Why Long Title Tags Are, and Aren’t, an SEO problem

I always find it interesting when Google let out little nuggets of information that either confirm or debunk long held beliefs in the SEO industry. (It’s important to remember that the vast majority of what we call “best practice” in the SEO industry is really belief – we have so few facts to go on most of the time!)

The latest little droplet of wisdom was that, much to the horror of the purveyors of many an automated SEO checking tool, there’s no big problem with meta titles longer than what Google will display and Google will look at all the text in the title.


I think what Google really mean by this is that there isn’t a specific penalty that the search algorithm applies if it finds great big long titles on things. As with all advice from Google, you need to take it with a pinch of salt and apply some common sense.

Whilst there is no specific problem or penalty related to having long titles, Google will still truncate them and so, actually, there’s still quite a lot that can go wrong with a truncated title.

Consider my next article “Selling all of your possessions and then setting fire to your house: A guide to why this is a terrible idea. or, as Google will present it…

A little bit different, right?

If your titles are being truncated then there’s a chance that the real meaning is being lost. You may not be getting a penalty in the index itself, but the traffic you’re actually getting depends directly on how well your pages present themselves in the search engine results and, for this reason, you do need to pay attention to this.

Much like a snippet of info from Google, the real meaning may be different to the truncated answer!

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