It’s very important to keep your page titles less than 66 characters. If you go over the 66 character count, your page title will be truncated in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The character count is also dependent on word composition at the point of truncation. Yahoo! recommends 67 characters as a limit.

Search engines use titles to index web sites, and often display them in search engine results. I recommend that you limit your page title to 66 characters.

There is no penalty for having titles longer than 66 characters, but for the purpose of display and usability, keep it short and simple. I’ve seen titles with more than 20 words that perform just as well as titles that are shorter.

I try to manage my page titles from being truncated, but sometimes it doesn’t work and I am reluctant to go beyond the threshold. If you are not sure what a page title looks like when it’s truncated see below.

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy brown…

The three periods are referred to as an ellipsis (…) and mean a suspension point. In some instances (not Google’s), anything beyond the suspension point is usually discarded due to limitations. As I stated earlier I try to keep my character count less than 66 and it works perfectly. If I have a page title that truncates, I may try to change the words around or remove a word to prevent the loss of the full title.

If you have a WordPress blog, there’s a really cool plug-in that can help titles from being truncated. Slug Trimmer shortens post slugs more intelligently than simply truncating them. It will remove short words like (“a”, “and”) as these words have little importance.

FYI – Google News Publisher guidelines say to keep your article titles within 2-20 words. That’s exceeds the 66 character count.

Always try to keep the most pertinent stuff at the front of your title.