During the last webmaster hangout, a Google employee John Mueller stated that title tags are a strong signal. They help you understand what each section of the page is about.
For example, one of the webmasters asked if it would matter to Google if a page uses the H2 heading tag instead of H1. Specifically, will a page without an H1 heading still rank for topics of keywords that are contained in the H2 heading.
Müller replied in the affirmative:
“Sure. I don’t know if she will continue to rank, but she definitely can. “
He went on to refer to title tags as a ranking factor, but recalled that Google uses a large number of different factors:
“The titles on the page help us better understand the content of the page. But that’s not the only ranking factor we have. We’re also looking at the content itself. However, sometimes having a clear title on the page gives us a little more information about what this section is about. “
Title tags are also important for image searches, he said.
“Images are not text. We cannot automatically know for which requests we should show them. And that’s why the text on the landing page is also important to us. “
Continuing with his answer, Mueller noted that title tags are a strong signal:
“When it comes to on-page text, the headline is a really strong signal that tells us that this part of the page is related to that topic.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of headers the webmasters use – H1, H2 or H5. Importantly, they make it easier for Google to understand which topic each subsection covers.
You can listen to the question to Mueller and his answer to it in the video below:
As a reminder, in June, John Mueller said that from Google’s perspective, H1 headlines are useful but not critical. Therefore, pages will rank without them.
Earlier in April, he noted that adding too many headings to a page is a waste of time.