Fixing Metadata Issues: Titles

The page title is the first thing searchers see when your page comes up in search results because it is in large, bold print on the search page. 

A title that is too long will be truncated with … and the rest of the title will not be seen. It is important to write short, concise titles so this doesn’t happen, but avoid writing titles that will be deemed “too short” (any title less than 50 characters).

Tips for Writing Meta Titles

  • Write between 50-60 characters. Google actually measures the title length in pixels, but 50-60 characters seems to be the safe zone for titles to show in their entirety on desktop and mobile devices. You can use a character counter to check the length.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Writing titles can be hard, especially for blog posts that cover specific topics or include information about important people. The key is to put only the most important information in the title and save the rest of the details for the meta description (which is right below the title).

  • Include the keyword for the page in the title if possible.

Using Yoast for Meta Titles

The Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to add meta titles to pages on your WordPress website.

  1. To begin, open the page editor of the page you want to add the description to. 

  2. Scroll down until you see the Yoast content box on the page. This box shows a preview of the webpage in search results and allows you to edit the keyword or phrase, title, slug, and description for the page.

  3. Here you are faced with two choices: You can adjust the variables to change the display title, or you can manually paste in the new title you have written for the page. In the case of fixing an issue with a title being too long, we recommend pasting in the title you have written for the page, since keeping variables (as shown in the image) will often add too much length to a title.

    1. NOTE: The variables used in the above image are still a great option for pages with short titles, which are generally the main landing pages. Longer titles, which are usually found in blog posts and deep internal pages, should be handled manually. 

  4. After pasting the new title into the SEO Title box, click the blue UPDATE button in the top right corner of the page editor to save your work and apply changes to the live webpage. (New pages will have a button that says PUBLISH.)

Additional Information About Titles

Modern WordPress websites use the page title (found at the top of the editing page) as the H1 heading for the page. This title does not need to be changed to fix a title too long issue since it likely includes the information you want Google and other search engines to index as the page heading. Adding the new, shorter title to Yoast will override the title settings and display only the title you have entered on the search results page.

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