How to Write a Good Page Title and Description for SEO (and Why They Matter)
March 29, 2018 ,
Your page title and description can have a big effect on your SEO. That’s why it’s important to learn the basics of these marketing tactics so you can apply them for better rankings and overall success in your business. First, let’s start with the title.
To set your page title, you need to edit your title tag.
What Is The Title Tag?
The title tag is the part of the HTML code that defines the official title of the web page. It is what shows up as the clickable headline for search engine results. In the Google result below, the large blue headline up top is the Page Title:
A Title Tag is important for a few reasons. First of all, it should be an accurate description of the page content. This tells Google what your page is about so it can rank you better for relevant search queries. It also tells users what to expect from your page, and can increase page conversions if it is catchy and relevant.
The CTR, or click-through rate, is an essential part of effective SEO. This is especially true with your page title. Google uses CTR to determine how relevant your content is to the searcher. A higher CTR will bring you a higher ranking and thus even more clicks, and a low CTR will do the opposite. In addition, the higher your CTR then the higher your sales or other back-end conversions will be, naturally. This combination makes it one of the most important parts of your SEO arsenal.
How to Write a Good Page Title
Once you know what your focus keyword is for your page, you should include it in your title. This is how Google knows what your page is about and it sharply increases your chances of ranking higher.
You need your title to catch attention immediately. After all, you are competing with other people who want to use the same keywords to get clicks to their website.
It can be helpful to put your keyword at the beginning of the title. But if most of your competitors are putting the focus keyword at the beginning as well, consider adding one or two words beforehand to ensure your title stands out more.
Optimal Length for Title
Google displays SERPs in three different modes: wide screen, smaller screen, and mobile. It shows more or less depending on the view. The portion of the title displayed typically maxes out at 50-60 characters, but it does not always cut off at a certain number of characters.
Therefore, there is no set number of characters that is the optimal length, but try to keep it at 55 or under. For instance, Google might show more i’s than w’s due to the pixel width. For best results, manually review your titles to makes sure you’re getting the proper information across in the right views.
Other Title Best Practices
Be sure to include the keyword or main theme in the first half of your titles, in case the second half gets cut off due to the screen size or responsive design cutting off the rest.
Also, it might be tempting to leave out your brand name to save space, but Google actually prefers that you leave it in. If you don’t, Google might change your title for you down the road, causing confusion and putting a dent in your rankings and traffic.
As with any marketing tweaks you make to your business, you should be sure to constantly test the results. A/B test different headlines (titles) and see which ones are driving more clicks to your brand.
Understanding the Meta Description
Now that you understand what a page title is, why it’s important, and how to create a good one, it’s time for the meta description. This is the portion of text, typically a few lines, that goes under your title in the SERPs.
User in Mind
The major factor to remember with your meta description is to write it for people, not for search engines. Meta descriptions don’t actually directly factor into the rankings, but do affect your CTR (and good CTR means better rankings). Write descriptions that make your brand stand out and tell users exactly what they can expect – this should be a clear call to action for visitors. Keep the characters under 160 250, as additional characters will be cut off when displaying the description.
When it comes to marketing online, SEO is still a valid and necessary part of your strategy. While you need great content on the page, you also need to make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are top notch. So take note of the tactics above and put them into use today. That way you’ll be able to rank higher and convert more traffic on Google and the rest of the search engines, and ultimately further your other business goals.