We hope you are enjoying our series on how to improve your Search Engine positions. We have already talked about how Google determines these results and how integrated video content will be a real buzzword in SEO this year. This month we are taking it right back to basics with Page Titles and Meta descriptions.
We should all be familiar with the format of the Google search results page, after typing in a search our results our displayed in a list with each result broken down into a blue link heading and a short description. This blue linking text is what is called your page title whilst the short description below is called your meta description or page description.
Optimising both of these can have real benefits to your SEO as it helps Google, and users, to know exactly what they can expect from the content of your page. Your page title should contain the search terms that you would hope to be found for in Google and each page on your website should have its own unique page title, duplicate titles, or a generic title such as ‘Home’, don’t offer much information in the search results and aren’t likely to encourage many clicks.
Your page description or meta description is another thing to take care when crafting. This should be a brief, and accurate, summary of your page content. Like page titles, this should be unique to each page and should be in proper sentences, not just stuffed with random keywords.
There are a few things to remember when it comes to your titles and descriptions, the first is to make sure they are a true reflection of the content on your page. I am sure we have all been lured in by misleading descriptions appearing in the search results only to find the page has no relevance to our search term. Doing this will likely lead to a high bounce rate (where people click on your site, view one page, and leave) which if happens a lot will lead Google to believe your content is poor and harm where you appear in the results. Not only will users suss you out pretty quick if you adopt this approach, Google and other search engines are sophisticated enough to read your page like a person would and will soon spot a case of keyword stuffing!
The next thing to remember is to keep these concise. For page titles, try to limit yourself to no more than 60 characters. Search Engines have limited space to display titles so will cut of long titles. To stand the best chance of your title displaying in full this character count seems to prove most effective.
When it comes to page descriptions you have a little more room to play with so can be more descriptive. Like page titles there is no set rule for how many characters to use, but there is best practice, which is to use between 50 and 300 characters (inclusive of spaces). Your description should act as a call to action, describing the value of your page and why the user should click your result over the countless other options available to them.
We have included a copy of our page title and description as it appears in the search results. As you can see, our description has been optimised to key words that our relevant to our business such as web design, responsive design and eCommerce.