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In the quest to get more customers, there’s one component of marketing that regularly gets overlooked: title and meta description tags. These small snippets of copy can make a world of difference for getting users from the search results to your website. They’re also key for getting the right kinds of customers to not only click your link but stay motivated to make a purchase. Here’s how you can wield them like a pro.

What Are Title and Meta Description Tags?

These small pieces of copy tell Google how to display your website in search results. The title tells Google what to call your page (in a clickable headline), while the description is that snippet that pops up under your title to tell users more about what they’ll find if they click your link. When you don’t tell Google what to display as your title and description, Google does its best to create them from info on your site. Unfortunately, search engines don’t make the best copywriters, so it’s best to have a human create them.title tag and meta description example

How to Create an Effective Title Tag

The best title tags are both concise and accurate. Long titles will be cut off and even rejected by Google, while inaccurate titles, like clickbait headlines inaccurate titles will lead to users clicking away as soon as they realize you’re not offering what they want – which can indirectly lower your organic rankings.

Google will only display the first 600 pixels of your title. What does that translate to in characters? Around 50 or 60, depending on which characters you use (some letters are just naturally wider than others; think “m” versus “i”).

When writing your title tag, include:

  • A search keyword, placed early in the tag
  • A value proposition
  • Language your customers would use
  • Use terms like Buy, Get, Today as a Call to Action

Unless your brand name is well recognized (Coca-Cola or GoodYear), using it in your title isn’t all that effective, so don’t spend any characters on it. Google is very smart and aware of branding and will show your website for branded queries. Adding your brand to the title takes up valuable click-worthy space.

Once you have created a title tag that you think will get users to take notice and click, run it through Moz’s Title Tool. This tool will show what the title will look like in the search result pages. Are words cut off? Do you have extra space? Don’t forget if your title is too long Google reserves the right to ignore it and provide one based on your content.

How to Create an Effective Meta Description Tag

Meta descriptions have a higher character limit than titles – up to 160 characters. This tag is to convince customers to click your link by proving you have the product, service, or answer they are looking for.

That’s it.

It’s tempting to want to completely describe the webpage, but this strategy isn’t effective and usually results in tags that are too long anyway. Instead, just include:

  • Your value proposition, what do you do better than your competitors
  • A relevant keyword, (one that’s also in the webpage copy)
  • An accurate description that gets customers to click your link, not people looking for something else

Upping your Tag Game

In addition to the above, each and every title and meta description tag should be unique. Google can dock you if you repeat them. It shouldn’t be too hard to create custom tags and titles for all of your pages if you focus on what the goal of the page is.

Once you have carefully crafted and uploaded the titles and meta descriptions open up an incognito window in Google. This is a clean version of your browser that has not been personalized. Do a search for your product, company, or service to see what title and meta description Google is showing. If what is showing in the SERP is not what you wrote you will need to do some troubleshooting. First check to see how long the title and meta description you created are. If the lengths are within limits then you should work with your web developer or SEO to have them dig into the back-end of your site.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be, especially for large sites or if you’re not sure where to begin. Good thing cThru Media is here to help, right? Contact us today to get started!