The Writing Phase: Let's get META! How to make the most of title and descriptions

In this lesson we'll answer three questions: What exactly is a meta description? What are some SEO tips to create perfect meta descriptions?

Transcript & mp3 file 👇

Hey Danni from Surfer here! Welcome to this bonus lesson from Pillar 2. So, we're going to talk a bit more about meta descriptions and titles tags. I want to preface this lesson by saying Google is constantly evolving.

Although the meta description plays an integral part, the bots scrape different parts of the page for descriptions, and headings for titles. Anything and everything to improve the quality of search results. At least this is what Google claims.

If you want to see an example of this, just install Keyword Surfer and look at the badge close to SERP's titles – if there's a badge called "title changed" it means that Google took something other than what was suggested by the user. Keyword Surfer is our free Chrome extension! You should check it out!

Now, where was I?

By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:

What is a meta description?

Why is it important?

What are the SEO rules of crafting perfect meta descriptions?

How do you create an amazing title tag?

Ready or not, let’s get to it!

A meta description is an HTML attribute that describes what your page is about. It appears under the title tag in search result snippets and social media cards. Meta descriptions can be any length in theory, but Google usually cuts it down to 155-160 characters on desktop and around 120 on mobile.

This is prime real estate, and the perfect opportunity to give the reader more context about what your article or post is about.

Want to make the most of your meta description?

Here are a few pointers: Consider putting a CTA in the meta description, or at least use actionable, direct language that factors in user intent. Always match the search intent. Think about why the visitors might want to go to your site. If they have an informational intent, answer the question in your meta description. If their intent is commercial and they’re researching many options for a given product, maybe list a few of these options in the description. And finally, if it fits your brand and tone, go for emojis or special symbols! They’ll help you stand out on the SERP!

Hope that helps!

Let’s talk a little about title tags!

Title tag is what we call the, one of the HTML tags, located at the top of a document file. What matters is that it gets displayed on the search engine result pages as the clickable headline for our page.

Many people confuse < h1> and < title> tag. In actuality, they’re two totally different HTML tags. But they do have pretty much the same function - to tell the user about the main subject of the webpage.

The title tag is the title displayed in the browser window, search engine snippets, and social media cards. Whereas, h1 might be the title displayed on our actual page.

Here are some tips to keep in mind regarding title tags:

No matter what, have your keyword appear in the title. Just remember to always make your title people-friendly!

Make sure your title tag matches the search intent of your keyword. For example, if your topic is about something current, include the current year or even month in the topic. Tap into your audience’s pain points and the unique aspects of your offer. That will make your headline more emotional without the outdated “power words‘ that don’t work on anyone anymore.

For example, “10-minute on-page SEO tips that will fix your broken rankings” sounds much more clickable than something like “best SEO tips for 2022” Make sure your title is no longer than 60 characters. Google operates with pixels, and 60 is more or less the number of signs it can display fully. Even though the title tag copy is brief, try to be as descriptive as possible.

Always try to make the audience know what they’ll find inside. Have you written a list, a guide, or maybe an interview? Include the content type in the title. Hubspot recommends putting it in brackets, for example: How to increase your organic traffic? [17+ tips] When it comes to formatting, try to go either for a sentence format, or a title case format. All caps will just make your website look spammy, and no one wants that! Write a unique title tag for each page.

You’ll avoid confusing the bots and your pages won’t compete with each other.

That was a lot of information, so let me summarize it for you quickly:

Title tag does not an H1 make.

The title tag is what people click on, so make sure it has your keyword and matches the search intent. H1 is what people will see on the actual page, and helps Google crawl seamlessly through your website! Lastly, the meta description is your chance to give an SEO-optimized teaser of sorts to convince the us er to click on your site, so don’t be afraid to throw in an emoji or two, if the spirit moves you!

Grab a coffee, and I'll meet you in the next lesson. Happy Surfing!

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