It’s easy to forget the latest incarnation of how many characters for which SEO element to follow when forging new content for a website or blog. The following SEO character limit guidelines are designed to help with optimizing static website content and blog post elements for search engines.
SEO Character Limits
Page Titles: 50-60 characters
Meta Descriptions: 160 characters
Meta Keywords: NO
H1+ Headings: 70 characters
Image ALT Text: 100 characters
[tweetthis]Quick Guide to #SEO Character Limits.[/tweetthis]
Page Title Character Limit: 50-60
Page titles are typically not visible on the site itself and can usually be found in the browser title bar or tab. Page titles are often used by search engines as the title of the result snippet and play a significant role in search engine rankings.
Pro Tip! Keep under 50 characters to avoid search engines truncating page titles when displayed in search results.
Meta Description Character Limit: 160
Meta descriptions are also not visible on the page and will most likely be used in search engine result snippets. Although meta descriptions are no longer used by Google as a ranking signal, they can effect click through ratios, which can in-turn effect search engine rankings.
Pro Tip! Don’t worry about optimizing meta descriptions for keyphrases, focus on usability – getting them to click!
Meta Keywords: Just NO
Meta keywords are no longer a weighted search engine ranking signal. Use of them is strongly discouraged.
Pro Tip! Omit or remove all instances of meta keywords site-wide.
H1+ Heading Character Limit: 70
While heading tags don’t carry as much search engine ranking signal weight as they used to, they remain an important on-page SEO element. Headings above 70 characters can look sloppy under most circumstances. The 70 character limit is merely a recommended limit, as we presently are not aware of any imposed by search engines.
Pro Tip! Avoid duplicating headings with other headings or page titles and focus on using headings relevant to page content.
Image ALT Text Character Limit: 100
Even though most industry experts agree ALT text should be no longer than 120 characters, even more concur that image ALT text should be short but sweet. Ideally making use of 5 or 6 words that are relative to the image file name as well as page content. Keeping in mind that search engine signal weight is assigned to ALT text from left to right, significantly diminishing after the 5th or 6th word. Well optimized images can also help improve search engine rankings for image search results.
Pro Tip! Make sure to avoid duplication and focus efforts on images that are displayed in the ATF (above the fold) portion of the page.
Additional On-Page SEO Considerations
Filenames: The name of the page or directory and image file name should relate to the page title, headings and content.
Text: The amount of text/page varies based on content type and intent. Use short, easy to read and understand headings, sentences and paragraphs. Somewhere between 300 and 500 words is often a good place to start.
Internal Linking: Not menu navigation mind you, but including ATF links on pages or blog posts that lead to internal landing pages. Internal linking helps search engines identify important pages – landing pages. It can also dilute authority of a given page if not used appropriately.