With a seemingly never-ending stream of web pages on the Internet, it’s no easy task. That’s why search engines like Google use certain metrics to ensure the right pages rank.
One of the key components of web page rankings is metadata. Search engines depend on metadata since it is designed to indicate what’s on the web page.
But what exactly is metadata? In short, metadata is the HTML information used to help both search engines and web visitors to understand what a website is all about. It includes a title tag, a meta description, and a meta keywords tag.
What You’ll Learn:
- The definition of a meta title
- Why they are so important for SEO
- Common mistakes to avoid
- Best practices for creating meta titles
Meta Title Definition
The meta title is arguably the most important part of that trio and is perhaps what inspired you to click on this very article.
Not only is it the first point of contact a user has with your website in search engine results, but a meta title provides searchers and search engines with an accurate and concise description of the contents that reside on the web page.
In a sense, it’s a balancing act as it serves as both a “hook” and a summary of what the article is about so that readers can determine whether they’ll find the information they’re looking for if they click on that link.
Plus, the meta title isn’t only visible on search engines. They’re also displayed at the top of the page tab in many web browsers and usually serve as the subject of an email or the title of a bookmark.
Here’s how the code should look:
<title>Your title </title>
Why are Meta Titles Important?
Meta titles are a critical component of search engine optimization and are the first thing you’ll be building when putting together your web page.
For one, your meta title is often the first thing a visitor will notice when performing a search. So, this is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Also, meta titles, when implemented correctly, can serve as brand leverage. If people click on entries that they recognize, it leads to more clicks and therefore, more traffic to your site.
Essentially, the meta title can be the deciding factor between someone clicking on a link or going elsewhere.
In fact, without meta tags, it’s nearly impossible to reach readers organically.
While it isn’t very time-consuming to generate meta tags, it’s much more important than you might think. Here’s why:
- 93 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine.
- Organic listings receive more than 70 percent of search engine traffic.
- Over 40 percent of revenue is secured through organic traffic.
- 75 percent of users only click on results located on the first page.
- Between 70 and 80 percent of visitors ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results instead.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Creating Meta Titles
A good meta title can help your page rank higher in search engine results. But many marketers tend to focus more on writing meta titles that cater to search engine robots instead of real website visitors.
Meta title missteps can negatively affect your website’s performance in search results or baffle web users in some cases. The most common meta title mishaps include:
- Not creating a meta title at all
- Crafting titles that are too long or too short
- Using generic or ambiguous titles
- Adding incorrect abbreviations to the title
- Creating over-optimized titles via “keyword stuffing”
- Assigning your page the same name as your business or website
- Making your page names indistinguishable from one another
- Naming your page without having it connect to your content or other important metadata
- Replicating keywords within the meta title
Meta Title Best Practices
Meta titles have more potential in terms of SEO value than most marketers realize. In one case study, researchers found that improving the meta title of a webpage resulted in a 37 percent increase in web traffic to that page. So, if you aren’t optimizing your meta titles yet, you’re missing out.
To make the most out of the somewhat limited space you have for meta titles, here are a few best practices:
Pay close attention to length
Google and most other search engines will show 50-60 characters of meta in their search results before cutting it off, so you should generally try to limit your meta titles to 50 characters or less. That way, the whole tag fits on the results page, making it easier for users to read it quickly.
Craft unique meta titles for each page
Just as each page on your website is unique, your meta titles should be as well. You want your meta title to signal to search engines what your individual page is all about. It needs to be equal parts accurate, compelling, and highly relevant to the content found on that specific page. To do this, you need to understand what resonates with visitors. The ultimate goal is to make the title appealing enough to persuade visitors to click to find out more about what you’re offering.
Use keywords without overdoing it
Keywords are essential but be sure to allocate them wisely in your meta title. Start by placing the most important keywords towards the front of the title tag. Search engines typically “bold” or “highlight” those terms in the search results when a user is performing a search query with those terms. However, you want to refrain from keyword spamming. There’s no reason to have the same word or phrase repeated multiple times in your meta title.
Meta titles are short, but they are powerful.
While they’re easy to overlook when you have so many other marketing aspects that require your attention, simply ignoring meta titles can cost you in the long run.
Carving out some time to work on your meta titles can improve your rankings, increase your click-through rates, and ultimately, provide a “bigger bang for your buck.”