Are title tags a Google ranking factor?


As the most visible component of Google’s search results pages (SERPs), page titles are considered to carry significant weight as a ranking factor.

Is it possible to overstate the impact of your title tags when it comes to improving search rankings?

There is no doubt that Google’s algorithm takes page titles into account.

Questions around page titles are:

  • The extent to which title tags are valued.
  • And how important they are to the overall search optimization picture of a website.

In this article, we aim to answer these questions by investigating various claims and reviewing official statements from Google.

The claim: title tags are a ranking factor

A page title is the text that appears in the tag in the element <head> of an HTML document.</p> <p>When performing a Google search, page titles are the largest and most visible element of a search snippet.</p> <p>The title of a page also appears in the browser tab after clicking on a search result.</p> <p>The importance of page titles in Google’s SERPs has led to persistent claims that they are a heavily weighted ranking factor.</p> <p>Is it possible that these claims are exaggerated?</p> <h2><span class="ez-toc-section" id="Proof_of_title_tags_as_a_ranking_factor"></span>Proof of title tags as a ranking factor<span class="ez-toc-section-end"></span></h2> <p>Google unquestionably uses the HTML title tag to understand what pages are about so they can rank them in search results.</p> <p>The Company’s Official SEO Getting Started Guide <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="https://developers.google.com/search/docs/beginner/seo-starter-guide#uniquepagetitles">recommended</a> unique, precise and brief but descriptive titles on all pages of a website.</p> <p>But when it comes to the strength of page titles as a ranking factor, evidence suggests they are only a weak signal.</p> <p>Google’s John Mueller <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfXGfvKJnPY#t=3450">declared</a> that page titles are not critical for rankings, at least in relation to the main content:</p> <blockquote> <p>” We are using [the title tag] for ranking, but it’s not the most critical part of a page. So it’s not worth stuffing it with keywords just to hope it works that way. »</p> </blockquote> <p>Muller <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FkSZIW6d48#t=980">keep clarifying</a> these page titles <strong>are</strong> important for SEO and they <strong>are</strong> a ranking factor.</p> <p>However, they are not so critical that redesigning a site’s page titles will cause a significant difference in ranking positions. He said:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Titles are important! They are important for SEO. They are used as a ranking factor. Sure, they’re definitely used as a ranking factor, but that’s not something where I’d say the time you spend polishing the title is really the best use of your time.</p> </blockquote> <p>Muller <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="https://youtu.be/QopJ7H5Fbk0?t=3431">broached this subject again</a> on another occasion, reiterating that page titles help Google understand what a page is about but are not essential in determining rankings.</p> <blockquote> <p>“…if you’re talking about ranking changes so strong that you see them globally, then I think just tweaking titles and meta tags won’t get you what you’re looking for. Changing titles and meta tags makes it easier for us to recognize what is actually on a page, but it won’t significantly change the overall visibility of the website.</p> </blockquote> <p>With all of this considered, it’s clear that page titles remain important for SEO.</p> <p>But in today’s hierarchy of ranking factors, title tags are far from the top.</p> <h2><span class="ez-toc-section" id="Title_Tags_as_a_Ranking_Factor_Our_Verdict"></span>Title Tags as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict<span class="ez-toc-section-end"></span></h2> <p><img loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-421474 aligncenter b-lazy pcimg" alt="Are title tags a Google ranking factor?" width="291" height="239" srcset="" src="https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/rf-confirmed30-61557d41e01f8-sej.png"/></p> <p><noscript><img src="https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/rf-confirmed30-61557d41e01f8-sej.png" alt="Are title tags a Google ranking factor?"/></noscript></p> <p>Page titles are a confirmed Google ranking factor, with evidence suggesting the strength ranges from mild to moderate.</p> <p>The title tag is a tool to communicate to Google the subject of a page.</p> <p>This helps crawlers understand which category the page fits into and what queries it may be able to answer.</p> <p>From there, Google uses more critical factors such as main content to determine a page’s ranking.</p> <p>To be on the safe side, it’s worth taking the time to write titles for each page.</p> <p>Websites can struggle to gain traction in search results without unique page titles as minimal optimization.</p> <hr/> <p><em>Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal</em></p> </div> </div><!-- .entry-content .clear --> </div> </article><!-- #post-## --> <nav class="navigation post-navigation" role="navigation" aria-label="Posts"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Post navigation</span> <div class="nav-links"><div class="nav-previous"><a 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