Title tags and meta descriptions are often treated as an afterthought, if not neglected entirely. But these elements are extremely important factors for your onpage SEO, and ignoring them can mean big trouble. Effectively using title and meta tags may not sound like a glamourous or exciting part of SEO, but the benefits of using them correctly will be seen in your pagerank and click-through rates.
And that’s something to get excited about.
How to Write the best Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT TITLE TAGS
The title tag is one of the most influential and important parts of your onpage SEO. Your page title tags are the overall label for your page content. Title tag information is:
Visible at the top of a web browser
The headline that first appears in a search engine result
Writing an optimized title tag gives potential site visitors a concise description of your page content, and tells search engines what keywords you want to rank for.
The Do’s and Don'ts of Optimizing Title Tags
The perfect title tag will be original, relevant, descriptive, short and sweet, and most importantly, will use keywords strategically.
DO: USE ORIGINAL TITLE TAGS
Every page on your website should be unique, and so will each page title. Give each page a unique title that reflects the targeted keywords and unique content on that page.
DO: LEAD WITH KEYWORDS
The closer a keyword is to the beginning of your title tag, the more influence it has. Your title tag keywords should be used in order of importance. According to Search Engine Land, the words used in your title tag are so potent that search engines can place the most value on the first word, and less value on the second, and so on in descending order.
DO: MAKE TAGS READABLE
The title tag shows up as the main header on your search engine result, and appears on browser tabs and as the title for saved bookmarks, so make it readable. Write your tags in a natural, descriptive manner that will appeal to human readers, not just for search engines.
DO: USE PIPES TO SEPARATE WORDS
You can separate keywords in a title using commas, underscores, or hyphens, but the pipe is the best separator. When you use a pipe ( | ) to separate words in a page title, it tells search engines that phrases on either side of it are of equal importance. When you use a comma, however, it separates the phrases but does not restart the weighting process. The words used after a comma are not considered important.
For Example: Title Tags | On-page SEO Tips | GrowDnD
DO: PLACE YOUR BRAND LAST
Your brand name can appear in your title tag, but it should come after relevant keywords, product names, or product categories. The exception to this is brands such as Amazon, where the brand name itself is a high-ranking keyword.
For Example: Product Name | Short Product Description | Your Brand
DO: WRITE SHORT, CONCISE TITLES
The general length of a title tag should be between 55 and 60 characters. Google will only display the first 512 pixels of a title on a search result, so a short and concise title tag is best.
However, according to Search Engine Land, the algorithm will read and understand your entire title tag, even if it is longer than this. If you can’t shorten your title to fit within this 512 px limit, put the best information in the first 55 characters.
DON’T: STUFF KEYWORDS
The golden rule of on-page SEO, don’t overuse keywords, also applies to title tags. Reusing the same keyword seven times in a title tag will turn off potential visitors, and raise a giant red flag to search engines.
DON’T: REPEAT TITLE TAGS IN H1 TAGS
Both your title tags and H1 tags relay relevant keyword information to search engines, but that doesn’t mean they should be identical. Remember that search engines are not just looking for the keywords on your pages, they are also trying to determine the intent behind every search to deliver the most relevant results.
Identical title and H1 tags may not hurt your SEO ranking, but they are a lost opportunity to better present the purpose of your specific page.
Search engines don’t rank websites, they rank individual pages within sites. Treat each page accordingly, and give your title tags as much thought and attention as your page content. Title tags are an extremely important page rank factor of which you have complete control.
Everything you need to know about Meta Descriptions
Meta tags aren’t important to search engine rankings, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be important to you.
The meta description is a short description of your page, and your best opportunity to attract a searcher to your site. This short paragraph is displayed in the SERP, and it is a direct communication with searchers that lets them know if your page will deliver the information they are searching for.
Your page meta descriptions are one of your first opportunities to make a good impression on potential website visitors. It should warmly welcome visitors, compel them to see what you have to offer, and be a sneak-peek offering the specific information they are looking for.
Meta Description are all about Click-Throughs
Your meta description may not directly affect your pagerank, but it does so indirectly. Backlinko lists organic CTR (click-through rate) for a keyword as part of their complete list of Google’s ranking factors.
When you write amazing meta descriptions, you can improve your CTA and have a positive effect on your ranking. The meta description is the most important tool you have for improving CTR from the search results page.
With a great meta description you can get all the clicks, even if you aren’t in the first position on the SERP.
The Do’s and Don’ts of writing Amazing Meta Descriptions
Your meta descriptions should give searchers a reason to click-through to your site, with unique compelling copy, intelligent use of keywords, and relevance to their search.
DO: KEEP IT CONCISE
The optimal length of a meta description is 150-156 characters. This gives you a bit more space to communicate with searchers than in your page title or URL, but still ends up being only about 2 sentences of text. If your meta is any longer, it will get cut off mid-sentence on the SERPs.
DO: USE YOUR KEYWORDS
Using keywords in your meta descriptions will show searchers that you have information relevant to their search. Google will bold words that match the searcher's keywords, so leading with your keywords in your meta description may catch a searcher’s attention as they scan through their query results.
DO: TELL THEM WHAT TO EXPECT
Your meta description should provide a brief accurate explanation of what your page content is about. Introduce searchers to what they will be getting if they click on the result. Think of it like a book synopsis written on the back cover - giving enough information to compel the reader to open it up and take a look.
DO: PROVIDE A BENEFIT
Want searchers to click-through? Give them a clear benefit of clicking through to your page. Let them know what solution or benefit your content provides. Your content is valuable, informative, and addresses their pain points. Be sure to let them know.
DO: ENCOURAGE ACTION
Your meta description is an ideal place for a call-to-action. After all, you want a searcher to click through and learn, read, discover, or find out more. To make your meta descriptions clickable, use your best persuasive copywriting skills to invite a response and urge action from searchers.
DO: LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE
There is an art to the perfect meta description. You need to provide enough information to show a searcher that you have the answer they are looking for, but you don’t want to give them everything. If you answer a searcher’s question completely, there will be no reason for them to click-through to your site. Spark their curiosity, and then invite them in for more.
DON’T: KEYWORD STUFF
Keyword use should be relevant and casual. Stuffing keywords into your meta description will feel forced, and won’t inspire trust from searchers.
DON’T: PROMISE WHAT YOU DON’T DELIVER
A deceiving meta description will just lead to an increase in your bounce rate. Don’t promise something in your meta that your content doesn’t deliver.
DON’T: USE QUOTATIONS
Google will cut off quotation marks, so avoid them when writing your meta descriptions.
Your title tags and meta descriptions deserve as much thought and attention as any other aspect of your page. Use them well, and you can please both searchers and search engines, improving your pagerank and your click-through rate.