Usually, when Google makes a change to its search algorithm, particularly a huge change, SEOs start debating strategy. Google recently announced three new ways it is looking at page title tags. And now the debate begins.
Mike Blumenthal has some thoughts on what this means. For the most part, I agree, particularly this sentence:
Takeaway: Google is pretty much gonna do whatever the heck it wants with your title tag.
Of course that has always been the case, but until recently I’d say Google didn’t change too many title tags just because. In fact, they kept title tags intact even if they were too long and that led to lower click through rates for a lot of web pages. But Google’s primary interest has always been what is best for the searcher.
In terms of title tags, I’d say you still need to optimize for a particular keyword despite the observation that your web page could rank for a variation of it that is not in the title tag.
I’d also recommend keeping them short. Go with 60 characters or less to be safe. We’ve always said that at Reciprocal Consulting.
You don’t have to put your keyword at the beginning of the title tag. I don’t think you ever really did. It might have helped in 2006 to have your primary keyword lead the page title, but only for SEO reasons. Today, that SEO value has diminished and you should still think of your human readers, who are going to want a title tag that sparks their interests.