What Meta tags do and how your website benefits when you get them right

Meta tags are pieces of markup language used to create web pages. They are written in HyperText Markup Language, (HTML) and enclosed in angle brackets like this: <html>.

Right from the get-go many websites make basic mistakes when it comes to the meta title and meta description shown on each page.

It’s key to note that with so many factors going into building a website this can easily slip through the cracks or not be factored in as part of the budget. Due to the technical nature this could also very easily be missed by marketing or website owner during new page or blog post creation. It's therefore beneficial to have an audit process in place that helps you identify, correct and leverage off your website content.

It’s said you can't judge a book by its cover, but websites actually are often judged just this way and that’s why it’s crucial you get these tags right on all your pages.

the meta tag sweetspot

Firstly, page title and description are displayed in the Google search results snippet, so they are very important indicators for both Google and consumers scanning through a list of 10+ entries.

From an onsite perspective Google and other search engines, including criticone, will crawl your pages and try to best understand the topic, relevance and consistency you are offering.

When Google encounters an empty, duplicate or irrelevant page title, it can and will replace it with content from the given page it deems to be suitable. If this happens it makes a bad problem worse. This further emphasises the importance of making your meta tags relevant to your page, topic and audience. Simply not knowing the system, or trying to dupe the system, could result in duping your own business.

Whether you’re building a new website or refining an existing one, it’s important to send the right signals to search engines, or your website will not offer the clear and sharp information search engines need and consumers expect. This has been known to reduce a websites performance in search exposure and click through traffic.

The most important points you need to know to get the most out of Google search;

  1. Don’t use the same keyword phrases across multiple page titles and descriptions
  2. Make sure any given meta title and/or description is not duplicated across multiple pages
  3. The content/keyword theme used on each specific page is reflected within that page’s meta title and meta description
  4. Meta tags are kept clear, short and precise and;
  5. the focus is on readability, relevance to that page and creating genuine appeal
  6.  Length wise, try to keep below 70 characters for your page titles & 155 characters for page descriptions
  7. Place important points first – and shorter is better especially with mobile search results being known to show less of your description
  8. Don’t go crazy trying to optimise all your pages. Pages like Contact and About Us can be kept simple and short – you don’t want to confuse search engines as to which page is most important for a given topic/theme
  9. Don't stuff as many keywords in as you can. This isn't consumer or Google friendly at all
  10. Avoid using quotes as Google has been known to cut the descriptions off.

As a side note, meta titles are shown in the browser tabs, when a page is bookmarked, and by default when linked by some external websites.

How do you write the ideal meta tag?

When writing the ideal meta tag;
  • Be relevant and accurate with your description of the page’s content
  • Consider your brand strength and be sure you mention it clearly, to achieve greater stand out
  • Emphasise credibility and emotional connection/engagement
  • Connect with your audience via brand consistency and focus on the desire to click

Above all, do not launch a new website with irrelevant or duplicated titles, as this impacts directly on how Google perceives your website. And it impacts even more significantly on human perception, website click through and exit rates.

So what does this all look like? And how do you differentiate between good and average?

Examples 1 & 2 have missing or unfocused keywords & content in their page title/ meta descriptions, but example 3 shows how to be more relevant to their service and audience.

good meta descriptions

Want to know what this looks like in your page code?


Good example;

<title>What Meta tags do & how your website benefits when you get them right</title>

<meta name="description" content="The 10 most important points that will enable you to maximise your web page meta tags for greater search results and improved click through traffic." />

And here is a not so good example of the same;

<title>Meta tags, meta title and meta descriptions pointers | criticone online intelligence</title>

<meta name="description" content="A meta tag and meta description are used on your web pages and shown in Google’s search results. We explain how they work." />

It’s important to note that you are crafting a relevant and focused hook that represents the page content, but is also attractive to the eyeballs you’re targeting.

What to do if you’d like to know more

If you would like more information about how to get the best from your SEO, or more advice on making sure your Meta tags are working for you, and not against you, call us at criticone now!

Feel free to trial our system, join our tips and trends newsletter, or get in touch.

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