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I am reading documentation about my CMS and it states that an HTML page <title> tag is really important in SEO.

It states that the Google Spider gives the most relevance to the first 68 characters of a site title. (68 characters being the number of characters that Google will display in it's search engine result pages,)

Can anyone verify this is still true? I read in The Information Diet that content farms were getting too good at gaming Google's algorithm for collecting and posting SERPs and so google had to change the search algorithm.

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"...so google had to change the search algorithm" - Google are constantly modifying and tweaking the search algorithm. –  w3d Apr 9 '12 at 15:47
    
@w3d This is true, but I didn't realize it was an "arms race" with content farms, until I read The Information Diet. –  leeand00 Apr 9 '12 at 15:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Google hasn't publicly stated that the first 68 charatcers of a title are the most important and as far as I know no definitive research as been done to demonstrate this. Google's advice for page titles is, "Make sure that your elements ... are descriptive and accurate."

When it comes to writing titles, it should contain a conscise summary of what the page is about. That usually falls around the 68 characters mark but not always. And it's okay when you go it as it's more important that you have an accurate title then one that reads liek gibberish because you're trying to maniuplate the search results. Neither is good for your users or your rankings.

Bottom line, don't worry about the 68 charatcer limit that may or may not exist. Write accurate, human readbale titles that contain keywords you wish to rank well.

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Google uses well over 200 factors when determining how to crawl, index, and rank web-pages. The title of the page is one element that we do look at, but it's not the only (or most important) element. It's also possible to do well in web-search with pages that don't have any titles, or pages with titles like "Home". Additionally, Google is constantly working on improving its algorithms, making several hundred changes every year.

That said, the title of a page is something that's worth spending some time on. The title is commonly shown as the title in search results as well as when a page is bookmarked (or shared on social networking sites like Facebook and Google+). Google provides some guidelines on making great titles as well as some information about times when the title is automatically modified in search results. None of these guidelines explicitly mention a 68-character limit (and it's not something that would have an explicit limit anyway), but in practice, extremely long titles are often not more useful to the user than something concise, so I'd recommend taking the time to make it short & to the point.

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I quote you question below by pieces:


it states that an HTML page title tag is really important in SEO.

Absolutely TRUE, they are important for Google.


It states that the Google Spider gives the most relevance to the first 68 characters of a site title.

No official evidence of this statement, but it's true that Google shows only about 68 chars in its SERPs for each result, therefore it might be somehow true that your page title should not be too long (read not exaggeratedly exceed 68 chars), and when longer Google might give more importance to the 1st 68 chars.

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