Writing meta titles and descriptions and sourcing keywords for content and tags on a website can seem tedious, but it’s an important part of ensuring that your site performs well.
What is metadata in this instance?
Moz defines the following elements most clearly.
Title tag: “Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing”
Meta descriptions: “Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They are between one sentence to a short paragraph and appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page”.
Meta keywords: “Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.” If you boil everything on your page — all the images, video, copy, etc. — down to a simple words and phrases, those are your primary keywords”. These are less relevant to today’s search functions than they used to be but still a factor.
Writing properly informed and structured metadata can help you:
Drive users to click on your web pages. After all, it take a lot of time effort and money to put a good site or online publication together, so it makes sense to get the most of it through conversion. This is your chance to be persuasive with your copy and to clearly communicate the intention of the page it leads to.
Help users find you. It’s common knowledge that most consumers don’t want to navigate the search engine results but getting on the first page is a process and can be influenced by how well you’ve written your user-facing metadata. Google, and other search engines, use this information to make sure that they’re showing your content to the people who want to see it, so put some effort into researching your keywords and structuring your pages correctly and you could see major improvements in visibility and user numbers. We will get into how to do this in a minute.
Introduce your brand to a new audience. In many instances, the meta title and description are one of the first chances you’ll have to communicate with your audience, so it makes sense to use this opportunity to the fullest.
What does getting it right mean?
Title: The title is made up of the most important/relevant keyword (Primary) the second most relevant or searched for keyword (Secondary) and some thematic keywords, which are related to your product or service and which people search for often. They shouldn’t be longer than about 8 words.
Good example: Software development & blockchain consultancy | Nona
Bad example: Really great software development that can help elevate your company’s online presence
(No keyword ordering, no mention of the brand, too long).
Meta description: Meta descriptions should be about 50–300 characters in length as a standard. It’s most important to use this description to be a persuasive piece of text that best conveys what the page it leads to is about. Incorporate keywords in order of importance but be careful not to repeat them or to make the content read robotically as a result.
This description incorporates the keywords, relates to the search query and indicates the content you’re about to see more of.
Other important points to note: Meta descriptions should be different for each page. Also, if you know your users are searching for long-tail keywords, it can sometimes be beneficial to allow Google, or other search engines, to pull the meta description from the content. This way, there’s more likely to be a match.
Meta keywords: The point of prioritising and including keywords is to help match search queries to your content. In order to do this, you’ll need to view the search volumes for keywords related to your business themes and prioritise accordingly. You can learn more about doing keyword research here. Have no more than 10 keyword phrases and be careful not to overuse the same words in your copy, as search engines could perceive this as keyword stuffing and penalise you. While keyword research is less important in today’s SEO environment, it can be a worthwhile exercise in terms of structuring your content around very specific themes and getting a better understanding of your audience.
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