Great Title and Description Tags Will Make Your Rankings Soar
When optimizing your website for search engine rankings many factors come into play, but when it comes down to “brass tacks,” optimizing your Title Tags and Meta Description Tags will make a world of difference.
Building the Ideal Title Tag
The Title Tag is the most important element to optimize on a your webpage because:
- Search engines place significant weight on the words used in the Title Tag when determining ranking.
- It is used as the title for the search engine results page listing. Therefore it is the first impression a search engine user will have when deciding which page to visit.
- When someone bookmarks your page, the title will be used as the bookmark heading. So have a title that stands out and is relevant to the site.
How should a Title Tag be formatted for best results? Here’s a simple formula we’ve developed in-house that seems to boost rankings:
- Start the title with the keyword phrase for which you are trying to get high rankings.
Be sure that the keyword phrase is well used on your webpage so the Title Tag is clearly synchronous with the relevance of the page as a whole.
- Insert a breaking character of some type such as a hyphen or double-colon to separate the initial keyword phrase from what comes next to make the title more readable.
- Describe the webpage in five words or less while using all or part of your target keyword phrase again, or
- Insert the name of your company or website, but make it three words or less so the second half of the Title Tag does not overshadow the first half. This option is generally best when the site name or website address includes the keyword phrase or a portion of it, such as a Houston car dealership that has the domain HoustonCarDeals.com.
In shortened form here is my formula for an great Title Tag:
[Keyword Phrase] :: [Description of Page or Website Name]
Building the Ideal Description Meta Tag
The Description Meta Tag is the next most important tag, since search engines frequently use it as the description for your page’s listing, thus increasing the chance that your webpage listing will be clicked on.
Begin the Description Tag with the same keyword phrase you used in the Title Tag. Then either use it to start a sentence describing your webpage or follow the same formula used with the Title Tag; just increase the length of the description from 5 words to a maximum of 15. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when writing the description:
- The entire tag should be no longer than 22 words.
- It should succinctly describe the webpage and entice users to click on your link in the search results.
- The keyword phrase should appear no more than two times in total. In some cases the phrase can be used three times but only if it does not detract from the quality of the writing. Optimization should never interfere with a customer’s experience.
In shortened form here are two formulas that can be used to create a great Description Tag:
[Keyword Phrase] – [Description of Page] OR,
[Description of page beginning with the keyword phrase]
If you have little time to commit to optimizing your website for search engine rankings, at least implement great Title and Description Tags and you will have completed the fundamentals required for improved search engine visibility.