In our previous lesson, we learned about Keyword Research and Why It's Important. In this lesson, we will learn about Creating Effective Meta Titles and the best practices to draw in traffic. Our main focus will be on Meta Titles and their Best Practices.
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In the previous lesson, we talked about how to curate a strong list of keywords that you can use to help Google Bots appropriately index your site, and return it on the right Search Engine Results Pages. These keywords, along with strong Meta Titles and attention grabbing Meta Descriptions, will assist your potential visitors in deciding whether or not to visit your website. These are key factors for enticing customers to visit your website.
Creating Effective Meta Titles:
First, let's answer some basic questions:
"Every webpage (e.g. homepage, subpage) has its own title. The [meta] title is laid out in HTML code and appears in the title bar of the browser. Search engines display page titles in their search results. In addition, search engines use [meta] titles in order to recognize what information the website contains. Ideally page titles should include the search term for which the website has been optimized." - Searchmetrics.com
What does a Meta Title look like on a Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)?
When we search the internet for our favorite funny cat videos or the best place to get a hamburger, we use Meta Titles to quickly gather the topic of the page. As an example, I have pulled up one of my favorite resources for Marketing and SEO knowledge, Moz.com:
The text highlighted in the red box is what we call the Meta Title (also can be referred to as the Page Title). As the definition above states, this gives the user the "topic" of the page they are interested in visiting.
How long should a Meta Title be?
Google has not released an official number of characters that a Meta Title should have, however, after doing extensive research on this MOZ suggests that limiting your Meta Titles to less than 59 characters will produce the greatest result.
Now that we have the basics covered, let's dig in a little more about what makes a "GOOD" Meta Title.
Google's Search Console Help Center makes the following statement about Meta Titles:
"Titles affect how your pages are displayed and whether a user wants to click on your site in search results. Compare them to titles of a book or chapter. They should be descriptive and concise. Long titles can confuse people and may not fully display in search results. Generic titles like "Home" don’t describe a page's content either."
When we consider the searches we make, how many times have you read the title of a page and decided not to click on it because of the information presented? I'll bet this has happened at least once -- and this is a great lesson in SEO effectiveness! So, if we want to attract buyers to our site, and stay within Google & MOZ's best practices, we'll have to get a little creative with our SEO tactics (which shouldn't be hard for you -- you get creative with your art every day!).
As an example: Let's say I'm a Photographer, and I take pictures of adorable puppies.
(Adorable Puppy for reference)
So I now go to my product's SEO tab, and I'm presented with these empty boxes:
The SEO title (The Meta Title) is what we're going to see as the clickable link on the SERPs results, but I need to make sure that I write something descriptive, concise AND under 59 characters long.
I could just put "Adorable Puppy" and be done with it. That meets all of the above criteria, right?
While that suggestion does meet all of the criteria, it isn't very attention-grabbing, and most people would skim right over it. So, how do we effectively follow that criteria and grab a customer's attention?
....This is where we get creative.
Lets focus on the image above for a moment:
What keywords can we pull from that image that people might commonly search for?
After 30 seconds of brainstorming, I got these:
|Tiny||Baby||Little Puppy||Small Dog|
Now I've got a few descriptive keywords that I could possibly use to capture a potential visitor's attention.
Using the above keywords as a guide, I came up with a Meta Title that follows all of the aforementioned guidelines:
"Adorable Teacup Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Prints"
Not only does this title describe what is on the page accurately, but it gives additional search keywords and lets the visitor know that prints are available on this site. With this new title, I can now go add this back into the SEO title field, like so:
Once Google Bots come and crawl my website, the SERP will present my title like this:
Keep in mind, though, you will still need to do some management of your SEO fields. While this title does fit all of the guidelines, this is a basic example and should also be researched over time for performance. Titles can change -- and should change, based on keyword relevance and search-ability. Refer back to the Lesson on Keyword Research for great resources on how to do research on the effectiveness of the keywords you've chosen.