When it comes to optimising your site for search there are a number of things you can do, including keywords, image optimisation and much more.
One of the things that can directly affect click through rates are meta titles and meta descriptions.
Quick Summary Of SEO And Why It’s Important
SEO (search engine optimisation) done correctly ensures your website is found by search engines like Google.
When you type something into Google the website’s algorithm tries to find the exact information you’re looking for. In order to do this, the algorithm searches things such as a matching word in the content, images that correlate with the query and of course, meta titles.
The ranking of webpages happens through various things such as the frequency of the keywords and the authority of the website.
However there needs to be a balance of quality with quantity, simply inserting a keyword numerous times is known as keyword stuffing, which Google punishes you for.
What Is A Meta Title?
Every article and specific web page on a website will have a meta title and description. These can be seen on Google or another search engines search page.
Below is an example to show you exactly what a meta title is, see red markings. After searching for ‘office acoustics’ the top 3 results are as illustrated. Instantly looking at the 3, they look as if they have been written deliberately for search purposes.
The top and bottom are more descriptive, making it easier for the searcher to know what content lies ahead if they click. Notice how the two companies that mention the company name, put it last.
In some cases the title tags are too long for Google, this could mean they were automatically populated or the person who created it didn’t have an SEO plugin to let them know the max character limit, which is 60.
Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag.
Below is an example of a title tag that’s too long, you can tell because Google adds an ellipses on the end. Title tags can also be too short which Google can find hard to categorise, so make sure you use the characters wisely to improve visibility.
Looking specifically at the examples selected it’s worth mentioning that the example above with the long title tag was found on page 2, as opposed to the other 3 which were the top 3 results on Google.
Although the one above mirrors the same title as the number 1 position the title tag alone is not enough to make it rank highly. A variety of contributing factors will make your web page rank highly, not just one thing done well, but several.
How To Write A Meta Title
As mentioned, your meta titles can be automatically populated by your website but they can be changed. However the automated title might help with inspiration.
You may want to add long or short term keywords within your title tag, which should reflect search terms but also represent the content on the actual page.
For example if one of the above links actually directed you to a product page of an acoustic panel used in studios then it’s not relevant, this will cause a high bounce rate which in turn will impact your rankings negatively.
Make sure you aren’t using words for the sake of it, unless your content truly focuses on it, or else your viewers will be disappointed when you don’t deliver. Don’t be afraid to have a different title tag to the title of your content, your meta title should be optimised to bring in more viewers.
What Are Meta Descriptions?
In addition to a meta title search engines allow for a short snippet of text to sit below the link offering additional information to the viewer, this is called a meta description. Again these can and are often automatically populated by text already on your web-page, normally from the main body copy.
The problem with this is you can normally tell straight away as it isn’t engaging or exciting to read, its also normally too long so again an ellipsis is inserted to demonstrate this.
Above is a perfect example of this, the first company talk about themselves to start with which doesn’t engage anyone, we this, we that. The second one however gets you involved straight away by asking a question and using ‘your’.
You can also tell it’s been written deliberately as it fits perfectly within the restrictions.
Think about addressing your audience as your aim is to get them to click and explore your website. Now is not the time to boast about how amazing your company is.
How To Write Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are normally two sentences long and they provide just enough information to entice you to find out more by clicking in.
Although meta descriptions do impact SEO, the keyword used does not get read by Google. The meta description is purely to encourage click through.
Meta descriptions can be 158 characters max, bear in mind that on mobile the max limit is around 120 so make sure your most important points are made first.
Things to include when writing a meta description is an action verb.
Examples include: discover, find out, learn, explore. You can include your primary keyword naturally but don’t focus on it too much. Make sure your description matches the content, don’t trick the user into clicking your link.
Another thing to point out is to make sure your meta descriptions are different for every single page.
Every company should work to improve their meta titles and descriptions. However it's more important for building product companies as there can be a lot of technical terminology and very industry specific keywords.
This gives your company an opportunity to be seen as the expert within your market as you talk about products and services confidently.
Improving your meta titles and descriptions is just one piece of the puzzle, SEO involves a variety of features to focus on. To find out more on how you can improve your website SEO get a free website health check.
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