Writing Good Titles & Meta Descriptions

Writing Good Titles & Meta Descriptions: Peak District SEO

Titles and Descriptions are metadata. We often get asked about the best way to write titles and meta descriptions for web pages. Metadata helps users and search engines understand what a website is about.

Page Titles

Titles are VERY important for SEO. The title is the name of the page, category page or a product page.  When browsing the web you can see the title of the page on the Tab that you have open.

The image below shows how the three main web browsers display plage titles on the tab of a browser.

titles in browser tabs
titles in browser tabs – Chrome, Safari and Firefox

When displayed on a browser tab the title tag seems almost inconsequential.
Perhaps this is why it is so often overlooked?

However, the title is actually far more useful when we see how it’s used in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).

Here’s an example

title tag displayed in SERP
title tag displayed in SERP

As you can see, the title tag for Debenhams helps describe the website and what it sells.  Titles, often called Meta Titles present you the website owner with a great opportunity to uniquely title each and every page on your site.
This information can help influence whether web users click the listing or choose another one.

We often see websites with many pages that do not have titles at all.  When a web page doesn’t have a title, it appears in the SERP as UNTITLED DOCUMENT

Here’s an example

untitled document
These pages all need titles

If your website has pages without a title, these pages lose an opportunity to convey your message or advertise your products and services.

How Long Should Title Tags Be?

Title tags should be no longer than 70 characters long or 600 pixels wide.  *Google increased the allowed length of both titles and meta-descriptions in 2017.

The pixels measurement should not be ignored as that relates to mobile devices. In 2018 Google is switching over to the mobile first index, meaning that it will show mobile-friendly results first.

“The mobile-first index is Google’s attempt at looking at the web and indexing and ranking the web from a mobile-first perspective. This means that if you have a mobile-friendly version of your website, instead of indexing the desktop version, Google will first index that website’s mobile version.T
SearchEngineLand Feb21st 2018

Meta Descriptions

Meta Descriptions are also very important but are NOT a ranking factor.
We use meta descriptions to give users a further indication of what a web page is about. The same sorts of rules apply to an information page, a category page or a product page.

How Long Should Meta Descriptions Be?

The recommended length of meta descriptions changes over time.  In 2018  the recommended length is 320 characters. This is a considerable increase from the previous limit of 155 characters.

Writing A Good Meta Descriptions

To write a good meta description you should mention what the page is about and who is writing it.  In addition, you can mention any special features or interest points.  The more compelling your meta description is, the more likely someone will click it.  Provide as much information as possible in as fewer words as possible.  The final part of a good Meta Description should use a call to action.

meta description

Useful Links
Big Leap – Metadata

Phil Gregory

Phil is the founder of Peak District SEO. He helps businesses make more money. Using traditional Search engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and paid advertising (PPC). Phil loves Real Ale & Fell Running.

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