How to write the perfect Meta Title and description
You have a great business and a slick website, now all you need is traffic. Of course, you want your website to be found easily, to attract the most relevant visitors and to encourage traffic that will translate to revenue. To achieve these aims there are two key audiences you need to please.
For business owners, the point of having a website is to attract visitors who will hopefully go on to become paying customers; it’s your online shop window and the heart of every online marketing campaign you run. For potential visitors to even know your website exists, it firstly must be visible and attractive to search engines.
Our web experts will tell you that the Meta Title is the most important part of the page for search engines. This is the key element in giving search engines the information they need to accurately assess the content on your page. You can make it easy for them by creating a short summary that captures the key information as clearly as possible. Each page should have its own title, with enough information for the searcher to know exactly what to expect if they click on your link.
A good Meta Title will be one short sentence, here are the top three things to remember:
- Keep it short; aim for 55 characters or less, to prevent Google from automatically shortening it.
- Make it relevant; a good Meta Title will help search engines identify what is on the page, this is especially useful when using paid services such as Google AdWords, in avoiding worthless clicks.
- Make it readable; avoid the urge to just list the main keywords for the page – this will make your page more likely to appear ‘spammy’.
In addition to the obvious SEO benefits of a good title, there are also the potential visitors to consider. A clear title for each page will help them to decide whether it’s worth a click, or not, when the page is presented in their search results; so, it’s important to get it right.
When you have the Meta Title covered, next you need to consider the Meta Description. This is a short introduction to the page; you may also have seen it called a ‘snippet’.
The Meta Description should be based on the brief information you have already included in the Meta Title. Again, the purpose is to provide information about what is on each page, but this time, in a little more detail. You can also use the Meta Description as an opportunity to reach out to your audience through the search results; for instance, you could give a stronger sales pitch, or even include a direct call-to-action to encourage clicks. This could be directives such as “click here for your guide to…” or “find out how to…” or a clearer instruction such as “contact us now…”.
Your Meta Description, or snippet, will be a key element in getting the most relevant traffic onto your site. Here are our top three tips to getting the best results:
- Make it count; include your most relevant keywords and information.
- Make sense; use whole sentences, write clearly and do check your spelling and grammar. Avoid just posting a list of words, as this will devalue your content.
- Keep it brief; aim for 150-160 characters of relevant information to avoid it being truncated in the results. Also, remember that many readers will only skim through search results quickly, before deciding which to choose, so get that important information in early.
If you’re stretched and don’t have enough time to create a unique Meta Description for all of the pages on your website, resist the urge to use a generic outline and copy/paste it for each one. This can lead to your site being penalised by Google and could affect your visibility in results. The good news is, if you leave the Meta Description blank, Google will automatically create one for you. The Google-generated Meta Description will include the keywords it decides are most appropriate for each page.
When beginning the process of making your website easier to find, it’s always worth doing your homework first. Make a list of what your ideal customers are looking for when thinking about which keywords and descriptions might work best. You can then cross reference this with online research that will help you to decide which will be most effective. There is even guidance available from Google that is free to access if you sign up for an AdWords account. (You can find out more at https://adwords.google.com.)
All websites we build at MXMG are based on a Content Management System, (CMS). This makes it very easy to add a Meta Title or Description to any webpage; we can also provide clear, expert advice about optimising your site for search engines. Contact us for more information here.