Title tags are a small ranking factor



Google’s John Mueller, in a YouTube Office-hours Hangout, answered a question about title tags and search rankings. He asked if rewriting the title tags had an impact on the rankings and what effect adding the company name at the beginning, at the end or at all had on the rankings.

Mueller also described the title tag as a small search ranking factor.

The impact on the search ranking of the page and titles do not match

The person asking the question wanted to know if there was an impact on the ranking when titles are rewritten.

Here is the question about title tags and ranking:

“How does it affect search rankings when page and search titles don’t match?”

Often times we find that the page title has been shortened and our company name added as the title of the search results.

We sometimes add our company name at the end, but the problem is that this is for the whole title of our page and will limit what we can write in the title.

So the question is really is it better to have short titles that can be displayed in search results or is it better to keep the page titles we already have and let Google choose a different title? “


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Google’s John Mueller discussing the title element and rankings

How to write title tags

The point of the question is how to write the title tags and whether or not to have the name of the company, which could take up most of the space.

Mueller replied:

“I don’t think there is any explicit ‘what’s better’ on our side.”

Mueller then noted that the title tag is a “lowercase” ranking factor and that the purpose of writing a title tag should be to make it relevant to the subject of the page.


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Mueller continued his response:

“One of the things I think is worth keeping in mind is that we also use headlines as a tiny factor in our ranking.

So this is something where I wouldn’t necessarily do titles on your pages that are totally irrelevant.

Mueller then referred to a response from the same hangout on how to fix title tags that are rewritten by Google (read How to fix Google title tag rewrites).

He said:

“But you can try different things, much like I mentioned before.”

The page is what is used for ranking

John Mueller then stated that the web page is what is used for ranking purposes. He also said that whether or not to use the company name at the beginning or end of the title tag is a personal choice and he minimized any potential impact on rankings based on that choice.

Mueller explained:

“It’s not a critical issue if the title that we show in search results (we call those title links these days), if it doesn’t match what’s on your page, from our point of view. view is perfectly fine.

And we use what you have on your page when it comes to research.

So from this point of view it’s like you can put it right
in your title tag on your pages and maybe we’ll show it, maybe we’ll tweak it a bit.

But essentially your page is what we use as the basis for rankings.

And as to the name of the company or not, I think it depends a bit on you and a bit also on our algorithms in the sense that we see that users like to have a broader understanding of where this is coming from. fit page and sometimes a business name or brand name for the website makes sense to display there.

Some people choose to put it at the beginning or at the end, some people use different types of dividers.

From my perspective, I think it’s more a matter of personal taste and decor rather than anything about how the ranking works.

The title tag as a ranking factor

The search industry largely agrees that content is the most important factor, with title tags being part of the called group on the page (as opposed to meta-content that is not seen by the users).

It does not diminish the title tag’s status as a ranking factor to mean that it is a small ranking factor.

The fact that we know 100% for sure that the title element is a ranking factor makes it important because when it comes to Google search ranking factors very little is known for sure.

Search Engine Journal published a list of top ranking factors and the title tag incorporated it into the group of factors on the page.

Most major ranking factor surveys include title tags as a top ranking factor and for good reason because it is a ranking factor.

John Mueller characterizes it as a tiny ranking factor, which is an observation some in the SEO industry might disagree with.


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At one time, fifteen to twenty years ago, the title tag was a huge ranking factor. Not dumping your keywords in the title tag would essentially doom the site not to be eligible for rankings.

But like many things from fifteen to twenty years ago, this advice is outdated. These days, Google ranks websites that don’t have the exact keywords in the title tags.

Many players in the search industry are realizing this and have adjusted their estimate of the impact of title tags accordingly.

Nonetheless, there are some closely related beliefs in SEO and the belief that the title tag is a critical ranking factor is one such belief.

But it is important to learn where these beliefs come from and for how long, and to be prepared to adapt your beliefs to conform to the reality expressed in the research results.


Title tags are a small ranking factor

Watch Mueller talk about the title tags at 3:35 PM Minute Mark


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