Whitey - 7:56 am on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: Whitey at 8:50 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2010]
I did some more digging around and noticed that sites with exact phrases in the meta titles, were slightly better than those with the phrases in the content. But only just.
On top of this i noticed the phrase on the better sites were contained in the URL , had matching internal link phrases and H1's with the phrase.
The better sites had higher quality backlinks into the site , but not into the site's pages.
The others simply had the phrases in the body of their content.
Given the very minor benefit all of this optimisation had on the better sites , I'm willing to bet that the only factors that mattered were the authority the sites had.
Anything with low authority , i feel will be ignored, or receive a low score using these tactics.
... I went away and did some more digging. Strange things :
A UK University page with a strong authority ranking ( sorry TBPR6 , linked from home page and with external links ) ranks No 1 in the UK for it's exact unique phrase contained in the meta title in Google.co.uk.
In the US it ranks 10. Similar story elsewhere. Yet there is no reason for it not to rank No1 anywhere in the World , especially as the phrase contains it's name.
So there appear to be some miscellaneous geographical factors playing into this as well.
Links? Place names ? Some attempt by Google to try geographic relevance whilst overiding the content quality maybe and indeed the meta title . Things seem a bit awry.
[edited by: Whitey at 8:50 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2010]