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Meta Tag Best Practices To Increase Your Rankings

November 15th, 2023

Throughout our website we always mention the importance of meta tags in organic search engine optimization and how they should be an essential aspect of your digital marketing strategy. Today we want to help you optimize your meta title and description to get the most out of your website, without them your well written content can be missed.

Meta titles and descriptions are vital components of SEO as they directly impact a webpage’s visibility in search engine results. The meta title serves as a concise, keyword-rich headline that communicates the primary topic of the page, influencing search engine algorithms in ranking assessments. The meta description provides a brief yet compelling summary, helping to drive users to click by offering a preview of the content. When crafted with relevant keywords and a easy to understand message, these meta elements not only enhance a page’s discoverability but also contribute to higher click-through rates.

Search Results Page Showing Meta Title and Description

What is a Meta Title?

A meta title, or title tag, is an HTML element that names a web page. It appears as the clickable headline in search engine results, providing a brief description of the page’s content and influencing its visibility and click-through rates. An example of a meta title for a photography business could be:

<title>Photography Basics: Mastering the Art of Capturing Moments</title>

In this example, the meta title conveys the content of the page, including the main topic “Photography Basics” and an enticing subtext “Mastering the Art of Capturing Moments” helping users understand the page quickly and offering a reason to click.

Meta Title Guidelines

Google usually shows the initial 50–60 characters of a title tag. If a meta title is fewer than 60 characters, it ensures that about 90% of titles display properly. While there’s no fixed character limit due to variations in width, it’s noteworthy that Google’s display titles currently max out at 600 pixels.

Google is Not Showing My Meta Title in the Search Results

Google attempts to align the title with the user’s search intent, various factors can cause the search engine to rewrite titles. These factors can include the page lacking a specific and descriptive meta title, or if a website features multiple pages sharing identical titles with only slight variations. These factors may play a role in the search engine taking the initiative to modify the titles.

Google has specified that meta titles are used for the vast majority of search results, roughly 87% of the time. They have also clarified that they have incorporated text beyond title elements when their systems identify situations where the title element may not adequately describe a page. This includes scenarios where certain pages have empty titles, others consistently use the same titles irrespective of the actual content, and some pages lack title elements altogether.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is an HTML element that provides a brief summary or description of the content on a web page. It is typically displayed below the clickable link (meta title) on search engine results pages (SERPs). The meta description serves as an easy to understand preview of the pages content, offering users a glimpse into what they can expect. Well-crafted meta descriptions help to not only inform users about the content but also aim to increase clicks to your website. While meta descriptions do not directly influence search engine rankings, they play a crucial role in increasing user engagement. Here is an example of a good meta description for a recipe website:

<meta name="description" content="Explore delicious and nutritious recipes for a wholesome lifestyle. From quick meals to snacks, fuel your body with our curated selection.">

This meta description helps to boost SEO by succinctly highlighting a diverse collection of delicious and nutritious recipes, encouraging user engagement and relevance to common search queries. It also follows Googles guidelines for meta description best practices.

Meta Description Guidelines

Meta Tag Optimization Tips

Optimize your meta description for better SEO results by ensuring it falls within the ideal length range. Aim for a concise yet informative description, with a maximum length of 155 characters or 920 pixels and a minimum length of 70 characters or 430 pixels. This approach enhances search engine visibility, ensuring your content is both informative and engaging for users, and helps the search results display the description you want it to.

Why is Google Rewriting My Meta Description?

Frequently, the meta description you created may not be the one displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). Several factors can contribute to this behavior. If your description doesn’t effectively depict the content, Google might extract information directly from the on-page content. Additionally, your designated description could appear for specific queries but not others, as Google aims to align with searcher intent, selecting a snippet that better suits perceived intent. The resulting description is often a compilation of sentences from different sections of the page.

Tips for Effective Meta Titles and Descriptions

  • Highlight Uniqueness: Clearly convey what makes the page unique or distinctive. Identify and emphasize the key selling points or information that set your page apart from others.
  • Incorporate Call to Actions (CTAs): Include compelling CTAs to encourage user engagement. Use action verbs or phrases that prompt users to explore, learn, discover, or take specific actions related to your content.
  • Create Engaging Content: Craft a meta description that is not only informative but also engaging. Use language that captivates the audience, sparks curiosity, or provides a solution to a user’s query.
  • Include Relevant Keywords: Integrate relevant keywords naturally into both the meta title and description. This helps improve search engine visibility and ensures that your content aligns with user search queries.
  • Follow Length Guidelines: Adhere to the recommended length guidelines to ensure that your meta title and description are fully visible in search results. For meta titles, aim for around 50–60 characters, and for meta descriptions, stay within 155 characters.

By incorporating these tips, you can create meta titles and descriptions that not only align with SEO best practices but also actively engage your users, enhancing click-through rates and overall audience engagement. With the help of our expert SEO content writing team, you can contribute significantly to the visibility and effectiveness of your online content.

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