In an age of data-driven decision-making, meta tags serve as a cornerstone to organic search engine marketing success. All indexable pages of your website should have a meta title and description. This helps support organic SEO rankings and plays a part in website ADA conformance. In addition, some sites may use meta robots to tell a search engine if a page should or should not be crawled. Let’s explore what title tags and meta descriptions are, and why they are a critical first step in following SEO best practices.
What is a Title Tag?
A title tag is an HTML element used to define the title of a web page in search engines. Title tags are typically placed within an HTML document's <head> section and are not visible on the web page itself. Instead, the title tag appears in the browser's title bar or tab when you visit a website. The title tag is also displayed as a clickable link in search engine results, making it a crucial element for search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience.
Why are Title Tags Important?
SEO: Search engines use title tags to understand the content of a web page and to hide duplicate content. A well-optimized title tag can help improve a page's visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), along with attracting more organic traffic. Note that an optimized title alone isn’t enough. The page content and other factors also need to follow SEO best practices.
User Experience: Title tags provide a concise description of the web page's content, helping users quickly understand the page. The tags can influence a user's decision to click on a search result or bookmark a page.
Browser Tab Description: When users have multiple tabs open in their web browser, title tags can help them identify and navigate between different web pages.
Social Media: Title tags determine how links are displayed and shared on social media. When users share a web page on social media platforms, the title tag becomes the default title of the shared link. A compelling and descriptive title can encourage more click-throughs when shared on social networks.
How Do I Write Strong Title Tags?
Follow these best practices for writing successful meta tags:
Write Unique Titles: Unique titles not only help search engines determine what the page is about, but they also can influence users to click on the page. The more unique the title, the less likely the page will be flagged by Google as a duplicate. Note that ADA guidelines also require a unique title tag for each page.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing: “Stuffing” a lot of keywords into your title tags can hurt that page's rankings, along with confusing your potential audience. Avoid this black hat technique.
Utilize Best Character Limit Practices: When writing title tags, keep titles between 58-65 characters, and between 150-155 characters when writing meta descriptions. Going over this amount will get this content cut off in search engines, and going under will be flagged negatively by SEO programs.
Why are Meta Descriptions Important?
Metadata elements, including the title tag and meta description, play a crucial role in a website’s SEO strength. A meta description tag is designed to inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a specific page is about. The information provided in your metadata helps search engines understand the content and relevance of a web page, and the more relevant a page to a user, the better it should rank in search results.
A well-crafted meta description can improve the click-through rate from search results, as it provides users with a clear and compelling preview of what a web page offers. While a meta description isn’t technically an SEO ranking factor, if users feel more comfortable that what they’re clicking on matches their intent, then this helps your overall SEO strategy. Note that a meta description isn’t an ADA compliance factor.
Should I Update My Meta Tags?
Meta tags serve a crucial role in identifying web pages. Therefore, every page on your website should have a title tag and meta description. Any time a new page is added to your website, unique meta tags should be implemented to ensure the page is ranking in search engines and driving clicks.
Similar to a new page being added, if a page on your website experiences an overhaul in fresh content, the original meta tags need to be updated to best represent the page’s new information. Keeping up-to-date meta tag information is imperative when looking to drive organic traffic to your website.
Let ZAG Interactive Help
Ongoing SEO maintenance, like updating and adding meta tags, identifying and fixing 404 errors and more requires continuous attention and a trained skillset. The SEO landscape is always changing, which is why it’s important to stay informed on the latest SEO best practices.
Title tags and meta descriptions are some of the many factors that can support, organic ranking success. Our team of digital strategists specializes in making sure your website is fully optimized and reaches as many users as possible. Contact us today to take your website to the next level.