So you want to know about how to get your website right up there at the top of the Google search page? Amongst other things, the two most important things you need to know about are what is a page title and a meta description, and then how to optimise them. This is because these are the first impressions a search engine user will get of your website, and as we all know you never get a second chance at a first impression!
Imagine that you have just pressed enter on a Google search and you have a stream of results that look like this:
The page title, or title tag as it is also known, is the text in blue (or purple if you have already visited the site) and the meta description is the small amount of text in grey below the website link. At this point it is make or break for your website as the surfer is presented with a wide selection of highly relevant choices and you want them to click through to your site and hopefully stay there!
What can you do to ensure this then?
There are two key aspects to the answer to this question, firstly you need to optimise the page title so that your website will appear as high up as possible in the SERPs but you also need to ensure that what is written in the meta description will entice the browser into clicking on your site over all the others.
According to research conduct by Moz, in order to optimise the page title firstly you need to ensure that it is between 50-60 characters, any longer and Google will truncate it which is not ideal if you have spent hours deciding on the perfect title. The purpose of a page title is to accurately and concisely represent the subject of the page, a key thing to remember here is that every webpage on your site is different meaning that so should your page titles! However, in order to truly optimise it for searches you must ensure that the keywords from the body not only appear in the page title but as close to the start as possible as it greatly improves your pages ranking.
It was announced in 2009 by Google that the meta description does not play a role in the ranking algorithm, however this does not mean that they are not important. Your page title (if keyword optimised) is unlikely to give an enriching portrayal your page’s contents, meaning that the meta description needs to inform and entice SE users so that they click through. As a webmaster you need to create a captivating description of the page while at the same time using all the important keywords to ensure the searcher will click through. Again, as found by Moz, the key thing to remember here is that your meta description needs to be between 150-160 characters to prevent truncation by Google.
You may be wondering why a range of character is offered as a solution and not a specific amount. The reason is because Google doesn’t truncate these elements after a specific number of characters, instead after a specific number of pixels. For example, regarding the page title the truncation point is after 512 pixels have been reached, so the only sure fire way to know if your page title is going to get cut off is by experimenting.
Hopefully by taking into account these two elements in your SEO strategy you can expect an increased amount of traffic to your website from SERPs, which can’t be such a bad thing can it?