Improve visitor experience with better Titles and Page Descriptions
When you create the titles and page descriptions on your website, is it clear who you are writing for?
Title tags have long been regarded as one of the most important elements of SEO, and in particular hold a critical position in delivering users to your content.
How Title and Page Description Tags are used
The venerable ‘title’ tag has been a clear part of HTML since the beginning of the internet and the introduction of html as the default mechanism for text formatting.
Page descriptions came a little later – and became a standard element of html content once crawlers like AltaVista and Lycos started to search the web to build ‘Directories’ of sites and pages that could be searched.
Modern CMS systems dynamically insert these tags into pages on your behalf, and most provide a great deal of flexibility in their use.
<html> <head> <title>This is a page title</title> <meta name="description" content="This is an example of a meta description. This will often show up in search results."> </head> <body> </body> </html>
Why are they so important?
The importance of these pieces of information has always been apparent, but many web developers and most site owners, simply don’t think their purpose through.
The title of the page is used by directories and search engines to form the link to your site in search results.
Think of how many sites title their ‘About page’ as ‘About us‘? It’s a staggering number. But you’ll note that none of them show up in the top of the search results.
Why didn’t they show up in the results? Probably because your customers don’t search for ‘About us‘. They search for ‘business name hours‘ or ‘business name owner‘.
Similarly – those users don’t search for ‘business name products‘.
If you consider the typical search for – lets say a piece of replacement window trim for a car, they might be searching for:
You’ll see in the results that the biggest returns for the search relate directly to the search phrase. Those with the top 3 spots, relate directly to the query, and the page titles ‘Honda Civic Body Molding & Trim – Free Shipping’ relate functionally to the request. We didn’t state however that we wanted to buy one, or fix one – so search returned both options.
Creating page titles that speak directly to your position in the relationship is critical.
If you sell replacement pieces, a title of “Honda Civic window trim pieces 2004-2008 available” will perform far better than “Window Trim“.
What if however, you have window trim that will fit a large number of vehicles – or can be altered easily to suit different applications? Well then – you need to tell people that! “Window Trim to Fit Honda, Ford, Subaru, Nissan: Easy universal fit, order online!”
When you realize that your title holds so much power, it’s easier to put yourself in the passenger seat. Do searches, find your competition, seek examples. Then, do better.
- Describe what visitors can expect
- Use common words and phrases
- Keep it short! (Under 68 characters!)
The Description is equally important.
The search results provide a few lines of text after your link and in this space – you’ll find content that may not be on the page itself. The description should be a friendly, easy to read example of what they will find on your page. By doing so – you set a stage for user expectations on what they will find. This text will fill the ‘description’ below your page title in the search results. Make it compelling, and connected to the title to improve your chances of getting additional traffic.
Be warned though. If your page doesn’t live up to the hype, with content that doesn’t fully match up – modern search engines may simply replace your text with content from the page. Sites like google would rather not ‘bait and switch’ their users. Use language to engage your visitors to read or visit because the default text will be either the first 180 characters of the content, or a random snippet from your page. Wouldn’t you rather control that invitation?
Which do you think would work better?
- When you create the Titles and Page Descriptions on your website, is is clear who you are writing for? Title tags have long be
- Have you been ignoring page titles and descriptions on your web site? These two simple fields give you unlimited power to get traffic! Read more…
Since these two simple elements – your page title and description – have such a huge impact on the potential for visitors to your page, how long will it take you to jump in and start updating yours?
Using WordPress? Check out the ‘Yoast’ plug-in for a powerful title / metadata editor.
Greg is the Marketing Strategist at Microtek Corporation. He helps businesses make the most of their Online Footprint, and provides insight and guidance on how to use online resources – particularly Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Engagement to build brands, and increase loyalty and conversion with customers.
Microtek offers services throughout the site development process. Site development and consulting, copy-writing, search optimization, and pay-per-click / display advertising solutions.