Everybody wants to rank in Google. Here’s a little-known secret. It’s not easy.
Ok, that’s not really a secret.
So, what can you do to increase the chances of your business’ website ranking, other than merely following good on page SEO practices?
When it comes to SEO, the importance of titles and meta descriptions cannot be emphasized enough, but not just because they help with your site being indexed.
Good titles and meta descriptions can be key drivers that influence whether a searcher clicks your link and visits your web page.
And, of course, more clicks and visits means more positive feedback to Google that your content is good, which, in turn, means better rankings over time.
However, writing great titles and meta descriptions isn’t necessarily easy.
It’s a craft, not a mere process. After all, titles and meta descriptions laden with keywords will rank, but they won’t engage. You’re gaming search engine algorithms, but ultimately, your visitors are human. They want something exciting, not something dry and boring.
Search engines serve humans. If humans like your content, search engines will love it.
We have a few tips you can follow that will help you to write killer titles and meta descriptions for your pages that will rank and command a visitor’s attention.
Elements of Good Titles
Titles are important for on page SEO—they let search engines know what your page is about. They are also the first things that users see when they type a query into Google (or any search engine) and the results page pops up.
When people click on a link from a search, they are clicking on a title.
There are three key elements to killer titles:
- they contain keywords
- they are informative
- they are engaging enough to earn clicks.
Include Keywords in Your Titles
Obviously, keywords matter for search. So, to position yourself best, make sure your title has some of your target keywords.
Make Your Titles Informative
Your titles should be able to properly convey what topics your pages cover. Make them specific to your subject matter,
Engage Your Visitors
Good titles have words that are interesting, emotional, and evocative. You don’t want to make them dull and keyword-saturated—you want to include your key phrases in manner that’s natural and alluring.
Your title-writing strategy is dependent on your brand. If your company has a Buzzfeed-like brand, you might want to go for titles that are much more like “clickbait.” If your brand is a little more straightforward or subdued, that might not be the best approach.
This is a creative process that requires practice. Try brainstorming multiple titles for articles and pages on your website. Let your mind flow. Eventually, you’ll come up with something that sounds great.
Remember: Google and other search engines may change up your title to make it match an input query a little more closely. Still, your custom title is the clearest indicator of what your page contains, so make sure it is strong.
Elements of Good Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions, which appear right below titles in lists of search results, do not directly factor into SEO rankings like titles do—however, they could help decide whether your site gets a click or not.
After all, search results pages are long, and there are so many links to choose from.
The titles for all these pages may look similar too. So your meta description may be what makes your site the most appealing of the bunch.
A killer meta description shares many of the same features that make for a killer title. Descriptions are short and informative, and they contain keywords as well as calls to action.
Write for All Devices
Over 60% of all searches happen on a mobile device. That means your meta descriptions need to work on all devices.
One way to influence that is the length of the description.
On a desktop, descriptions for search results should be no longer than approximately 200 characters. On mobile devices, they should be no longer than approximately 170 characters. So you want to make sure your meta description is, well, descriptive enough to show off your site or webpage with only a couple of sentences.
Aim for a description that’s around 160-170 characters—this is short enough to ensure that your paragraph will be both easily skimmable and completely readable on all devices.
Add Calls to Action
Like a killer title, a killer meta description makes use of keywords and packs in the right amount of necessary information.
Calls to action are what really make for an enticing description. You need verbs.
You need words and phrases that show users what they can do once they visit your site or page. “Read this guide” or “Watch a video” or “Buy a great product” are all the types of expression that will ultimately draw your visitor in.
They need to be tempted to do something, not just told what’s available.
Search engines can also manipulate meta descriptions depending on queries. Instead of your custom paragraph, they may highlight and bring out a portion of your page that contains the specific words that match a certain query.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare a killer meta description.
Your meta description shows how you want your page to be represented. Plus, if it is optimized with the correct keywords, it will work for almost all queries. The description serves as a perfect complement to your title in inspiring the desired click-through engagement.