Do title tags affect SEO? John Muller Explains

Google’s John Mueller answers questions about “Do title tags affect SEO and search rankings” on YouTube Hangouts.

He explained if rewriting title tags affects rankings, and how adding a company name at the beginning, end, or end can affect rankings.

Mueller also explains the title tag as a tiny search ranking factor.

Also read: google title update

Is SEO ranking impacted when titles are rewritten?

The person asking the question wanted to know if the ranking was affected when the title was rewritten.

This is the question about title tags and SEO ranking:

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

Often we experience that the page title has been shortened and our company name added to the search results title.

We do add our company name to the end sometimes but the concern is that this is to all our page title and will limit how much we can write in the title.

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

Also read: Is Lighthouse good for SEO?

How to Write SEO Optimized Title Tags ?

The focus of the question is on how to write title tags and whether or not there is a company name that can take up a lot of space.

Mueller answered:

“I don’t think there is any explicit, “what is better” from our side.”

Mueller further pointed out that title tags are a “small” ranking factor, and the focus of creating title tags should be to be relevant to the topic of the page.

Mueller continued his answer:

“One of the things I think is worthwhile to keep in mind is we do use titles as a tiny factor in our rankings as well.

So it’s something where I wouldn’t necessarily make titles on your pages that are totally irrelevant.”

Next, Mueller saw the response from the same Hangouts on how to fix Google’s rewritten title tag.

Muller said:

“But you can try different things out, kind of like I mentioned before.”

Also read: page title seo best practices

What is used for ranking purposes?

John Mueller further stated that this website’s web page is being used for ranking purposes.

He also said that using the company name at the beginning or end of the title tag is a personal choice and downplays the potential impact on rankings based on that choice.

Mueller explained:

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

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

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

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

And with regards to the company name or not, I think that’s a little bit up to you and a little bit also in our algorithms as well in that we do see that users like to have an understanding of the bigger picture of where does this page fit and sometimes a company name or a brand name for the website makes sense to show there.

Some people choose to put it in the beginning or in the end, some people have different kinds of separators that they use.

From my point of view I think that’s more a matter of personal taste and decoration rather than anything related to how ranking would work.”

Also read: google is rewriting title tags in serps

Is title tag a ranking factor?

The search industry almost agrees that content is the most important ranking factor, and title tags are included there as part of a group called on-page (as opposed to meta-content that is not visible to the user).

Even though it is a small ranking element, it does not lower the status of the title tag as a ranking factor.

The fact that you know 100% certainty that a title element is a ranking element is important because there is little known as certainty when it comes to Google search ranking factors.

The search engine journal has published a list of top ranking factors, and the title tag has been published as part of the page’s factor group.

Most top ranking factor surveys include title tags as top ranking factors because they are ranking factors.

John Mueller characterizes this as a small ranking factor.

This is an observation that some parts of the SEO industry may disagree.

Once 15 or 20 years ago, title tags were a major ranking factor.

If you don’t include keywords in the title tag, you’re essentially blaming sites that aren’t eligible for ranking.

But like many 15 or 20 years ago, the advice is outdated.

Today, Google ranks sites that don’t contain the exact match keywords in their title tags.

Many in the search industry are aware of this and are optimizing their title tag impact estimates accordingly.

However, there is a particular SEO belief that is firmly held, and the belief that title tags are an important ranking factor is one of those beliefs.

However, it is important to know where those beliefs came from and how long ago they came from, and be willing to adapt those beliefs to the reality expressed in the search results.

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