I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment, they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamppost for support, rather than for illumination. -David Ogilvy
The point Mr. Ogilvy made is mostly lost on many of those trying to do SEO nowadays, especially those new to it. SEO is a tricky and ever-changing game, one where your judgment must trusted. One such area where a person’s judgment often takes the back seat, and where their supposed “research” guides them wrong is for Meta Titles and Descriptions.
The reason for this is that people use Meta Titles and Descriptions in the wrong way, where they believe it is simply another area for keyword stuffing. However, this is not the case, and when used for that purpose, you are not only wasting your time, you may well be creating duplicate content on your site. So rather than helping yourself, your actually doing your website harm.
If there’s anything worth striving for in the SEO world, it’s to avoid being counterproductive. Time is money, and it’s a shame to waste both when you don’t have to. So to help avoid using Meta Titles and Descriptions incorrectly lets go over what should be considered some SEO basics.
What Is A Meta Description
Meta descriptions explain what the exact content of a specific webpage entails. Search engines frequently use them for their SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) and display snippets about these specific pages. These snippets are the purpose of the Meta Description, as it is what people searching will see in their SERPs.
The optimal length for search engines to view a Meta Description is 155 characters. When this limit is exceeded, search engines will cut the description short which then looks funny to viewers as the statement will be cut off.
Meta Descriptions are not meant for keyword stuffing, as this will be what people searching will see for individual results. So if you stuff a bunch of keywords in no particular order, it certainly doesn’t help entice people to click on the link, as it may appear “spammy.” The Meta Description is a selling point, essentially an advertisement to people searching to click on a link.
Now if certain keywords fit in naturally in the Meta Description, than it is perfectly fine to use them. But you want to be sure that the Description is descriptive regarding that specific page. It’s not an advertisement for the whole site, its an advertisement for individual pages. This should also show how no two Meta Descriptions will be the same, as you should not have two of the same pages on a website. Search Engines DESPISE duplicate content; this is an easy lesson to learn. But for whatever reason, impossible for people to understand and implement.
What is A Meta Title
A Meta Title, also referred to as a Title Tag, defines the title of a specific web page. This is quite literally the most important on-page SEO element, and when used correctly will appear in three different places: The Browser Tab, SERPs, and links on External Websites.
The Meta Title is a brief and accurate description of web page content. By brief, we mean it should be no longer than 70 characters as that is the total length a search engine will display in their SERPs. There are three areas where Meta Titles create value, and these need to be understood if they are to be used correctly.
Relevance: Accurate use of keywords in Meta Titles is the most important place to use keywords when attempting to achieve high rankings in SERPs. When thinking of Meta Title relevance, be sure to remember the 70-character limit is important because anything exceeding that is cut out. Be sure you place the more relevant and important keywords toward the front of the Meta Title as this will generally help with increasing its ranking, and allow users to view it more easily within their search results.
Browser: As stated before, the title tag appears at the top of a web browser page. The value this creates is solely directed towards the user experience. However, the amount of value this generates is questionable. The reason being that Meta Titles, in regards to them being browser titles, are pretty much the same as book titles. Beyond telling you what the name is, there is little else to be had from it.
SERPs: The value created by Meta title tags in regards to the Search Engine Result Page is especially important. The keywords used in title tags come up as a bold text in the search results when a user has done a search query for those specific terms. This brings attention and greater visibility to your links and has shown to generate a greater click-through rate.
In The End
In conclusion, if you properly use Meta Title and Description tags, you will be taking the proper first steps to doing correct on-site SEO. It’s not hard, but are so often misused, that there is no doubt this article will help many people. Just follow what was said and it will no doubt help to increase your websites rankings as well as click through rates.
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on Twitter @ CustParadigm. If you are looking for a trusted and experienced Colorado SEO Company, please visit CustomerParadigm.com.