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 [punished] for it.”