This is the first post in an ‘SEO Basics’ series. The aim is to create a useful resource that SEO beginners can use as a reference point whenever they need it. This month I’ll explain what page titles and meta descriptions are and why they so are important.
It is essential that you get page titles and meta descriptions correctly formatted for your website for the sake of both your visitors and search engines. This a really easy thing to do but you’d be surprised just how often they are completely overlooked. Approach them in the same way that you’d approach the creation a company leaflet or business card. You want that snippet of information to represent you well and you want it to be easily decipherable to all that see it.
If you’d like to learn all of the SEO bascis, take a peak at our beginners SEO training course with Digital Kitchen.
Just so you know what we’re discussing, here is what you see in Google when you type ‘Passion Digital London’ into the search bar:
Both page titles and meta descriptions are forms of metadata. W3Schools define metadata like so:
“Metadata is data (information) about data.”
“The <meta> tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but will be machine parsable.”
The title tag is the clickable link that appears in all search engine results pages. In the example used above we see this:
Search engines use this title to figure out what that page actually contains. So you want to make sure that you accurately describe what that page offers. You also want to make sure that your keywords are included (but not excessively – otherwise searchers will just ignore it).
Search engines ascribe more importance to words at the beginning of the title than those at the end. So in our example, ‘Digital Marketing’ is the best option to start our homepage title tag. However, if a company has a very strong brand then it would be worth placing that at the start of the title instead.
So in this example, directing the searcher to a company homepage, we can clearly see what the company does alongside the name of that company. You will also note that certain words are in bold text. The words in bold were the words that we initially search for, so it’s immediately clear to the searcher that this page is relevant to them.
From our experience we say that page titles should be 65 characters in length (with spaces). The reality is that Google doesn’t see titles as a number of characters, rather they see them as a length of pixels. If you stick to 65, though, then it’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter any problems. Always remember that everything on your website should be equally optimised for both search engines and searchers.
In the example we’re using the description is:
‘A small digital marketing agency based in Soho & Clapham. Specialising in search engine marketing: SEO, PPC, Social & UX. 0203 4321 369.’
The meta description is a searcher focused piece of text that we recommend should be no longer than 155 characters in length (with spaces). It should describe what a page has to offer.
Although these pieces of text are not used for rankings, a good description can generate great traffic to your website. It should contain information that encourages the searcher to click through to your website. In other words, it should increase your click through rate. In the example above, the searcher can instantly see the services that Passion Digital offer, where they are based and how to contact them. It’s simple and concise and target phrases and keywords have been used sensibly.
You’ll also see that some of the text is in bold. Like the bold text in page titles, this just indicates to the searcher that the words they searched for are present in the description. Like page titles, each page should have a unique description.
Passion Digital have a dedicated search engine optimization team. If you’re interested in what we could offer you then please get in contact with Mike via the contact form located on our SEO page.