Here’s how to quickly optimize your title tags and meta descriptions in your Showit or WordPress website.
Optimizing title tags and meta descriptions is often overlooked, but can make a big impact on whether or not a page shows up in a given search result.
After updating title tags during the last two SEO projects I’ve completed for clients, pages on those websites jumped from being ‘unranked’ to the first 1-2 pages in the search results for the searches they were targeting.
But we frequently find that people don’t update their page titles and add meta descriptions. We’ll see generic page titles like Home or About that probably came with the website template or were the default names given to a page by their website designer.
But the last time you searched for something in Google, you probably looked to two places in the search results to get an idea of what each result was about: the title and the description.
Title tags and meta descriptions help provide search engines (and the people using search engines) with more information about a page or post on your website.
(Note: Updating titles and meta descriptions doesn’t always result in a better ranking for a targeted search—there are lots of other factors when it comes to SEO. But page/post titles are important, and I’m never surprised to see a positive bump after updating. Plus, it doesn’t take all much time to do, so why not give it a shot?)
The title tag is the HTML tag that indicates to search engines the title of the page or post, and it’s usually considered one of the top-ranking factors after ‘content.’
But what is a meta description? Sometimes called the SEO description, the meta description is the small bit of text underneath the search result. It should provide a more expanded glimpse into what the article is about. While the meta description itself is not a ranking factor, it is important in getting more people to click on your result. Optimizing that bit of text might increase your posts click-through-rate, which in turn could increase your ranking.
How to Optimize the Title Tag and Meta Description
It doesn’t take a ton of work to optimize your titles and meta descriptions. And if it results in more clicks and engagement, it’s certainly worth it. Try to keep these things in mind as you optimize your title tags and meta descriptions.
The best titles are clear, to-the-point, and benefit-oriented. You’ll need to refer back to your keyword research since you’ll want to incorporate the keyword of that page or post into the title, ideally towards the beginning. Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that’s easy to use.
When writing a title…
- The title should include the primary keyword for which you’re trying to rank that page or post.
- Keep the keyword towards the beginning of the title.
- Limit the total length to around 60 characters. Anything longer might be cut off in search results.
- Each page and post title should be unique—remember that you shouldn’t be trying to rank multiple pages for the exact same search.
While we all love a witty title, it’s often best to be as clear as possible. The people searching for the information you’re providing probably don’t know much about the subject or at least as much as you (otherwise why would they be searching?).
Search engines will also use the words in the title tags to understand what your page is about. If your title is unclear, overly witty, or clickbaity (not sure if that’s a word), you’ll run the risk of search engines not understanding it.
Save the wit for the subtitles. If you have a WordPress blog, you can easily add subtitles using a plugin.
Imagine someone asked you to describe the page or post you are optimizing in one sentence. That’s a good place to start when writing a meta description. Meta descriptions should…
- Be no more than 145-160 characters so they are not cut-off by search engines.
- Keep each description unique.
- Descriptions should be descriptive (duh!) and include keywords (but be sure to include them in a natural way—don’t stuff them in there!).
- Be appealing like a well-written subtitle. If more people click on your result, you’ll likely be rewarded with a higher ranking.
Meta descriptions are important to optimize because they’re used by searchers to determine whether that article might provide what they’re searching for.
Think about the last time you searched for something in Google. You probably looked at the title of the result first, but then quickly skimmed the meta description to get an idea of whether that result would provide what you were searching for.
If two results look promising, the metadescription will likely be the tiebreaker.
Adding a Title and Meta-description in WordPress and Showit
Most content management systems (CMS) have easy ways to add or adjust title tags and meta descriptions. If you don’t use Showit or WordPress, a simple google search will most likely yield results for how to do the following using your CMS. (If it’s not easy on the website platform you’re using, consider switching platforms.)
If you’re using WordPress (or have a Showit website with a WordPress blog), we highly recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin. It makes it easy to set title tags and meta descriptions for both your website’s pages and blog posts.
After the plugin is installed, you’ll notice a Yoast box at the bottom of each page and post in your website (on the backend—it’s not visible to people reading that page or post).
You’ll enter the keyword or phrase that post/page should be optimized for and the Yoast plugin will tell you what’s optimized and what’s not. To add a meta description, click the “Edit Snippet” button.
Showit has their own SEO tools for the Showit pages on your website. If your Showit website has a WordPress blog, you can also add the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your blog posts.
We wrote a blog post dedicated to using the Showit SEO settings here, which you should totally checkout. It even has an easy-to-follow video tutorial for those who would rather be shown than told.
So there you go! Get in there and start optimizing. This is something that can be easily added to your workflow as you create content.