How to Write Meta Titles and Descriptions to improve SEO performance
How many times have you searched for something on Google and the websites that are listed in the search results page did not have proper content?
Yup, the blue text above the link is the meta title and the grey text right below is the meta description and every website should have one.
If you have a website, then meta descriptions should be one of the key information you should look into.
When a user is searching for something they need on a search engine, meta titles and descriptions are the website’s final attempt to get a click-through and visit the website.
Without a properly crafted meta title and description, it could mean that there will be lesser traffic and opportunity costs for your business.
Thankfully, writing meta titles and descriptions are simple. However, the key challenge is to write content that is able to captivate the user and be attractive for search engines to list your site as compared to your competitors.
We will explain exactly how.
Meta title and descriptions explained
A meta title is the snippet of text displayed above each link in the search results page. The main purpose is to showcase the key information on what the webpage is about.
A meta description is the snippet of text displayed below each link in the search results. Since meta descriptions have longer text space as compared to meta titles, this gives the website owner the opportunity to provide more descriptive content for users on that webpage.
Meta titles and descriptions serve a couple of purposes:
Describe the contents of a webpage
Any words that match the search query are made bold to draw attention to the users' eyes
An attempt to convince searchers that the webpage offers the most relevant content among other competitors' sites.
As part of Google's algorithm requirements, the clickthrough rate on your organic listing will have an impact on your overall organic performance. In other words, it is very important to properly craft an attractive Meta Title and Description for your users if you want to see improvements on your SEO results.
How to write meta title and descriptions
For now, head over to your website’s HTML and take a look at the <head> section. It’ll look similar to this.
<head> <title>"insert title here!"</title> <meta name=”description” content=”Insert meta description here!”> </head>
To add a meta title, insert the content next to the HTML code that says <title>.
To add a meta description to the site, insert the content next to the HTML code that says “content=”.
Regardless of what Web Content Management System (CMS) you use, you should have complete control over what your meta title and descriptions says.
Once the technical portion is sorted, let us focus on how to write content that captures a searcher's attention and encourage clicks through to your website.
Every single word in the content should be focused to encourage a click, while still maintaining factual accuracy of the core content. This will encourage the user to stay longer on your website.
In short, the content should be clear, helpful, and persuasive.
Provide a benefit or a solution.
Think about why you make a search online; usually the common scenarios will be to research, buy, learn, or to read something, right?
Your content should serve as the “Ah-ha — found it!” moment for a searcher.
Use your meta title and description to showcase that your web page will provide what the users are looking for.
Be specific and relevant, including the focus keywords.
You essentially have two to three sentences to persuade people to click so every word in your content matters. A real human user will be able to detect if your content is genuine or a fluffed up version.
For SEO purpose, it is common for you to insert a few focus keywords along the way.
However it is always a good practice to ensure that even with keywords in mind, the overall content will still look authentic.
The general rule of thumb is - be specific and relevant.
Have a call-to-action in mind.
Imagine users reading the content as if you are doing a sales copy; the content should always includes present-tense and actionable language.
Use the meta description to describe exactly what you want the searcher to do or what exactly will happen when they click on your link.
It will always be a good practice to start your meta description with action words like “Learn,” “Discover,” “Experience,” or “Read” so the searcher has a clear idea of what your website provides.
This may also encourage the searcher to respond to your call-to-action.
Keep it short and sweet.
Good digital marketers recognize that, as humans, we have a really short attention span — eight seconds, to be exact.
It will be especially challenging if users are greeted with a wall of websites listed in the search engine results page.
Choose each word wisely, knowing that people will most likely skim through your description before continuing down the page.
Do also note that while each search engine has different length requirements for both meta titles and meta descriptions, keeping a character length of 70 characters and 150 characters respectively will be a safe length to work with.
Don’t deceive, but inspire curiosity.
It is equally important for the user to click through as well as staying on your site to read through the rest of the content.
As mentioned in the earlier part of the article, high bounce rate and the length of time spent on your site matters to search engines like Google too.
As such, it is important to be honest and clear about the content of your website. Provide just enough (true) information about your link that will inspire a click-through with curiosity — not deception.
While your meta title and descriptions may not have a direct effect on your SEO, they play a first point of exposure to showcase your website's content and getting the additional click-throughs.
Adding them is easy — it’s writing them well that is challenging. Write well and your website traffic numbers will thank you.