By Lyra Almoite
When Search Engine Optimization (SEO) took the world of content writing and digital marketing by storm, savvy content writers have become familiar with meta titles and meta descriptions. These two elements have become a very crucial piece in generating SEO friendly and click-worthy content.
While Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions won’t magically put your page on top of the search results, these two can increase the click-through rates. But what really are these two and how do they help create a traffic-driven content?
For starters, meta titles and meta descriptions tell the search engines and the users what your site is about, they describe the content of your site pages and how it relates to the user’s search queries.
Let us explain further.
Meta Titles Explained
Meta Titles are also known as title tags are HTML codes that provide a short description of the contents on each web page so that search mechanisms like Google can understand and interpret the content on each page.
Usually appearing at the top of the web page, an ideal meta title should pull the searcher to determine whether the particular result is informative enough to result in a click.
The set-up and selection of the right Meta-Title are important because it is the determining factor on whether a user will click on your link or move on to a more comprehensive one.
It is important to note that meta titles not only appear in search engines but in other external sites like social media and web browsers. They can also be saved as bookmarks and their links sent as emails.
Meta Titles are a vital part of Search Engine Optimization, if not set-up correctly, they can affect your web page visibility. Hence a limit of 60 characters for the Title alone, so that the search engine can read and interpret the HTML code correctly.
A well-written title tag should result in great search interpretations and more clicks from your target users.
Decoding Meta Descriptions
Meta Descriptions– this code is usually longer than that of the title tag. Meta descriptions are not restricted to search results but most times, the search engine will provide a smidgen of the description you provided, or a highlight of a keyword, to draw the user to click on your web page.
The meta descriptions code are designed to be more interpretive. Users get the chance to know more about what you have to offer. A great way to convince people to click on your web page once the search results appear.
Don’t be fooled by the longer word limit, Google uses truncation for longer descriptions. You may want to include all the relevant keywords at this stage, but vary your SEO placement to give the search engine room to work with a good number of keywords.
Here is how your HTML code should look like under each tag:
<title> your title here</ title >
< /head >
<meta name = “description” content = “add meta description</head >
The indexing process on the search engine results page takes a long period of time to reflect and update onto SERP. Which is exactly why you’re content should be accurate, because the coding process is considered “final” In some way.
Things To Consider When Writing Meta Tags:
1. The Title – should be relevant to the content on each web page to improve the user experience.
2. SEO – lead with important keywords to increase visibility during the interpretation of the code.
3. Duplication – check your content before uploading it in the description box. The HTML code cannot read repetition of description and hence will truncate the information, and lead to loss of data.
4. Length – Google uses pixels to decide how much of the description to display. That said, limit your title tag to 50-60 characters, but it is important to take note of the 600-pixel cut-off that Google will use to display.
With Meta descriptions:
1. Description – it is best to have different descriptions on each web page to enhance the user experience.
2. Call-to-Action – including this in your Meta description, compels the user to take action and they get to know the value-add if they do so.
3. Length is king – meta descriptions do not have a length restriction, but as mentioned earlier, Google must truncate the content, so it is best to keep it between 155-160 characters.
It is important to factor in the role that Meta Tags and Meta Descriptions play in attracting users to your webpage as we have highlighted above. Make sure you’re not just stuffing keywords in your description, craft a well-written and compelling title and description and make sure you’re testing how it looks on desktop and mobile as they are equally important. While Google can automatically generate snippets (meta description) for you, it is highly recommended to create one for your main pages like your homepage, about us, offers/product page. Keep in mind that this is not a shortcut to improve your rankings but rather an advertising model that can result in valuable clicks if done correctly.