Ladies and gentlemen,
I've been studying SEO and writing articles consistently for well over a year now and there are a ton of topics that still perplex me. One of them in particular is the "focused" keyword element in combined with the title tag, the description tag, H1 and H2 tags, etc. But today I wanted to focus on the actual element of the title tag.

For the sake of an example, I'll provide a brief about a recent article I covered. The article (and the title tag) was called: "A Sleeping Fan Sues MLB and ESPN". The focus keyword in the article I used was Rector, because the article makes several instances of the sleeping fan, "Andrew Rector" or primarily "Rector". As a matter of fact, the instance of this keyword was used 8 times throughout the article (hence being the most used word). Even in the description of the article I mentioned "Andrew Rector" at the very beginning.

But the ultimate question here is: Does the keyword "need" to be in the title tag to rank well?

I look forward to your input!

Recommended Answers

All 10 Replies

Yes, it needs to be! Right now Headlines, contexts, content are very important.

It definitely helps to have keywords in the title; usually a structure like Article Title : Site Name works good. But you have to be cautious about your use of keywords to make sure search engines don't view your site/page as one which is "keyword stuffing". Your goal should be to have between 3-7% related keywords on any page (including titles/headings/content). And the more variations on a keyword the better. Ie. if you knew people were mainly searching for brown dogs - you'd use dogs as the main keyword, brown dogs as a dual keyword phrase, or friendly brown dogs as a three word keyword phrase. Hope that helps.

search engine bots read and parse website text semanticly
If it makes no sense as plain language:
* to have the keyword in the title
* to leave the keyword out of the title
* to have a title that does not relate to the content
* to have content that does not relate to keywords
the bots will downgrade.
It all has to tie together, as conversational language

I remember reading that article and there are two things really interesting about his case study:
1) The case study still has some keywording, but a very low percentage;
2) Even though he isn't focused so much on keyword density that isn't to say that there aren't a hundred + other factors helping out his SEO (ie. really good quality backlinks because of the quality of his content). You see this alot with minimalist design studio websites where they have little or no content BUT rank extremely well because of the other factors.

But back to keywords since thats our topic at hand. I am not a huge believer in keyword density tools during the initial creation of content. However I still use them during my review phases along with copyright tools and everything else to ensure that my content is as original as possible and not violating anything that is going to get me nailed by any search engines (hey with 16 million websites going online monthly someday it might become hard to have 100% original content).

That being said my magic number is 5% for density, I know the maximum numbers alot of SEOs have pushed for awhile have been 7 and 9%. But I know that in this day in age every effective website must continually evolve if it wants to stay relevant and on top. So if the website has for example a social media script on it that retrieves status updates; well suddenly you can find yourself at a much higher keyword density if the right status update/tweet/etc pops up on the page. Maybe down the road they add a tag cloud, now again the keyword density rises. What if the marketing team decides to try out a new navigation menu to increase conversion rates? Suddenly you can find your navigation is now increasing the keyword density of that piece of content long after its written.

All that being said, end of the day it needs to be natural. You need to focus on the end user and not the search engines and I think in the next few years we are going to see that become an increasing priority.


The website in your link is far out of date, below best practice, and does not work properly,
do not rely on information from sources like that.

A web site purporting to offer SEO, design, optimising, ANY web services, has to be at best practice all the time

fixed, device-unfriendly, and table based welcome to the 80s

Google bing yahoo modify their algorithms frequently, with each iteration the importance of any static item is reduced.
Bots read Semantically, keyword stuffing is entirely negative, the unique, original, verifiable, text has to read as correctly spoken language

If you use keywords in the anchor text that would be quite promotional which will be easily traceable by google bots so instead try to avoid such article and write genuine article without any keyword stuffing for your anchor text.

Maybe one keyword can be used in the title tag since it would promote both the article and the keywords needed for optimization.

No no no; keywords in title tags need to be organically placed. For example, you have an article about "World's Worst SEO Companies"; your objective is to get visitors for this article. To put the name of the article in the title is fine because its organic - thats what the page is about and its unique to your website. To put for example: SEO, SEO Companies, World's Worst SEO Companies - Not a good practice.

And @couponsgrid; when you build a link you put an alt tag and the name of the link instead of the full url correct? I hope you do because it isn't 1995 and users kind of expect links to be somewhat short and pretty nowadays. As long as you aren't building "Seattle Based Web Design" followed by a link that says "Washington Web Design", etc etc internally on your website you're fine. Nothing wrong with having a link with keywords (as long as they are organic to the language the page is written in as almostbob mentioned) but best practices will tell you not to make the title or alt spammy in nature - it can be a fine line. Search Engine Crawlers scan links when they do their crawls by having 50 followed inbound links titled "Puppies for Sale" on various C-Blocks and Domains won't help you rank well for a completely unrelated set of keywords (ie. mexican restaraunt), because puppies for sale have nothing to do with restaraunts or mexican restaraunts. Most large search engines are smart enough to recognize these trends and its one minor part of how they decide which search queries to rank you in.

You can use one keyword in your article title tag that benifit for you. Write title tag eye catche that attract user or searchers.

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