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Currently I've got some page titles from an old system that outputs the entire category breadcrumb as part of the title when a category listing is viewed.

So you end up with a title like so...

Category currently being viewed | Category Above currently viewed | Category above that category | Website/Company Title

The Website/Company Title part appears on every page of the site however the other things appear as needed. You end up with a lot of very long titles like this especially as people drill down through category listings into subcategories.

You also end up with a lot of duplicate content in titles because you could have a page that is something like Category 1 | Website/Company Title

Category 2 | Category 1 | Website/Company Title

Category 3 | Category 2 | Category 1 | Website/Company Title

These titles get even worse when you add in pages to the listings like...

Category 2 | Category 1 | Website/Company Title - Page 1

Category 2 | Category 1 | Website/Company Title - Page 2

Category 2 | Category 1 | Website/Company Title - Page 3

and so on.

A lot of the conventional wisdom from sites like Moz say the best idea is to keep your titles around 60 characters if you want the whole thing to show up.

In this case the most important part of the title for SEO at any given time is first. My concern though is that SEO heavy terms are appearing so many times over and over again that it starts to appear as spam.

What I'm told is the original argument for this was that it helped with SEO at one point in time because you got more terms in the title which might be relevant to a given category listing. Also that it may help Google understand the structure and position of content in your site in relation to other things and terms

This seems 1: to not apply to the title tag and just breadcrumbs (and other content) on the page, and 2: seems to go against other ideas of good titling conventions.

As sites balloon in size, and Google is getting better at determining good content from bad it seems like these titles with heavy redundancy can't be helping and it would be better to move to a format like...

Current Category Title | Website/Company Title

I do not know for sure though and couldn't find anything closer to this specific problem as I googled around so I wanted to get some other opinions.

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    ...because you got more terms in the title... Ah yes. Keyword stuffing! Always a good idea. Page titles need to be what the page is about. There wasn't ever a point in time where using breadcrumbs in the title was a good idea. Nor should you make it so generic that the title means nothing. I get that for automated site titles can be tough. But you really do need to write full sentences for humans and not gibberish for machines. Cheers!! – closetnoc May 16 '18 at 19:54
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That isn't a good idea to put your breadcrumb categories in the title because it makes the title too long. The optimal length of a page title for SEO is 50-60 characters (reference).

Having that many terms in the title might have helped with SEO 15 years ago, but it hasn't been best practice for a very long time. While Google does weight keywords found in the title highly, putting too many words into the title quickly has diminishing returns. Google pays the most attention to keywords near the beginning of the title. Keywords in the middle or near the end of such a long title are not going to get any special weight that helps your site rank for those terms.

You should write your titles with users in mind. What would users expect to see as the title of the page? What would help users know the content of the page best? How can you express that as succinctly as possible so that users don't view your site as verbose and stuffy?

You should include one or two important keywords in your title, but putting all your category keywords into your title could look like keyword stuffing. Google can actually penalize your site for using too many keywords in your title. It is especially bad to have the same words or phrases appear multiple times (reference). You are taking a big SEO risk by stuffing category titles into your titles.

Another reason not to put parent categories into your title is that you presumably have parent category pages that have those titles. Your parent category pages may be a better match for those search terms. Google is already associating those terms with your site because your parent category pages have those titles.

If somebody does do a search for a category and a parent category, they will likely find your site even without that in the title. You should be using the parent categories in the text of the page. That is an appropriate place for them that will give them just as much, if not more weight compared to at the end of a very long title tag.

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