85% of titles feature keywords in Positions 1-5 of Google

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85% of titles feature keywords in Positions 1-5 of Google

Title tags that include keywords rank in the top 5 positions of Google 85% of the time.

That’s according to new research on title tags and meta descriptions shared with Search Engine Land by enterprise SEO platform BrightEdge.

Why we care. While you probably won’t find that 85% number too shocking, it’s always good to revisit fundamental SEO elements like title tags and meta descriptions to confirm whether your data indicates keyword usage (or lack of) could possibly be impacting your ranking. Yes, you can rank for a keyword without ever using that keyword on your page. But clearly, that happens more rarely.

Other key elements. Aside from the correlation between keywords in title tags and positioning:

  • 95% of pages ranking in the top 10 have meta descriptions.
  • 90% of the rankings in the top 1-5 consistently capitalize, using either title or sentence case (e.g., capitalizing brand/product names) in titles and meta descriptions.
  • 25% of pages that appear lower in search results are more likely to have grammar errors in their titles and/or meta descriptions. (However, Google has repeatedly indicated that grammar isn’t likely a ranking signal, most recently in 2017.)

100% agreement. I never thought I’d see the day when an SEO survey found one thing everybody could agree with, but here it is: 70% of enterprise marketers believe having correct titles and meta descriptions is a key priority, while the other 30% of respondents said it was either important or very important.

That’s 100% of respondents agreeing that having correct title tags and meta descriptions is important. Zero respondents selected “neutral” or “not a major priority.”

Hours invested. Writing title tags and meta descriptions remains a significant time investment for enterprise marketers. Every week:

  • 50% invest 4-6 hours.
  • 30% invest 7-9 hours.
  • 20% invest 1-3 hours.
Title Meta Descriptions Time Priority

About this research. It is a combination of an analysis of 10,000 keywords across various major verticals (including finance, retail, travel, insurance) and a survey of 300 enterprise marketers. Both were conducted this month.

But. Correlation is not causation. Keywords are just one single ranking signal and may or may not be the reason why some webpages appear in the top 5 positions of Google.

New on Search Engine Land

About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo – SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events. Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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