Does Keyword Count In The Title Affect Ranking?

by: Jon Ricerca

Almost all SEO's agree that having your keywords in the "title" tag is important for ranking

Is it? We decided to answer this extremely simple question for the two leading search engines using a simple statistical analysis. We also decide to find out if repeating your keyword more than once was a factor in ranking.

The methodology: I gathered the results of the queries that were naturally performed last month by myself and three associates using the two leading search engines and analyzed them. I had to visit each page and count the number of times the keyword (the search term) was used between the title and /title tags. Those keyword counts were then tabulated for the first 10 rankings and finally converted into a normalized "ranking correlation". The results for each of the two leading search engines were kept separate so that we could discover any differences between the two leading search engines for this factor.

The resulting graphs show each keyword count normalized into a number between -100 and +100 showing the likelihood of being ranked higher/lower. A value of +100 shows that all 10 rankings were in the proper order to show that pages of the studied value ALWAYS rank HIGHER than pages of another value. A value of -100 shows that all 10 rankings were in the proper order to show that pages of the studied value ALWAYS rank LOWER than pages of another value. Numbers in between show the varying likelihood of rankings proportionally between -100 and +100.

That is the number you see on the Y-axis. On the X-axis, we have the keyword counts from 1 to 3. I stopped at 3 because the number of sites found with the keyword repeated more than 3 times in the title were too few to consider statistically valid. Here are the graphs for each of the two leading search engines:

The result is very conclusive. Both leading search engines rank sites having a keyword count of two (2) in the title higher than pages having any other number of keywords in the title tag.

Notes:

1. Over 4,000 queries and over 40,000 sites were examined for this study.

2. There was no exercise to attempt to isolate different keywords. I merely took a random sampling of the queries performed by myself and three associates during the month.

Conclusion:

Pages with a keyword count of two (2) between the title and /title tag rank higher than pages of other keyword densities on both of the leading search engines.

This is merely a correlation study, so it cannot be determined from this study whether the leading search engines purposefully entertain this factor or not. The actual factors used may be far distant from the factor we studied, but the end result is that these search engines do, in fact, rank pages with the search term (keyword) repeated twice in the title higher than pages with other keyword counts used in the study.

Jon Ricerca is one of the leading researchers and authors of the Search Engine Ranking Factor (SERF) reports at SearchEngineGeek.com. For access to the other SERF reports, please visit: http://www.SearchEngineGeek.com