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Defining Meta Titles, Description And How To Optimize Them (2016)

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SEO may just involved stuffing keyword within a certain density and making sure those keywords are placed in the right place.

This is the basic concept of SEO and most people probably already know this key concept.

As this might be the case, if you want to have a really in-depth SEO knowledge, then you should be familiar with Meta tag optimization.

While there are different Meta tag elements that we must discuss, it’s worth noting that we can just focus on two.

These are the Meta title & Meta description. In this article, let us explore this subject and at the end, you will be more adept in performing effective SEO practices.

What are Meta elements?

Meta elements are embedded within the Web page. It’s usually written as < meta…>. This text is not shown in the user end, but rather it’s more of coding purposes. Meta elements are part of the general HTML or XHTML scheme.

The purpose of a Meta element is to add more description about the data that had been already embedded within a web page. Moreover, Meta element can mimic the function of HTTP response header.

In short, Meta tag elements will further specify what a web page is all about and will support the function of other elements and attributes.

1. Meta titles

The title tag is written like this:

Your Page Title

Your title length should not exceed more than 65 characters.

If you try to "view source" (right click > view source) this page, you'll see that blockquote with my meta title tag.

Here's an example screenshot (in red highlight):

Meta Title Tag

Basically, your content or article's TITLE is similar to META title tag. Since it serves as a title that concisely summarizes your content, it’s the biggest factor to bring your web page to the first page of SERP.

In addition to this, the title tag is the one that will majorly entice Internet users to click your link when displayed in the SERP.

To further increase the effectiveness of your title tag, you should limit it to character count of 65.

Long titles will not be completely examined by search engine robots. Besides to this, make sure that your title contains the keyword you come up with. Your title should be descriptive, but concise at the same time.

2. Meta Description

Another element that you should know about is the Meta Description.

Here's an example screenshot (in red highlight):

Meta Description Tag

Though meta description won’t really help with your page ranking, it’s still one of the important factors that search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing take into consideration.

So you should never ignore the importance of Meta description. This is used to show the summary of your content in the search results - which can help you increase your search click-through rates.

So how can you optimize Meta description?

First, you need to realize that the description is supporting information to your title. Thus, you need to take this opportunity to explain what your web page is all about – an explanation that your title cannot give.

The Meta description should only include a maximum of 160 characters – but try to aim for 156 characters. Your Meta description should contain the purpose of your content and it must include your best keywords as well, but avoid keyword stuffing.

For example, your web page is about "How to Make Your Website Faster", a good description can be like this:

A bad description is like this:

See how the first one actually describes what the content is about (in 1 brief sentence) while the second one is stuffed with too much similar keywords?

But wait.. how about the Meta keywords?

Meta keywords used to play a crucial role in SEO, but since a lot of people abused it with irrelevant keywords in the past, most search engines decided to no longer support META keywords tag.

According to Thom Craver from Semrush, Google and Yahoo ignore META keyword tags. Bing does still read them but as a spam signal, your keywords must be relevant to your content or you will be penalized.

But what will happen if you use Meta Keywords? Nothing. It just doesn’t add value on your site. So I suggest you to avoid using META keywords at all.

Useful Resource: Meta Counter

If you need an auto-counter to determine the character count of your meta elements, Meta Length will definitely make your life easier! I’ve tried some others but this one is my favorite.

Conclusion

These are the two most important Meta elements. If you really want to be successful in your SEO performance, you should never ignore Meta elements. Take time to digest the information written here and find out how you can use Meta elements as your advantage.

Lizzie
By Lizzie

Lizzie is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who helps creative freelancers grow their kickass businesses and travel more with her blog, Wanderful World. Her upcoming e-course, Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career in One Month will give you all the tools and tips you need to start working for yourself.  Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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