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Best Practices for Writing Titles and Meta Descriptions

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    A page’s title tag is an important ranking factor and helps search engines measure a page’s relevancy to a search query. The meta description, while not considered a direct ranking factor by search engines, is displayed in search results along with the title tag and link to the website. This snippet can influence the click-through rate (CTR) for that search result.

    Example:

    Screenshot of a title tag and meta description as it appears in the SERP.

    Title Tags

    A title tag is an HTML element, found within a web page’s header, which is important to SEO and search visibility. An optimized title tag, in most cases, should:

    • Be Accurate and Concise: Summarize the page’s content precisely.
    • Use Targeted Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords naturally.
    • Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Write naturally without overloading with keywords.
    • Ensure Uniqueness: Each title tag should be unique to each page.
    • Include Brand Name: Separate it with a delimiter like a pipe (|) or colon (:).
    • Character Limit: Ideally, keep it under 60 characters.

    Example:

    <title>Targeted Keyword | Brand Name</title>

    Targeted Keyword | Brand Name

    Meta Descriptions

    A meta description is an HTML element, found within a web page’s header, that provides a concise summary of a web page. While this element does not directly impact search visibility, it can be used to influence user behavior and increase the click-thru rate (CTR) for a given web page. An optimized meta description, in most cases, should:

      • Be Accurate and Concise: Provide a clear summary of the page.
      • Entice Users: Encourage clicks without sounding too “salesy.”
      • Character Limit: Keep it under 170 characters. 

    Example:

    <meta name=”description” content=”This is an example of a manually-set meta description for this web page. Learn more about writing an optimized meta description to increase CTR.”>

    Note on Google's Behavior

    Google may sometimes use excerpts from the web page content as the meta description if it finds them more relevant to the user query, especially if no meta description is provided.

    Helpful Tools

    There are a number of free online tools that can help with writing titles and meta descriptions, or display previews of how they will appear on the Google SERP. These can be especially helpful for letting you know when you’ve reached the character limit.

    Free tools:

    Using these tools, you can refine your titles and meta descriptions to improve your site’s SEO and increase your CTR.

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    About the Author

    SEO Associate

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