What are Title Tags and meta descriptions? You may ask.
Title tags and meta description tags are the very first element that your visitors come across in the Search Engine Result Pages – SERPs – after typing in their search query. Needless to explain the importance of title tags and meta descriptions in terms of your Page Rank!
Well, we couldn’t resist, so we’re going to say it anyway… IT’S LITERALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING!
That’s right, the title tag and meta description are among the main criteria Google’s famous algorithm takes into account to rank your web pages.
So, what are the rules you should follow to make sure these tags are perfectly optimised? What are the mistakes you shouldn’t make? How can you make your title tags and meta descriptions appealing to both Google and your visitors? Find out all you need to know about writing title tags and meta descriptions!
How to write a Title tag for SEO?
What is a title tag, exactly?
It’s worth noting that the title tag matters to your pages’ optimisation on two levels. First, it needs to meet the standards stated in Google’s guide, all while providing Internet users with exactly what they are hoping to find for a given search.
Here are Google’s main rules when it comes to optimising your title tags. Following these guidelines will allow the Google bots to understand your pages better, and thus the query for which you want to rank!
- Include the keyword you are working on in your page’s title tag.
- Preferably, place the keyword phrase at the beginning of the title.
- Work on the topic’s semantic field within the page.
- Do not repeat the search query several times (risk of over-optimisation).
- Do not use the same title on several web pages (use a unique title).
- Favour good syntax over a list of keywords.
- Use a Google title tag checker.
*How long should title tags be? Your SEO title tag length should not exceed 60 characters. Otherwise, it may be shortened using suspension points and become less relevant to Google.
Here are a few tips to help you entice Internet users and increase your chances that one of them may click on your link (click-through rates) when confronted with the various results from the search engine.
- Put yourself in the shoes of an Internet user typing a query into the search bar.
- Identify the goals and needs that this search query entails.
Now pause… The hardest bit is done! Once you know exactly what the user is expecting to find from their search, answer their query in a clear, practical, and appealing way!
- Highlight the main argument associated with the query
- Include punctuation to make your title appear more lively
- Don’t hesitate to include business data
For instance, for a query such as “cheap furniture”, highlighting a 60% off promotion could be appealing. OK, here we go, an attractive title for this query could look something like this:
- Cheap Furniture: Enjoy a 60% discount on all products!
How to write a meta description for SEO?
Unlike the title tag, the meta description is only there to entice users as it is no longer part of Google’s ranking factors. What matters here is the indirect ranking effect which results from the fact that, if you offer a great experience to your visitors, then Google will consider this element when ranking you.
Longer than the title tag, the meta description is the former’s logical follow-up, which means you should elaborate on your ideas and arguments. Always keep in mind what the user is looking for instead of focusing on the phrase itself. Be sure to include a convincing call to action.
*How long should a meta description be? Your meta description length should not exceed 150 characters. It may otherwise be shortened using suspension points and become less relevant to Google.
To finish, let’s take the same example to continue optimising the keyword “cheap furniture” used above. Here is what a decent meta description could look like:
- Are you looking for high-quality, cheap furniture? All the best brands on the market await you, ready to be snagged at rock-bottom prices (60% off)!
Some tips to go further!
To go even further and clear away any doubts or set you on the right path, nothing is quite as effective as keyword research, which will help you understand all the ins and outs of a query. It also makes sense to analyse the semantic field and related queries.
- Perform related searches using Google’s Keyword Generator
- Analyse high-ranking websites in the Google search results (first 2 pages)
- Use semantic analysis tools to familiarise yourself with the semantic field
- Don’t hesitate to brainstorm ideas as a team to compare insights
Sometimes, the way we perceive and understand a query is not actually realistic, which is why it’s so important to rely on quality SEO tools to help you fine-tune your selection of keywords.
Google will always rank the website that answers the user’s question in the most satisfactory manner. Hence the importance of title tags and meta descriptions, which should be optimised to perfection.
The idea is to find out what lies beyond the queries, well past the mere definition of the keywords users type in. If you manage to meet all of Google’s requirements while offering the kind of content that users enjoy, then you’ll have the most likely recipe to boost your rank in the search results.
To sum up, any SEO strategy should start with these reflections, as the contents of your website will also need to meet these constraints. The contents of a landing page should indeed be entirely in line with the very first information your users are exposed to through your title and meta description tags. Failing that, you’ll run the risk of disappointing your visitors, which is sure to have a negative impact on your ranking performance.