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A guide to nailing title tags and meta descriptions

February 26th 2024

By Emily

title tags and meta descriptions

SEO might seem like a dark art, shrouded in complex algorithms and technical jargon, but it’s not as impenetrable as you’d think. In fact, we’re here to demystify it, starting with two of the most powerful tools in your arsenal: title tags and meta descriptions.

These are a crucial part of snagging that coveted spot in the search results. Getting them spot-on can mean the difference between soaring in visibility or getting lost in the web’s endless abyss.

With that being said, let’s break down how to master them.

Decoding title tags and meta descriptions

What are title tags?

Think of a title tag as your webpage’s headline, popping up in search results, browser tabs, and social shares. It’s the spark that ignites interest, guiding both search engine crawlers and punters to what your page is all about. It needs to be compelling yet informative and highly relevant, offering a sneak peek into the story (or content) that awaits.

What are meta descriptions?

Below your title tag in the search results sits the meta description, a brief blurb that teases the content of your page. It’s your elevator pitch, convincing users to click through with an accurate overview of what’s in store.

Winning title tag tactics

  1. Be sharp and snappy: Your title should hit the sweet spot of being descriptive yet concise, typically staying between 50-60 characters to avoid getting chopped off in search results.
  2. Keywords are… key: Slide relevant keywords towards the front of your title tag. This boosts SEO and aligns with what users are searching for, making your page the go-to spot. Just make sure those keywords actually reflect what folks are going to find once they land on your page…
  3. Flaunt your brand: If your brand’s a known name, make sure it features in your title. A common format is “Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name,” adding a dash of recognition.
  4. No repeat performances: Dodge the duplicate trap; ensure every page flaunts a unique title tag to clear up any confusion for both search engines and users, spotlighting the unique value each page offers.

Meta description mastery

  1. Energise with active voice: Keep your description vibrant with an active voice. Directly chat up your reader with punchy verbs that scream “click me!”
  2. Command action: Kick off with verbs that get the user moving. Highlight what they’ll gain by visiting your page and make it irresistible.
  3. Sprinkle in keywords: While they don’t directly boost your rankings, keywords in your meta description can make your snippet more clickable by mirroring what users are after.
  4. Show off your brand:  This is your chance to stand out and demonstrate your brand’s unique flair, so be sure to make sure you’re not just copying what competitors are saying. Demonstrate your own unique brand tone of voice to offer a preview into the kind of brand you are.
  5. Mind the length: Aim for under 160 characters to ensure your whole pitch gets spotlighted on the search results stage without getting the proverbial hook.

Top tips for both

  • Match user intent: Get into your users’ shoes; tailor your title and description to quench their thirst. This harmony can dramatically lift your click-through rates.
  • Evolve and adapt: Use tools like Google Search Console to track how your snippets are performing. Experiment and refine to find what resonates best.
  • Easy on the keywords: Jam-packing your title or description with keywords can make for a clunky read and turn users off. Keep it natural.
  • Pull at the heartstrings: Craft your words to spark curiosity or excitement without veering into clickbait territory. An emotional tug can make your listing shine.

Mastering title tags and meta descriptions is an art form in itself. It’s all about tweaking, testing, and tuning in to your audience.

Stick to these guidelines, keeping your audience front and centre, and you’ll not only boost your website’s visibility but also draw in more traffic.

Remember, clarity, relevance, and a touch of personality are your best mates for catching eyes and winning those clicks.

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