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No Hard Limit on Title Tag Lengths, Says Google Google's Gary Illyes Confirmed There is No Rule Against Exceeding 70 Characters

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, SEO

If you publish web pages or pieces of content, you might find yourself agonizing over the title tag lengths you assign your pages. There’s no need to do that, though, according to comments made recently by Google’s Gary Illyes.

In the search community, there’s an unwritten rule that title tags should be around 50-70 characters long. Sites like Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMRush have all recommended ranges close to this. Titles exceeding this range will usually be cut off on SERPs, meaning the reader won’t get to see the full page title.

Does Google recommend following the 50-70 character rule? Not quite, according to Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst.

Illyes spoke about character length on a recent episode of Search Off the Record, a podcast that gives a behind-the-scenes perspective on Google’s search teams.

On the podcast, fellow Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller asked Illyes a question about title tags: “Is there value in having title tags that are longer than the displayable space and the section of it?”

Illyes answered with a simple “Yes,” though he did not elaborate. The conversation turned to title lengths in general, and Illyes revealed that the recommended title length ranges he’s seen have all been made from people in the search industry, independently from Google.

“The title length […] those are externally made-up metrics,” he said.

Illyes then advised listeners not to overthink title lengths, as Google does not set a hard limit.

“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,” he explained.

He then gave his own advice for display purposes:

“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,” he said. “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 for it.”

Read More: Google Says There’s No Limit on Title Tag Length

Read More: Old SEO myth busted: Google dev confirms there is no max length on title tag

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

This is How Google Ranks Page Elements

08/04/2021

When you search the phrase “digital marketing” on Google, you might see a variety of items on the results page.

For example, we see, from top to bottom: a featured snippet linking to a page that defines ‘digital marketing,’ a list of questions that ‘People Also Ask,’ a map with nearby marketing offices and firms, and some standard page results.

If you were to type in a different search query – say, a celebrity’s name, or a question about fixing an appliance – you’d get a completely different list of result types.

How does Google decide which page elements are appropriate for each search query?

A few of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts discussed this topic on a recent episode of the company’s Search Off the Record podcast.

Read below to learn what Google’s Gary Illyes and John Mueller had to say.

How Google Ranks Page Elements

Google search results are determined by what most describe as an automatic bidding process. A search query could relate to standard page results, a featured snippet, a map, a set of images or videos, news articles, and many other possibilities – each of these bids for a spot on the page.

How do these elements earn their ranking?

Mueller says that “it’s almost like all of these different indexes, or kinds of content, have their own search engine. Basically, they’re saying, ‘my result is, like, super relevant, or kind of relevant.’ Then, there’s a ‘super search engine’ on top of all of these search engines that mixes them all together.”

In other words, the type of content is organized first – images go together, news articles go together, and so on.

Then, the relevancy of each page element is determined. This way, the more relevant elements end up competing for a spot at the top of the page, while less relevant elements aim for the middle or bottom.

It’s worth noting that some results will deliberately aim for a specific spot on the page – and it might not necessarily be the top spot.

“We have preferred positions for something like, for example, the video results,” Illyes explained.

For example, ‘related searches’ are often found near the bottom of the page.

So, what factors determine how these elements end up ‘winning’ their bids? Google’s precise ways of ranking are a bit of a mystery, but Illyes and Mueller explain that user interest plays a major role.

“How do you recognize if we should show images or videos?” Mueller asked.

“We learn it,” Illyes says, explaining that users’ clicks are important. “When you search for something that normally doesn’t have images or videos, and you tap the images tab on the result page, you are essentially teaching Google that there was this random person who wanted images for this particular query. If there are enough users doing that, then you are essentially teaching Google that the query might deserve images, or videos, or whatever.”

User behaviour shapes how Google learns and changes. For this reason, digital marketers, advertisers, and site owners should constantly keep up with Google, as it is always modernizing its services. This is especially true considering that Google frequently updates its algorithms – this spring and summer alone, there have been about a dozen updates.

READ MORE: Google Link Spam Update Continues String of Summer Updates
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Google Doesn’t Use Click-Through Rate as a Search Ranking Factor

03/04/2019

Debate Over CTR Data Continues Amongst SEO Specialists, Google Weighs In

The debate over click-through rate (CTR) data continues amongst SEO specialists, with recent developments and claims prompting Google to weigh in on the topic. Britney Muller from Moz found a Google developer page that seemed to imply that Google uses CTR data as a consideration when ranking search results: https://twitter.com/BritneyMuller/status/1098704765876228096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1098704765876228096&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.seroundtable.com%2Fgoogle-ctr-search-rankings-27157.html The text in question: “For example, when you click a link in Google Search, Google considers your click when ranking that search result in future queries.” This apparent confirmation was in direct contrast to a comment by Google’s Gary Illyes on a Reddit AMA earlier in February 2019, saying, “Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.” So which is it? Does CTR matter, or is it “made up crap,” as Illyes stated? A Google spokesperson addressed the situation, stating, “As we’ve commented on before, we use interactions in a variety of ways, such as for personalization, evaluation purposes and training data. We have nothing new or further to share here other than what we’ve long said: having great, engaging content is the right path for success. We’d encourage site owners to focus on that big picture.” While this doesn’t clarify, exactly, whether Google considers CTR directly, their official line has always been to focus on creating great content and great websites. It’s highly unlikely that Google uses CTR data as a core search ranking signal, though they likely use it to evaluate how their algorithms are performing.

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