The ideal width of the SEO title
In the Yoast SEO plugin, we provide you with feedback about the length of your SEO title. But what exactly is an SEO title? Why is it important for SEO? And how can you improve your SEO title? We’ll try to clear things up in this article.
What is an SEO title?
Let’s start with the basics. When we’re talking about the SEO title, we’re talking about the HTML title tag (or page title). If you look at the source of a page, you’ll find it in the head section. It looks like this:
This is an example page title - Example.com
The SEO title is part of the search result. If you search for something in a search engine, the search engine will provide you with a list of search results. These search results usually consist of three elements:
- an SEO title (in blue)
- a URL (in green
- a meta description (in black)
In addition, the SEO title is shown in the browser. In tabbed browsers, this title is usually shown in the page tab, as shown in the image below.
Don’t confuse the SEO title with the main heading or H1, which the user sees on the page itself. These two are not the same. However, the main heading is important too, and if you want to dive deeper into that, we have an entire article about headings and SEO.
The (SEO) purpose of a page title
An SEO title or page title is important for SEO for two reasons:
- to help you rank for a keyword;
- to make users want to click through to your page.
The page title is one of Google’s most important ways to figure out your page’s topic. That’s why you should make sure to include your focus keyword in your SEO title to increase your chance of ranking for it. In addition, if your search result stands out from the other search results, you’ll have a higher chance that people will click on your result. That will lead to more traffic. And as more people click on your result, Google will notice that people prefer your page above the other ones. So, in the long run, the page title influences your ranking directly as well.
Ideal title width for SEO
You might be wondering how many characters your SEO title must contain. Well, that depends. Rather than using a character count, Google has a fixed width in which it can show the title. This means it will show many more i’s than w’s, so how many characters you should use depends on your choice of words. For Google, the width of the SEO title can be up to 600 px.
How the results look may also vary depending on the device your using. For example, here’s a desktop result:
And here’s the mobile result for the same page:
You can check what your SEO title will look like in the search results in the snippet preview in the Yoast SEO plugin. The tool uses the mobile version as a default but you can also switch it to the desktop version. Our snippet preview takes the fixed width into account and shows your title as it will appear in Google searches. If your title is too long or too short, the green line underneath it will turn orange.
Learn more about this check in Yoast SEO in our explanation of the SEO title width assessment.
How to improve your page title
So, you got an orange or red bullet for the width of your SEO title in the Yoast SEO plugin? This is probably because your SEO title is too wide or too short. It might even be missing. We’ll give you a few basic tips on how to improve your page title.
- Always create an SEO title
This may sound obvious: don’t forget to create an SEO title. Your page title or SEO title is important, for attracting more visitors but also to let search engines know what your page is about.
- Make sure to use the space
You’ve got 600 px to convince people to click your link, make sure to use it! Don’t just write down what the page or post is about, use the space to write an enticing title that people can’t resist.
- Don’t make it wider than the viewable limit
If your title is wider than the 600 px limit, your title will be cut off. You don’t want that! The Yoast SEO plugin will tell you if your title is too wide, so if it does, make sure to shorten it.
- Include the focus keyword
Make sure to include your focus keyphrase in your page title, as the page title is one of Google’s most important ways to figure out your page’s topic. Not having the focus keyphrase in the title severely damages your chance of ranking.
- Include the site name
The last tip is about branding. Your page title needs to have your brand in it, preferably in a recognizable way. If people search for a topic and see your brand several times, even if they don’t click on it the first time, they might click when they see you again in their next page of results. In addition, if you don’t include your site name in your SEO title, you’ll also run the risk of Google automatically changing the title for you. They think the site name should be in your title, and if you don’t include it, well… they might just change your title and add it for you.