Every week we get phone calls from our clients on what to write in the Meta title, Meta description and Meta keywords fields. So in case you have the same questions and to save you time we’ve put together this post to help you learn all you need to know about Meta Data, and how to effectively use it in your business for SEO and drive traffic to your website.

Meta keywords

Let’s deal with the easiest first. Meta keywords has zero (0) impact on search engine rankings for Google, as it has not been a ranking factor for years. Save yourself the time and skip this step. However, some people do use this field to enter keywords for internal search in Magento.

Meta Title

The Meta title is the most important piece of Meta data for SEO. In addition to giving a boost to your rankings, it will in most cases act as the headline in the search results page. However, Google will in some cases create its own Meta title based on content on your page if it believes it to be better suited to the search query.

Meta titles in search results

When writing your Meta title, it is important to consider three things: the length of the sentence, the keywords you wish to optimise for on the specific page and how you can convince the searchers to click on your listing.

The length

Google only gives you a limited space for your Meta title, with the space dependent on width rather than characters. But for simplicity’s sake, we normally say that you have between 56-60 characters for your Meta title. Whatever exceeds this lengths will not be shown in the search results, and replaced with “…” as can be seen in the image above. Google will still consider the excluded information for search results, but we recommend keeping the information concise to ensure that the important information is visible to the searchers. Keeping the Meta title too short such as LED Torch Shop in the example above, you miss out on both ranking for added keywords, while having less of a chance to get the viewers’ attention and convince them to click through. The eBay listing is within the correct length, leading to the whole title being visible.

The keywords to optimise for

When we optimise a website and webpages for search engine optimisation, we always research thoroughly what keywords are used by searchers, and which are more likely to lead to sales. We aim to optimise for different keywords on the different pages so that the same website will not have two or three pages competing to rank for the same search query. The keywords also carry more weight the earlier in the title they appear. The words entered in the search query will also be bolded in the search results, helping your listing stand out. In the search example above for “LED torches”, the words LED, torch, torches and the synonym flashlight are shown in bold text.

Get them to choose you

Ranking on the first page of search results will have little value if you cannot convince the searchers to visit your website. It is essential to write with the readers in mind as well, not just the search engine formula. The title and description gives you a great opportunity to feature your key selling point or point of difference. What makes your product or company special, what benefit do customers get from choosing you?

Some extra tips

We recommend capitalising the first letter for the main words in a title tag. This both tells search engines that the word is important, while making them stand out. Keep in mind that capitalised letters do take up more space than non-capitalised, meaning that you will have less space to communicate in. Moz.com provides a good tool for testing out if the length of your title will be too long or not.

Meta description

At the moment, the Meta Description has no or very little impact on search engine rankings, but that does not make it any less important. The Meta description normally represents the subheading in you search engine listing, making it a great opportunity to convince the searchers to visit your website. Tell them what you do or sell on the various pages and the benefits of choosing you. We recommend adding a call to action, such as “buy today”, “order now” and so on. Write about the promotions you have, such as free shipping offers. Do not just write the same information as in the Meta title, as the readers will already know about this. As with the Meta title, the keywords used in the search query will be highlighted in the search results. So even if they give little value towards ranking you better, including them will help draw the attention of the searchers, aiding click through rates.

The Meta description has also limited space available for your messages. Google allows for approximately 155 – 160 characters, depending on the width of the characters. Capitalised letters also take up more space than non-capitalised.

Rich snippets

Want to stand out more in search results? Incorporating rich snippets in your website’s code will result in added information such as price, breadcrumbs, reviews and star ratings being visible in the search results. There are lots of quality marketing services that can help you optimise your site for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets in search results
Rich snippets in search results

In the above example, both listings are using rich snippets, but only the apple store are showing reviews and star ratings, making it stand out and more likely to be clicked. The Harvey Norman listing is only displaying the price in rich snippets, meaning that they are missing out on valuable opportunities to attract your attention.

Give us a call about how we can help you get a better natural ranking and stand out in the search results.