Are keyword heavy titles a problem?
 by Stephen Mahaney

Are keyword heavy titles a problem?

  • I'm wondering if you can help settle an issue I'm having with a client. He's been trying to get me to list a bunch of keywords within the title tags on some of his product pages. My concern is that loading up title tags with keywords will look spammy and might lead to penalties. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer:

Well, your client might not be wrong in this case. Google's John Mueller recently addressed this very issue in a recent Google Search Central SEO live stream. He said that it's a common practice that's not against webmaster guidelines.

According to John,

...it's not against our webmaster guidelines. So it's not something that we would say is problematic.

I think at most, it's something where you could improve things if you had kind of like a better fitting title, because we understand the relevance a little bit better. And I suspect the biggest improvement with a title, in that regard there, is that if you can create a title that matches what the user is actually looking for, then it's a little bit easier for them to actually click on the search result, because they think, oh, this really matches what I was looking for.

Whereas if you're looking for, I don't know, flower delivery Brighton, and as a title in the search results you see flowers, green flowers, yellow flowers, blue flowers, Brighton, and all of the cities nearby, then you might look at that and say, well, is this, I don't know, some SEO result? Or is this actually a business that will do a good job and create some nice flowers for me?

So that's something where I almost think it's more a matter of improving the click-through rate, rather than improving the ranking. And if with the same ranking you get a higher click-through rate because people recognize your site as being more relevant, then that's kind of a good thing.

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