Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are highly relevant to SEO and should stand at the beginning of any search engine optimization. They are the first thing that searchers get to see when they google your website. In this article, you’ll learn how to get the most out of each other and improve the click-through rate (CTR).
What are metadata?
Before we start, we need to define what meta tags or metadata are briefly. In short, meta tags provide valuable information about the site to Google (and other search engines). They are deposited in the header of an HTML page. For the user, they are not visible in most cases. In this article, you’ll learn which meta tags affect your Google ranking and which ones you can safely ignore.
This article focuses on two things you’ll find on every Google search: Title Tag and Meta Description.
What are Title Tag and Meta Description?
The title tag is the HTML header of a page. It is comparable to a book title and a direct ranking factor. That’s why the keyword to which your page should rank should come first or at least far ahead. A common trick: place a colon or pipe after the keyword (straight line).
The meta description describes the page content. It is not a direct ranking factor. However, it’s important because it shows up in search results, provides supplemental information and attracts traffic to your website.
Optimize Title Tag and Meta Description
You may be wondering why you should even bother to consider your own title day. Quite simple: Google and other search engines show your title in their search results. So you influence how your page appears in the search results.
What does this have to do with SEO?
You stand out from your competition in the search results with an optimized title. An attractive title, motivational, emotional description, and meticulous editing can increase your CTR. That does not hide Google. If you get more clicks, your website will likely increase in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
How does this work?
Do you use WordPress as a CMS? Then you can change your title with the free “SEO by Yoast” plugin. Under each post and each page appears a small box (see picture). Here you can enter an appropriate title under “SEO Title”. Under “Meta description” you have room for the description.
Attention: You can not rely on Yoast for the lengths of SEO title and meta description. In reality, the space available to you is much smaller! In this regard, Yoast could use a refresher.
Enter SEO Title at Yoast
What does the optimal title tag look like?
The ideal title tag is informative. He makes visitors curious about the content and invites you to click. The title should capture the content of your content perfectly and not raise false expectations (“Clickbait”). Otherwise, the users disappeared quickly. And this can have negative consequences for your rankings.
The optimal title …
- consists of a maximum of 70 characters (better at most 65 characters).
- It has a maximum of 569 pixels (the actual length is calculated by pixels).
- It provides informative value and encourages readers to click.
- is unique for each URL.
- Puts the relevant keyword for which the URL is to rank first or at least far forward.
- Has the highest still a Nebenkeyword.
- Communicates the USP (Unique Selling Point) of a company, shop or blog.
Typical mistakes you should avoid
Too long title cuts off Google. Not the number of characters, but the number of pixels plays a role. The safest way is to stay below 65 characters on your Title Tag. With colons and pipes (straight line), you save additional space. Avoid keyword stuffing. The juxtaposition of possible search words offers no added value. From Google, the pointless accumulation of keywords can even be penalized with a lower ranking!
- The keyword that seekers should use to get to your site is upfront.
- Include your company name or the title of your blog if that could increase click-through rates. Side effect: The mention in the title improves your branding.
- With a call-to-action, you increase the click probability.
- The current (!) Year number emphasizes the timeliness of your contribution. Up-to-date information gets more clicks.
- Lists of numbers (“4 tips …”) are very much read.
- Particularly favorable prices and attractive discounts in the title also tempt to click.
Numbers and lists make you curious and encourage you to click on the URL. Healthy Habits promises 12 weight loss tips:
What is the optimal meta description?
The Meta Description gives you the opportunity to make readers with additional information curious about your topic or your offer.
The optimal meta description …
- is at most 160 characters long (better: 155 characters).
- Refrains from keyword spam or keyword stuffing.
- Google’s meta description length is up to 920 pixels.
- Makes Google users curious about the content.
- Uses special characters like ✓and ►decent.
- Includes a call-to-action that tells visitors what to do (“Learn more.”).
Special characters such as ✓and ► can make sense. Google decides for itself whether they will be taken over or not. At Emojis, you need a sure instinct: On the one hand, the colorful pictures attract attention. On the other hand, too many emojis are dubious. Also, they are well received by the audience. They may fit quite well at a pet or children’s clothing store. Not for seniors’ mobiles. Tip: Use your target audience when using it.
Attention: Not every CMS displays these special characters correctly. Therefore, it is better to use HTML symbol entities. The respective code is then displayed as a special character in the SERPs. For example, “#” generates a checkmark (✓).
Better than a text is a combination of text and bullet points in the meta description. Checkmarks draw attention to the USP (Unique Selling Points).
Let’s take a fictional shop selling organic fashion.
“In our shop, you will find ecologically-made clothing for men and women, which is washable at 60 ° C and convinces by an optimal fit.” (155 characters)
The long sentence reads not very appealing. In the SERPs, this shop probably goes entirely under.
Body text with bullet points, special characters and call-to-action:
“Our shop offers fashion for him and her:” ecologically produced ✓, washable at 60 ° C ✓, optimal fit ✓. ►Discover now “(126 characters).
The statement is the same. Due to the visual processing, however, the meta description is more noticeable. And you still have a few signs left for further benefits or the shop name.
The chosen search term is “Keyword”. In the first place appears “Moz”:
The title tag is the right length and starts with the keyword “Keyword”.
Snippet optimize with structured data
Now you know how to treat Title Tags and Meta Description best. An even better result you achieve through so-called structured data. With Schema.org, you can expand your snippet in the search results with additional information such as star ratings and photos (recipes). The search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex are involved in the development of Schema.org. The common goal: to create a uniform standard for structuring and linking content from websites.
Structured data is a huge advantage over the competition for you. Why? Because additional relevant information is displayed in addition to the Title Tag, URL, and Meta Description. This makes the SERPs more obvious. This increases the number of clicks enormously. You can use Schema.org for free. There are more than 600 different types of data.
- With the “Event Schedule” you can display the event dates, the event title, and the venues directly in the search results.
- Hotel pages display star ratings, the number of reviews submitted and price ranges (from X $).
- Food recipes can be upgraded with a photo, reviews, and calorie and cook time information.
Star Ratings you can install in WordPress with the plugin kk Star Ratings.
Are you done with the optimization? Now we come up with how to check the optimal length of Title Tag and Meta Description. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin.
You can check the implementation of structural data with the Google Test Tool.
- Most meta tags are not relevant to SEO. Although “keywords” sounds like important information, the keywords for Google & Co. are not a ranking factor. Google completely ignores the keyword tag.
- With the Meta tag “Robots” you can control the indexing of your website. If you do without the implementation, Google indexes everything and follows all the links. If Google does not follow a page, for example, to avoid duplicate content, you can prevent indexing with robots. Use the following meta tag: <meta name = “robots” content = “noindex, follow”>
- The meta tag “Author” shows the author or publisher of the page. For SEO, this day has no meaning.
It pays to invest time in a suitable title and in a well-thought-out meta description. With a little practice, you can do it in a few minutes. Both meta tags decide whether searchers look at your website or not. With a well-made entry, you will ideally manage to stand out from the mass of search results displayed. This is especially true if you specifically use special characters and build structured data. The title should include the main keyword, make you curious and encourage you to click.
In the Meta Description, you can add value to your visitors, call USPs, call for action, and share what they’re expecting on the page. These simple SEO measures cost nothing. But they can have a significant impact on your ranking and increase your CTR!