Strong meta descriptions and page titles win visitors

| November 25, 2009

Powerful meta descriptions and page titles win human visitors and keep search engines happy

Write strong meta titles

Not so long ago page title tags – meta titles – were crucial to SEO, picked up by search engine algorithms as a key ranking element.

Today their power has diminished. But because, when marketing, humans are just as important as search engines it is still a good idea to write a goodie. A strong meta title will attract more people to click through to your site.

  • meta titles still help with SEO, so you might as well take advantage
  • it’ll help your listing stand out above the rest in the search results and encourage click-throughs to your site
  • in fact, many people make the decision to visit a site – or not – based on the meta description… so it is a mini-marketing opportunity not to be missed

What should my meta titles look like?

Search engines all display a different number of page title characters. But because Google is still the most popular search engine, many people stick to Google’s limit of around  60 characters. Do this and your whole title will display properly in Google’s search results and your message won’t get cut off in its prime.

If you want to make the most of your page title across all search engines, you can use up to 120 characters. Yahoo, for example, displays significantly more characters than Google. If you do this, make sure that the first 60 characters of your meta title makes sense on its own. That way it’ll display sensibly in Google as well as Yahoo.

  • create a unique meta title for every web page
  • use it to describes the content of each page accurately and succinctly in an entertaining way

Write powerful meta descriptions

Like your page title, your page’s meta description appears in a tag in the head of each web page’s code. Search engines use meta descriptions to rank sites, as well as displaying the text in their search results pages. So they’re a vital element of the marketing mix.

What should my meta title look like?

Create a unique meta description for every page of your website. Use it to showcase exciting and relevant info that you haven’t showcased in your meta title.

  • make the description easy to read and entertaining, punctuated properly, in plain English
  • ensure your meta description describes the content of each page accurately
  • use your top key words in your meta description. But don’t over-cook it or you’ll look and sound spammy

How about length? Use a maximum of 160 characters. Each search engine displays meta descriptions differently. Google shows 160 characters. As I’ve already mentioned, because Google is still the most popular search engine it is probably wise to focus on Google for the time being.

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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