Page Titles and Meta-description pages

Probably the most important on-page SEO factor (aside from having a legit site with good content) is page titles and meta description tags. Why? There are several reasons. Here are the two that I find the most compelling.

Description meta tags are important because Google likes to use the page title and meta description tag in it’s search engines results pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visibletext if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. These tags need to both accurately describe the website, and motivate viewers to click on your search engine results page listing.

There is an additional reason that the Title and description tag is important. Google uses these tags to help determine what your website is about. Needless to say, your website isn’t going to show up in searches for “online dating” unless Google thinks your website is about “t online dating”. It might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people forget this. And, Google isn’t always right about what your site is about. Google initially thought that kisscafe.com was about “islands”. Needless to say, we needed to change that misconception before we could shop up for “online dating” searches. We advise all our SEO clients to sign up for Google webmaster tools and make sure that Google knows that your website is relevant to all your top keywords.

Google Webmaster Tools provides a handy content analysis section that will tell you about any description meta tags that are either too short, long, or duplicated too many times (the same information is also shown for tags). We suggest that you use this tool. It’s very good.<br /> <br /> <br /> </span><span class="textcompany"> <h3><b>Good practices for page title tags</b></h3> </span> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="textcompany"> <tr> <td width="20" height="20" align="left" valign="middle"> </td> <td width="20" align="left" valign="top">1.</td> <td align="left" valign="middle"><strong>Accurately describe the page's content</strong>- Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page's content.<br /> Avoid:</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top"> </td> <td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td width="20"> </td> <td width="20">a.</td> <td>Choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page.</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td valign="top">b.</td> <td>Using default or vague titles. "Untitled" or "New Page 1" are only marginal better then no page title at all. They also scream “SEO newbie”.</td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top">2.</td> <td><strong>Create unique title tags for each page</strong><strong>. </strong>Each of your pages should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site. This can take some time. We admit that it’s not always easy to come up with unique page titles for all the pages on a website. Which pages deserve a unqiue page title and meta description page?  My dentist always says “Don’t have to floss all your teeth. Just floss the teeth you want to keep.” The same advice holds here. Just write page titles for the pages that you want to show up in Google searches. <br /> Avoid</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top"> </td> <td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td width="20"> </td> <td width="20">a.</td> <td>using a single title tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages</td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top">3.</td> <td><strong>Use brief, but descriptive titles -</strong>Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.<br /> Avoid:</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top"> </td> <td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td width="20"> </td> <td width="20">a.</td> <td>using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td valign="top">b.</td> <td>stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags. This sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t work well if your snippet in the Google results page doesn’t make any sense because it’s full of keywords. Who wants to click on a page Titled: “BEST SEO, A+ SEO, SEO COMPANY”</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td valign="top">c.</td> <td>That reminds me of one more thing to avoid. Don’t use all caps. Trust me on this one. </td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top">4.</td> <td>Include some of your top keywords (but don’t keyword stuff).</td> </tr> </table> <br /> <span class="textcompany"> All the things that apply to page Titles also apply to meta description tags. We have written a few items below that also apply.</span><br /> <br /> <span class="textcompany"> <h3><b>Good practices for description meta tags</b><br /> </h3> <table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="textcompany"> <tr> <td width="20" height="20" align="left" valign="middle"> </td> <td width="20" align="left" valign="top">1.</td> <td align="left" valign="middle"><strong>Accurately summarize the page's content</strong>- Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top">2.</td> <td><strong>Use unique descriptions for each page -</strong>Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using thesite: operator).  Some shopping cart (or wordpress) sites have pages that number in the thousands or even millions. If this sounds like your webiste, manually writing description meta tags probably isn't practical. In this case, you should see if you can find a way to automatically generate description meta tags based on each page's content.<br /> Avoid</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td align="left" valign="top"> </td> <td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td width="20"> </td> <td width="20">a.</td> <td>filling the description with only keywords</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> <td valign="top">b.</td> <td>don’t copy and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag. The casual viewer of the site won’t notice. But the Googlebot will. Do you want the Google bot to think you’re SEO challenged? </td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table> <br /> </span><br /> <span class="textcompany">It takes some work, but well written page titles and meta description tags can significantly improve Google's understanding of what you website is about and increase the percentage of people clicking on your website's listing in the SERPs.</span> <br /> <br /> </div> <div class="cl"> </div> </div> </div> <p class="copy">Copyright © 2008 Bergstrom Inc. All rights reserved.</p> </div> <script type="text/javascript"> var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? 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