommend a Title Tag Size

Nowhere in Google’s webmaster and developer title tag support pages does Google recommend an optimal title tag size.

The recommendations to keep title tags under seventy characters long originated outside of Google, they are not Google’s recommendation.

The official statement from Google is that there is no limit (per Gary Illyes). The official Google recommendation is to be descriptive and concise. Concise means to say the most with the least amount of words, to be precise in the use of words, and avoiding being wordy.

According to Google’s official title tag developer support page:

“Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query.

Page titles should be descriptive and concise. Avoid vague descriptors like “Home” for your home page, or “Profile” for a specific person’s profile.

Also avoid unnecessarily long or verbose titles, which are likely to get truncated when they show up in the search results.”

Best Title Tag Length

According Google’s Gary Illyes and Google’s official documentation, it is recommended to use as many words as is necessary to communicate what a page is about. When writing the title tag it’s also important to be direct while also being mindful of how that title tag may look when displayed in the SERPs.

Taking everything together it’s probably safe to craft title tags in a concise and accurate manner and to be mindful of how it will appear in the SERPs and influence clicks, as Google’s developer support pages recommend.

However if your company name or branding at the end of the title tag pushes it over 70 characters then that’s not something to worry about in terms of that artificial 70 character title tag limit.

Regardless of how the title tag is displayed, Google will still take into account the entire title tag.

Citations

Transcript of Google Search Off the Record 15th Podcast Episode (PDF)

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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