SEO Meta Descriptions and Tiles
When those of us who are not data analysts hear about anything to do with ‘data’ we immediately think – dry, boring, a ton of math and a whole lot of ‘not understanding’. That reaction is understandable, not many of us are built for that sort of thing.
Meta Data, however, is a whole different story. It is not as boring as you would think nor is it as complicated so you may think. With just a little interest, you can clearly understand how it impacts your SEO efforts and how you can best use it to your advantage.
How Meta Data Attracts New Website Visitors
Let’s imagine you own a business that sells coffee makers. You are looking for ways to promote your business online. You start with your blog since it’s a good place to showcase your product. You decide that for your first blog post you want to write an article about the ‘best coffee maker on the market’. That article contains things like titles, subtitles, images, and links with descriptions and more. These snippets of information are examples of what is called metadata.
Simply put, Metadata is data that describes other data. It provides the public as well as the search engines spiders with context about the subject matter of website’s content.
Examples of Metadata include things like; Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Image Tags and Alt attributes.
What is Meta Data and How does it
Chances are in your lifetime you have done hundreds if not thousands of search engines queries. You go to your favorite search engine, type in your desired search phrase and up pops a list of results.
Most of us never stop for a moment to consider what mechanisms are in place that tells each page what to show in the search engine results? Why are some results shorter and some longer, Why is one page title and description used over another in a given set of results? Why do some results get cut off when others do not? These questions are all essential to understanding the purpose and importance of meta-titles and meta-descriptions.
We will begin our explanation from the top down. Let’s explain and examine title tags.
In their more raw form, title tags are HTML snippets that define a web page’s title. These tags are listed out and shown on a search engine’s result pages (SERPS) and are the clickable headlines one uses to click through to a website.
To create an effective title tag, it needs to start with the most important keyword that you want to rank for. For example, if you wanted to rank for the phrase ‘The Best Coffee Makers’ and your company was named ‘Coffee Co Inc’ your meta title may look something like the below.
The Best Coffee Makers You Can Buy | Coffee Co Inc
When it comes to meta titles and descriptions there are character limits that you should be aware of. As of this writing, it’s recommended to keep your meta title between 50-60 characters. If you go beyond this your meta title will still show up but you may run the risk of your text getting cut off in the search engine results page.
Now let’s examine meta descriptions
When doing a web search among the results that you receive, there are listed segments of text under each link, typically a line or two of content showing you what you can expect to see when you click that link. This snippet of text is called the ‘Meta Description’. A Meta Description is like the elevator pitch for your website. It’s one of your best opportuniti
es to tell people in less that 146 characters, what they will find on your website if should they click on through and navigate into a site.
Below is an example of a meta description.
<meta name=”description” content=”This is meta description example.”>
Don’t let this snippet of code syntax intimidate you, you do not have to memorize or even understand it all that well. Chances are if you are are on the web today, you are using a CMS (Content Management System). (backend administrable website framework) Most modern content management systems today are designed in such a way that all you need to do to update your metadata is, add your meta description into a form field and your content management system does the rest.
Both meta-titles and meta-descriptions are integral to the format and health of your website as they provide context to each pages subject matter.
When done correctly metadata helps your website’s visibility and improves your likelihood of attracting more traffic and engagement. If you want to learn more about how to audit and optimize your meta data check our Meta Tags SEO.