Ep 8: SEO Page Titles And Meta Descriptions

meta podcast seo titles Jul 22, 2020

Today on Marketing in 10, we’re talking about one of the most important SEO factors and that’s your page titles and meta descriptions. We’ll talk about why they’re important, what they should be and how to continually test and improve them.

Hey, everyone, Jim Lastinger here. Hope that you’re doing well, and that everything’s okay in your corner of the world. Today, we’re going to be talking about SEO. One of the SEO elements that are easy to change, but has a really big impact on how well your site performs overall, and you kind of want to know one of the SEO basics, is page titles and meta descriptions. Having good page titles and meta descriptions helps your site rank better, helps you get more clicks and helps users understand your content a little bit better. Very important for SEO, very important for usability.

So what are meta descriptions and page titles? Okay. Page titles are essentially just a short description of what the page is about. Think about it this way. In Word Press, the page title defaults to the name of the post or the page that you’re writing. In Shopify, it’s typically something like the name of the product that pays that you’re offering, or the name of the collections page. So those would be page titles.

When you’re looking at a SERP, search engine result page, the page title is what shows up as the blue clickable link. So if you’re looking, if you’re searching for something and you see all the search results on a Google page, for example, the actual links that you click, those are the page titles.

Meta descriptions are like slightly longer descriptions of the page. If the page title is short and succinct, the description is a little bit longer. They’re usually two to three sentences, something like 150, 165 characters. Sometimes Google displays longer ones like double that link, 300, 320 characters, something like that. They kind of go back and forth. But to be on the safe side, shoot for 150, 165 characters. The purpose of the description is to provide more context, tell readers what’s on your page and give them a reason to click on your search result instead of everybody else’s.

Many sites, they never really think twice about page titles and meta descriptions. So they’ll leave them whatever the default is and never look at it again. Sites that do well with SEO know that manipulating the page titles and meta descriptions gives you a big advantage. So if you look at page titles and meta descriptions together, they kind of look like ad copy. And that’s kind of how I like to think about it.

So the better that copy is the more likely that people will click on your page instead of everybody else’s. And if your page tends to get clicked more than everybody else’s, that’s competing with you on keywords, then you’re going to naturally move up the search results page. You’re going to rank better. So that kind of makes sense. Google is always trying to make sure that the user experience is as good as possible. So if your site tends to get clicked more than everybody else’s, it makes sense that, okay, this site’s better than the other ones. So we’re going to move them up so that more people see it. So that’s a good example of how page titles and meta descriptions really help with SEO.

Okay. So now we know what page titles and descriptions are. How do you go about writing good titles and descriptions? So I’ve got a complete guide to writing titles and descriptions on my agency website, the Deep Field site. And I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. But at a high level, writing titles and descriptions is all about getting clicks. So that’s making your SERP listing more attractive than everybody else’s by giving a solid description of what your page offers, and including a call to action. Call to action is hugely important. You always want to encourage people to click on your site. You don’t want to give away all of the information. If you’re providing information, you don’t want to give all that away in the title and description. You want to hold kind of the most important things back and encourage the user to click, to find out the rest of it.

Using the terminology and wording that your customers use when describing your products is also important. This is where keyword research comes in. You have a limited amount of space in your titles and descriptions. So it’s important to focus on keywords that make the most sense for the people that are going to be searching. So you want to use the keywords that will resonate with your readers.

Next, let’s talk about titles and descriptions and how they affect your SEO. Okay. Again, using keywords in your page titles as a ranking factor. So typically, you want to place your primary keyword kind of close to the beginning of the page title. If you have multiple keywords that you want to rank for, then you can put them both in the title, just make sure that it reads well. Readability is very important here. Again, Google is looking for usability, what’s going to work well for you, for readers. So making it human readable and helpful is you’re kind of always the number one priority.

Meta-descriptions themselves, they’re not really a ranking factor. Not directly, anyway. You can put your keywords in the description, but it really won’t help you rank better. What you want to focus on is writing a compelling and persuasive meta-description. So that’s going to help you get the better click through rate like we’ve already talked about, which is an SEO ranking factor. Writing good descriptions can help improve your rankings and traffic, but it’s kind of an indirect improvement.

And it’s also important to test your titles and meta descriptions. I’m a big fan of testing anything that you can, and that applies to titles and descriptions as well. There’s no such thing as perfect when it comes to marketing. And there’s no reason you can’t continually improve these over time. So I recommend testing different page titles and descriptions. See which ones rank better. See which ones get better click through rates, get better traffic.

And I have a process that I’ve worked out over the years for this, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes (link to page title and meta description process). And there’s a Google sheet there that you can use to track changes and performance and kind of see what works well for you. I’ve done this on a bunch of different sites over the years, and it’s amazing how much difference you just continually testing titles and descriptions can make. Just think about it. If you can take a particular keyword from say a 2.5% click through rate to a 5% click through rate, it’s not a dramatic change in click through rate, but that would end up being double the traffic. So, that’s kind of how important these types of things are.

That’s all I have for today. Make sure you take a look at: jimlastingor.com/8. That’s the number eight. So jimlastinger.com/8, and I’ll have links to all these resources that I’ve talked about. I’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting around this for you. So make sure you take a look at those. Also, please take a minute to leave a rating and review for the podcast. That’s the best way to grow the podcast and help me to be able to serve more people. I’ll be back soon with another episode of Marketing in 10, where we’re going to be talking about Google shopping and specifically the differences between the old school, regular shopping campaigns, and smart shopping campaigns. Until then, take care, guys.

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