Title tags, meta descriptions and keywords

It amazes me how many companies don’t utilise title tags and meta descriptions. In an age where micro-blogging is common and SEO is key, surely these 69 character titles and 155 character descriptions are no brainers?

Of course, they’re not easy. These super-compact messages have to impress the search engines and drive clicks, all in an itty-bitty space. And as every copywriter knows, it’s harder to write short copy than long copy – especially when you’re jamming in keywords.

So here’s my how-to guide to title tags and meta description copywriting, for writers, bloggers and web publishers.

Title tags

The title tag is the headline that appears in search results – and also the header that sits at the top of the browser.

First rule – keep it to 69 characters with spaces. If you go over that, you risk your title tag being cut short by search engines. The brand name should be prominent, whether it’s your blog, your company or your product – I like to partition mine off at the start or the end of the tag, but each to their own.

The title itself should drive customers to the page, but you’ll also have to bear keywords in mind. Your title tags will also have an impact on SEO, so try to squeeze in keywords without weakening your sales message too much.

Meta tags

The meta tag is the short piece of copy that sits under the title tag in the search results.

You’re looking at 155 characters here. Sometimes you can squeeze a couple more in, but it’s really not worth the risk. It should ‘sell’ the page by presenting the benefits of the product, article or brand as succinctly as possible.

As with all advertising, it should have a strong call to action – and if you can combine this with a brand message, all the better. It should also be jam-packed with page-specific keywords – as many as you can squeeze in without sacrificing your sales message. 

Keywords

These are the top keywords you want your page to rank for – and no one but the search engine will see them.

This is basically just a list of keywords and phrases. Pick them carefully, be as specific as you can and keep it to 5 or 6. 

Leave a Reply