Organic traffic is king. If you can get your website to rank on the 1st page of Google, you are able to bring in lots of free traffic to your site. But getting your site to rank is only half the battle. Once you are ranking, you need to have a compelling meta title and meta description to get people to actually click on your website.
In this blog, we will provide you with some best practices to help you write killer meta titles and meta descriptions that have been proven to work. Keep in mind that these are not laws about how things have to be done. If you are feeling creative, you can certainly mix things up.
What are Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions?
Before we get in too deep, let’s be sure to cover the basics. Meta titles and meta descriptions are HTML text that describes the contents on a particular web page. Each page on your website will have its own unique meta title and meta description. These HTML texts are all metadata written in the page’s code, and may not show up on the page itself.
The primary purpose of this metadata is to give search engines (like Google) additional information about what your page is about. By adding this metadata to your page’s copy, you make it easy for the search engine’s crawlers to read your website. Which is rewarded with a better rank for the page itself.
The second purpose of this metadata is to set expectations for the people who find your web page in the search results. Here is an example so you see what we are talking about:
How To Write a Strong Meta Title
Most sites will make their meta title the same as the title of their page (ex. Home, About, Products). But this is not necessarily the best approach for SEO. Instead, we recommend that you make your title descriptive of what the page contains. In the example above, you see our KWSM: a digital marketing agency home page metadata. We rewrote our title to say “Digital Marketing Agency Orange County” instead of “Home.” We landed on this keyword by doing extensive keyword research and identified that this phrase is searched fairly often online.
Best Practices for Meta Titles
- Keyword Research: There are free keyword research tools (like the Google Keyword Planner) that will help you identify keywords that are searched most often. Use frequently searched keywords to make your title closely match the search terms people type in.
- Character Limit: Most search engines will only show the first 60 characters for your title. That said, be sure to use your most important keywords first. If you have a very long company name (like KWSM), don’t worry too much about it being cut off.
- Add Numerical Values: This is especially important for blog topics. Find ways to incorporate numerical values into your titles. People generally search phrases appended with the current year (ex. “2020”) in search of the most recent information. Adding numerical values like “5 Steps” or “10 Tips” has also proven to generate more clicks!
How To Write a Strong Meta Description
Since the meta description falls right below your meta title, this is usually seen as the “hook” to get the reader to click. This section holds significantly less SEO value, so you should be more focused on optimizing this for the individual people scrolling through the search results.
Best Practices for Meta Descriptions
- Watch character limits: You will have slightly more characters for this section. Most search engines will cut you off at 160 characters. But don’t waste too much time cutting it down, since it is important to remain conversational. You may want to consider using an “&” instead of writing out “and” to save yourself a few characters!
- Keep it conversational: Make sure you maintain your brand voice and tone in this section. Find a way to naturally include your primary keyword in a sentence, instead of listing it out. We generally find that writing in an active voice works best.
- Include a Call-to-Action: We have seen many websites give it all away in the description, giving no incentive for the user to click on the link. Switching the description to be more of a pitch instead of a description makes a world of a difference with your click-through rate.
Bonus Tip: Add Alt-Tags
The alt tag is a strategic way to provide the search engine crawlers with context about your web page and provide a better description of the image being displayed. The alt-tag text box will be indexed along with the rest of the web page and displayed under the Images tab of Google search results. Stuff it with keywords and you will have a much easier time showing up in the top search results, driving traffic to your website.
Learn more about alt-tags and why you need them here.
Need Help Implementing Your Metadata?
KWSM: a digital marketing agency has a skilled team of SEO specialists who will be able to help ensure your metadata is filled out and meets all SEO best practices. This will give your website the highest chances of getting found online.
To learn more about our services, please contact us.
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