When it comes to the Title Tag way too many Search Engine Optimization Professionals are under the impression that the only thing they have to do is put their keyword phrase into the title. Then they buy a few links with their keyword in the anchor text and think they are done.
This is a false assumption. Ranking at the top of the search results in popular search engines is still possible without putting the keyword in the title. Certain off-page SEO factors allow this to be possible, but that is for later.
It is a fact that titles no longer carry quite as much weight when it comes to ranking as they once did. Some people would say “I can achieve number one rankings for long tail keywords simply by using the Title Tag.” The truth is anyone can outrank anyone without using their keyword phrase within the Title Tag, or anywhere else on the page for that matter. The only thing the person has to do is use the correct incoming links.
This is for people who are still under the impression that the title tag has not lost its value. Here is an example, using the search phrase “Job Search.” Over half of the results in the search contain this keyword, but that doesn’t mean it is vital to ranking. JobSearch.com actually has the keyword within the title. Observe, the Monster website holding the number one result does not have the keyword in the title.
Another example would be to do a search for “search engine.” It will show that all of the results that are displayed do not have the keyword anywhere in the title.
Most would just think that the only reason those websites can be at the top of the search results without the title in the keyword is because they are such big, strong, and reputable sites. Zero out of the ten websites in the search results has the keyword in the title when a search is done for “hotel discounts.”
Another example of these exceptions where a smaller not so strong website ranks in the top ten search results would be the keyword “online computer store.” It is clear that out of the ten websites on the first page in this search, none of them have the keyword in their title.
Here are a few more examples of this:
- “Find a job.” One out of ten websites on the first page use the keyword in their title.
- “Online transcription service.” Zero websites for this search use the keyword in their title.
- “Discount books.” A total of two websites in the search results use the keyword in the title.
- “Disney vacation Orlando.” Zero websites within the top ten results are using the keyword in their title.
- “Home repair.” Only two websites use this keyword in their title when a search is performed.
On the flipside, there are lots searches that can be done with various keywords and all of the websites in the top ten results will have the keyword in their title. An example of this would be “used cars.”
The point here is not to convince anyone not to use their keyword in the title. The point here is to allow people to think outside of the box a little bit. This enables a person to stand out from the crowd in the search results. Thinking of ways to stand out is much easier once a person understands that the Title Tag does not completely control their ranking, and keywords do not always have to be used in the title for great ranking.
It is believed that Google has been messing around with the Title Tags for a website recently. Google has been changing the Title Tags on some websites to something they think is more relevant. If Google actually started to ignore titles tags that are optimized, that can seriously change the way search engine professionals think, work and optimize. Most SEO professionals believe the title tag to be the number one element when it comes to on-page optimization. Google might start treating the title tag as a meta-description. I believe that the importance of on-page optimization will become increasingly more important when ranking in Google and other search engines in the future.
Fred Meek is a professional Search Engine Optimization consultant with MindBOX SEO in Austin Texas.