Optimising metadata is a crucial tactic in SEO content marketing that can often be overlooked. However, page titles and meta descriptions shape how content is perceived and ranked, impacting a site’s overall visibility, click-through-rates and overall user engagement.
In this guide, we’ll look at exactly how meta titles and descriptions can impact SEO. We’ll also provide top tips on writing metadata so that you can make the most of your on-site content.
Metadata in SEO refers to the additional information embedded in a webpage’s HTML code that provides crucial details about the content to search engines. It helps search engines understand the context and relevance of a page’s content, ultimately influencing its ranking in search results. There are three main types of metadata in SEO: meta titles, meta descriptions, and meta tags. The meta title is a concise and accurate representation of the page’s topic, while the meta description provides a brief summary. Meta tags, on the other hand, offer specific information about various aspects such as keywords, authorship, and viewport settings. Optimising metadata is essential for effective SEO, as it not only enhances a page’s visibility but also encourages users to click through by providing a clear and enticing preview of the content.
Impact of Meta Titles in SEO
Meta titles, also known as a page title, can influence a webpage’s search engine ranking and user click-through rates. A well written meta title summarises content on a page, providing both search engines and users with a clear understanding of its relevance to a particular query. Search engines use meta titles as a primary factor in determining the topic and context of a webpage, directly influencing its position in search results. A compelling meta title not only boosts a page’s visibility but also entices users to click on the link by offering a glimpse of the information they can expect to find. A strategic and keyword-rich approach to creating meta titles is integral to the overall success of SEO efforts, driving both organic traffic and user engagement.
Impact of Meta Descriptions in SEO
Meta descriptions can play a crucial role in influencing user behaviour on search engine result pages (SERPs). A meta description serves as a brief introduction to a webpage’s content, providing users with a preview of what to expect when they click on the link. While search engines do not directly use meta descriptions as a ranking factor, a well written and compelling meta description can significantly improve click-through rates. By offering a clear and enticing snapshot of the content, a meta description encourages users to choose a particular link over others. Moreover, a relevant and keyword-rich meta description can influence the overall visibility and relevance of a web page in SERPs. Meta description optimisation is therefore an essential tactic of an SEO strategy, improving both user engagement and overall effectiveness of a website’s online presence.
The Best Meta Title and Meta Description Examples
The best meta descriptions and page titles clearly and concisely tell audiences what they will find on the web page. They should engage users and underpin your primary keywords. Here are some of the best metadata examples:
Alternatively, there are online tools and browser extensions designed specifically for analysing a web page’s metadata without delving into the source code manually. If you need to check metadata regularly for SEO, the Google extension MozBar is a useful tool because it pulls data such as page titles, meta descriptions, header tags and domain authority.
How to Conduct a Meta Audit for SEO
Conducting a meta title and description audit is a crucial step in refining and optimising your website’s SEO performance. Begin by compiling a list of your web pages and their corresponding meta titles and descriptions. You can pull meta titles and descriptions on a mass scale using a site crawling tool such as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider.
Once you’ve gathered your metadata, it’s time to evaluate the relevance and accuracy of each meta title in conveying the primary topic of the page. Ensure that meta descriptions provide concise yet compelling summaries, enticing users to click through.
Analyse the use of keywords in both meta titles and descriptions, aligning them with your overall SEO strategy. Check for consistency across your site to maintain a cohesive and professional online presence. It’s also important to ensure page topics are clearly categorised, avoiding duplication which can negatively impact search rankings.
Next, assess the length of meta titles and descriptions to adhere to character limits imposed by search engines. Page titles should be around 60-70 characters, while meta descriptions should be around 156 characters. Any longer and Google won’t have enough pixel space to pull the entirety.
By conducting a thorough audit of your meta titles and descriptions, you can enhance search engine visibility, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately improve the overall effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Regularly revisit and update your meta titles and descriptions to align with evolving content and SEO goals.
How to Write a Good Meta Title
To write a good meta title that engages users and helps your page rank higher in SERPs, follow the following steps:
Clearly define the primary topic or focus of the page and select a central keyword that summarises the page.
Write a concise and compelling title that accurately reflects the content while intriguing users.
Keep the title within the recommended 60-70 character limit to prevent truncation in search engine displays.
Aim for uniqueness and avoid duplicating titles across pages to maintain clarity and avoid confusion.
Use pipes (|) or hyphens (-) when formatting your title to ensure it appears tidy and professional. Hyphens are often better for longer titles because Google tends to omit some piped sections if not as relevant.
Research competitors’ page titles to view what Google is choosing to display for those keywords.
Take learnings from Paid Search to find which titles are attracting more clicks.
How to Write a Good Meta Description
Write a concise and compelling description that not only accurately summarises the content but also sparks the curiosity of potential visitors.
Aim for a length of around 156 characters to ensure that the description is displayed optimally in search results.
Incorporate a call-to-action within the meta description to prompt user interaction, whether it’s encouraging them to learn more, explore exclusive content, or shop products.
Maintain relevance by ensuring that the meta description aligns seamlessly with the actual content on the page, providing an authentic preview for users.
Avoid duplicating meta descriptions across pages to maintain clarity and uniqueness.
Use Paid Search to split test meta descriptions with different call-to-actions and see which click-through-rate is highest