85% of titles featuring keywords rank in Positions 1-5

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.

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.

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