How to Write Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Page titles and descriptions, which are also commonly known as meta titles and meta descriptions, are two separate pieces of HTML code that tell search engines what a web page is about.
Every web page should have a unique, accurate, and descriptive meta title and meta description.
The meta title and meta descriptions are also helpful for online users, just as they are useful for search engines. That’s because these meta titles and meta descriptions are visible to users on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here is an example.
A well-written page title and meta description may not only help with higher search engine rankings for target keyword phrases, but they may also help with a higher click-through rate and more traffic.
In this post, we are going to share a few tips on how to write effective page titles and meta descriptions.
Let’s start with page titles first.
How to Write Page Titles
According to best practices and recommendations by Google, every page must have a unique page title. It requires a very simple piece of HTML code to create a page title. The tag looks like this:
<title>This is a page title</title>
Meta titles play a relatively more important role in search engine rankings and keyword optimisation than meta descriptions.
A page or meta title should have the following qualities:
- Keyword-rich. The page title should be keyword-rich. Shortlist a few keywords that are most important to you and include them in your page title as naturally as possible.
- Descriptive. The page title should not only be keyword rich, but it should also be descriptive. The meta title serves as a window into the web page and, therefore, should be a clear representation of what the page is about. The meta title should accurately describe the page.
- Character limit. There is a limit to how many characters search engines like Google can display in the page title space. The average character limit is usually around 55-65 characters, but it can vary because some characters take more space than others. We suggest using a free tool for checking if your meta title would appear on the SERPs properly.
Note: The length of the page title is not a search engine ranking factor. But keeping it within the character limit is important because if the page title is too long, Google might truncate it or rewrite it completely.
How to Write Meta Descriptions
Just like meta titles, meta descriptions are also very important. In recent times, meta descriptions might not have that much of an impact on search engine rankings, but they still play a vital indirect role and, therefore, must not be ignored.
Similar to titles, each web page should have a unique meta description. The meta description tag looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description”>
Missing or poorly written meta description affects the click-through rate, which can directly affect the traffic you receive on your web pages. The organic click-through rate or CTR can also affect how relevant Google views your web page for a specific search query and, consequently, can affect the search rankings of your web page.
Here are a few qualities that a good meta description should have:
- Optimised for search intent. Meta descriptions should be optimised for search intent. Search engine users are often at different stages of their buyer’s journey. This can be gauged by the targeted keywords and the contents of the article. The meta description should be optimised accordingly for the best possible results.
- Use a CTA. Using a direct CTA — for example, learn more, click here, read this post — is a good idea worth testing that may increase the CTR.
- Descriptive and accurate. As with meta titles, meta descriptions should also be descriptive and an accurate representation of the web page. Misleading users with inaccurate meta descriptions is a big no-no.
- Character limit. Just as meta titles typically have a space of 55 characters, meta descriptions usually have a character limit of 155-160 characters. However, as mentioned earlier, some characters can take more space than others and can affect that character limit. You can use a free tool to see if your meta description fits perfectly or not.
Page titles and meta descriptions are both very important parts of on-page SEO optimisation. Use the tips mentioned in this article to create unique, descriptive, and effective meta titles and meta descriptions.
For a comprehensive audit of your website’s on- and off-page optimisation, try out our free SEO checker today; the detailed report we produce will highlight exactly where your page titles, meta descriptions, and various other features require development.