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Role of Title Tag & Meta Description

Creating the best SEO content and landing pages for your website includes assigning the right meta title tags and meta descriptions to these pages. Today, we're taking a closer look at title tags and meta descriptions and how they can boost your website performance.

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Title tags are a ranking factor for web pages but meta descriptions are not. Both are important.

What Are Title Tags and Meta Descriptions?

Title tags and meta descriptions are small pieces of code assigned to every web page. The purpose is to give the AI bots, or web crawlers, that search engines use to collect results a brief bit of information about the page and its contents. The bots, in turn, rank results based on their relevance to each user query.

Think of the meta title and description as functioning the same way as the back cover of a book, giving a brief, engaging synopsis of the contents phrased in such a way that the reader wants to but the book – or in this case, click on the link provided on the Search Engine Return Page (SERP).

How Are They Used?

Search engines use the title tags to find ones with keywords relevant to a user's query. Title tags don't have to be exact matches but should contain enough information about the content so as to appear useful when certain searches are conducted. Bear in mind, however, that if the title tag you create isn't relevant to the content, the web crawlers will note that and assign the page a different title. This isn't something you want to happen. Instead, the title should be another tool to prompt a user to click on your listing from the SERP.

Meta descriptions are most useful to improve your click-through rate. If you have keywords relevant to your content or ones commonly used for your type of business or blog, your site may also rank higher for search results.

Both title and description need to be concise and well-written, both for clarity and an introduction to your content for viewers.

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You should think of your Title Tag as the headline or eye catcher, and your Meta Description as the reason they should click on your result.

Best Practices For Meta Title and Description Performance

Title Tags

These should be concise – ideally less than 70 characters, so the whole tag fits on the results page when displayed on the SERP.

Other best practices for writing title tags include:

  • Create a unique, distinct, and descriptive title tag for every page of your website
  • Select important keywords for your title tags, placing them as close to the beginning as possible
  • But, avoid "keyword spamming" or simply stuffing the title tags with popular keywords. Consider giving each page on your site a theme, and using relevant keywords for each theme instead
  • Include your brand in the title tags, separated from the rest of the title with a delimiter such as a hyphen, colon, or pipe

Meta Descriptions

This may be just as important as the right title tag, as many search engines like Google will display the meta description right below the link. Your meta description is the first – and sometimes only – impression a potential user has of your website.

Best practices for writing meta descriptions include:

  • Create concise and accurate descriptions with relevant title tags. The character limit for meta descriptions is 160 characters, allowing users to read it at a glance
  • Each page on your website should have a unique meta description. Google suggests sites use site-level descriptions on the main page (or other aggregate pages) and page-level descriptions for the other pages
  • Target a unique keyword for each page in the meta description. For example, if you have multiple product or service categories, include distinct, relevant keywords that refer to each one. This avoids keyword spamming
  • Concise and keyword-rich descriptions are like a sales pitch for each page on your site. Well-written ones improve click-through rates
  • You don't have to use complete sentences for meta descriptions, but they do have to make sense and include relevant facts for readers
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By regular reviews of your performance in Google Search Console you can track which Title Tags and Meta Descriptions may need editing to improve your click-through rates.

Improving Your Click-Through Rates

Boosting web traffic to your page gives you a higher chance of converting site visitors to leads, customers, or subscribers. And the best way to do so is to ensure that you're on the first page of a SERP. Did you know that most people select from the first page of search returns and rarely look past the third? If you're on the fourth page of Google, you might as well be invisible.

Meta descriptions and meta titles don't have to be static. You can tweak the ones for your pages by checking the Google Search Console results and adjusting accordingly. For example, check the pages that have a fairly decent volume (number of times it's been listed in search returns) but a low click-through rate. This can indicate a title or description that simply isn't closing the deal.

By changing your title tag to be more descriptive and using action verbs that form a command, you can improve the click-through rates on your blog, landing pages, and website overall. If you aren't sure how to get started, we can help. We offer a wealth of SEO training tools, free of charge.