Last week, I upset some people by the words I used in my headline of my story which read Google: Title Tags Are Not A Critical Ranking Signal. Truth is, John Mueller of Google said it and he is sticking with it. The word "critical" is the issue here. Critical in his mind is you cannot rank without it, but you can rank without title tags in Google.
I said, titles aren’t the most critical ranking factors anymore and suddenly everyone got excited and said, oh my god, titles aren’t...
Titles are important! They are important for SEO. They are used as a ranking factor. Of course, they are definitely used as a ranking factor but it is not something where I’d say the time you spend on tweaking the title is really the best use of your time.
So that is something where if you are focusing only on titles in SEO, if your SEO agency work is essentially going to people’s sites and say we will strip out all titles and rewrite them to include all the relevant keywords and you will rank ten places higher, that is not going to happen.
Here is the video embed:
So yes, titles are used by Google as a ranking signal. They are 100% important. But you can rank without using them.
Forum discussion at Google+.