Google Says Title Tags No Longer a Critical Ranking Signal

CEO Approved Content

CEO Approved Content

Google’s up to making changes again. This time, it’s not an algorithm change though. Learn how Google wants you to write title tags for high rankings.

Up until recently, the most effective way to optimize a title tag was to have the keyword near the beginning. And at exactly the beginning if possible.

For example, let’s say your keyword was “Dallas furniture company.”

Your title tag would work best for search rankings when written like this:

“Dallas Furniture Company with the Biggest Selection.”

Simple, right?

Google’s John Mueller Muddies the Issue, and Then Clarifies It

Sorry, we don’t have access to Matt Cutts anymore. If you don’t know Matt, he was Google’s most publicly accessible figure on everything SEO. On July 3, 2014, Matt said he was going on leave to spend more time with his wife. He said he’d be on leave for a “few months,” but still no word from Matt here yet in February 2016. In the meantime, Google’s replaced him with several people, none of whom are public figures.

So now, John Mueller’s one of Google’s go-tos for SEO advice. His first response to how Google views title tags went like this:

“We use that just as a part. I think it’s not like the primary ranking factor of a page, to put it that way.”

“I think?” I THINK that’s not too convincing of an answer!

Fortunately, John went on to clarify:

“We do use it for ranking, but it’s not the most critical part of a page. So it’s not worthwhile filling it with keywords to kind of hope that it works that way.”

He also said stuffing keywords in title tags results in a bad search experience. And Google works actively on dealing with that.

He continued to explain the page content was much more important than the title tag. He even said at one point that Google would still find a way to rank a web page without any title tag at all. But he did note that was not the case for content.

FYI, you can read the whole story in detail at Search Engine Roundtable.

So What Should You Do with Your Title Tags Today?

Just so you know, my copywriter’s been doing title tags this more search-friendly way for some time. Think of Google’s search results as a replacement for your phone book’s Yellow Pages.

If you said,”Dallas Furniture Store | Furniture in Dallas | Dallas Furniture Company,” how would that look in the Yellow Pages?

Kinda weird, right?

Title tags today should include the keyword. But you should focus on writing a persuasive headline first.

For example:

“Furniture Company in Dallas with Beautiful Oak Furniture”

That sounds like something your customers might want: “beautiful oak furniture.” And it gets the keyword in too, without being too obvious: “Furniture Company in Dallas.”

Google’s happy. Searchers are happy.

It’s a win-win.

Today, and going forward, that’s how all your title tags should be.

Joshua Cabe Johnson

Joshua Cabe Johnson

Joshua Cabe Johnson has been an SEO since 2008. He has personally helped over 1000 clients with online visibility and brand strategy for SEO growth.

Visual rankings has been helping small business owners online since 2002.

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