What is a Title Tag?

The title of your page is perhaps one of the most important content areas of your site for SEO. As its name suggests, this tag includes the title or very brief summary of the content users can expect to find on the page. It's found in the head element of the HTML source.

A typical title tag: 

<title>Your Source For Blue Widgets & Green Widgets | Acme Inc.</title>

The title is used in many places, but perhaps the two main areas of importance are the browser's title bar and the anchor text of your page's snippet on the SERP. Search engines give content in this area perhaps the highest weight of any content area on the page, so it's important that this area is optimized well.

What Does "Title Too Short" Mean?

A title is considered too short if it is less than 40 characters. Any URL with a title shorter than this length will be considered too short.

Why It's Important

If a page's title is too short, it's really not a huge problem - there is no ranking penalty for having titles that are too short. However, a title under 40 characters is usually a sign of wasted opportunity.

The title tag is perhaps the most important content area on your site as viewed by search engines, so you'll certainly want to include your targeted keywords. It's usually quite difficult or impossible or to fit all targeted keywords in 40 characters or less, so it's likely the title is under-optimized. Consider utilizing the remaining space in the title to include your keywords.

How to Fix

This issue is easily fixed by adding text to each page's title. If the title does not already include targeted keywords, this is a great opportunity to add them.

Best practice for titles is to keep the total character count between 40-70 characters, with your most important keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible. This usually means listing your brand name or the name of your site last, since it's less problematic if this gets cut off.

Other Guidelines for Writing Effective Titles

  • Keep title length to 40-70 characters
  • Place your most important keywords as early in the title as possible
  • Keep your brand name or site name towards the end of the title
  • Titles should be natural and human readable, not just comma-separated keyword lists
  • Each title should be unique
  • For very large sites, consider using programs to automatically create template-based title tags, but make sure these are human readable and make sense
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