How to Write Optimized Title Tags + Meta Descriptions

June 2020
 minute read
smartphone with google analytics displayed

Contrary to popular belief, creating a beautiful website that functions perfectly is just the beginning. Once you launch your website, maintenance often needs to be done to ensure proper functionality and growth for your business.

Among the numerous strategies for growth that building your website entails, search engine optimization (SEO) is perhaps the most important and complex. As a tireless collection of on-page and back-end optimizations, SEO gives even the most experienced web developers a run for their money.

One incredibly important aspect of your SEO strategy is the inclusion of title tags and meta descriptions. What are title tags and meta descriptions, and how do you use them? The leading  Pittsburgh web design agency is here to break it down.

What are Title Tags + Meta Descriptions?

Pittsburgh Web Design Experts Explain these Web Search Necessities

title tags and meta description SERP

Since it’s 2020, chances are that you’ve used a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing at some point within the past 48 hours. It’s easy now to fathom that we can type anything we want into the search bar and collect millions of results in a fraction of a second—a process which, when you really think about it, is daunting and quite incredible. 

Responsival—the leaders in Pittsburgh Web Design—encourages you to take a look at the above screenshot from Google. This is an example of a result you’ll find on a SERP, or search engine results page. The information here tells you exactly what you can expect to discover on the page.  

How does your search engine find what you’re looking for? Title tags and meta descriptions have a major role in this.

Title tags are designed to describe what your web page includes so that it can be properly indexed by your search engine. These short descriptions are also designed to hook a reader in, providing them with the most relevant information based on the search term. Not only does a title tag appear on a SERP, but also on external sites like Facebook or Twitter when using links.

Similar in many ways, a meta description includes a short summary of the content on the web page. This is a great place to put key terms and ideas that cannot fit in the limited space of a title tag. Both title tags and meta descriptions should be as compelling as possible to guide a user to your page.

Why do I Need Title Tags + Meta Descriptions?

Using Basic SEO Principles to Support and Reach Your Audience

MOZ SEO chart

To understand the importance of title tags and meta descriptions, you must first understand the importance of an SEO strategy for your website. SEO is an ongoing multi-faceted process that helps your webpage get discovered on search engines. Not only do title tags and meta descriptions play a role in your SEO strategy, but other factors like page speed, bounce rate, keyword usage, backlinks, and domain ranking can affect your search optimization.

Title tags and meta descriptions include the information that someone sees when searching for information on a search engine. If someone is choosing between your page from 9 others on the front page of Google, it’s important to use your title tags and meta descriptions to create a clear and effective path to finding the information they need—the information that’s on your website!

But your title tags and meta descriptions shouldn’t just aim to drive clicks. Poor descriptions can hurt your SEO if they are not specific or they are misleading because they may drive up your bounce rate and reduce the time users spend on the page, reducing your likelihood of ranking for those specific search terms.

How do I Write Effective Title Tags + Meta Descriptions?

google analytics

Title Tags

Designed to be a title for your page—as the name implies—it’s important to use relevant keywords in your title tags. We recommend completing keyword research using Google Search Console or ahrefs to determine which keywords can help you drive the most traffic. However, Google is smart enough to tell when you’re ‘keyword stuffing,’ or overdoing it for SEO, so be careful to strike the balance of using relevant keywords with compelling, accurate information.

Here are some other title tag creation tips:

  • Make your title tag relevant to the page content
  • Write naturally while including keywords
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Include your brand name when possible
  • Keep it between 60 and 64 characters or as many characters as you can fit into a 512-pixel display (some characters are naturally wider than others)

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are designed to summarize the contents of your page. For CMS items, we recommend using your platform’s capabilities to add variety to these as much as possible. Additionally, meta descriptions give you the space to showcase more specific, eye-catching details like free trial text and free shipping. 

Here are some other meta description tips:

  • Include keywords, but don’t keyword stuff your descriptions
  • Inspire curiosity with strategic language
  • Include a call to action
  • Keep your meta descriptions between 150 and 154 characters. If they’re too long, search engines will cut off the extra characters.

Need more help with your website’s SEO? Get in touch with the team at Responsival—the leading Pittsburgh web design agency—to get started with a custom SEO strategy.


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