Creating a flawless website with excellent user experience, the right optimisation and barrels of amazing content is great – provided you can get people to look at it.
Many clients we have worked with in the past have had excellent websites, but no traffic from Google’s search results. Why is this?
Many businesses focus entirely on how the website looks and functions, without spending much (if any) time on the first thing your customers will see when they search for the services you offer.
The search results.
Part of ensuring you get a decent amount of traffic through to your website in the first place is down to making your website attractive in the Google search results page.
This is where page titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords come in.
Word for word, page titles are the most important SEO element of your entire site.
They indicate to Google (and visitors) which phrases you think the site should rank for.
This title shows up in the visitor’s browser tab and is shown by Google in the search results as the headline for your page.
For these reasons, it’s obviously important that your page titles are descriptive, appealing, and include your customers target keywords.
Here’s what a Page Title looks like:
In Google’s search results, anything longer than approximately 57 characters will be truncated, so try to keep under this limit in order to control exactly what is shown to searchers.
Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to advertise your business to customers to make them click through to your website.
If your page title is truncated in a way that is unclear, it’ll look messy, get lost against the other results, and might cut off half of your brilliant marketing speech containing the answer your customers are looking for. No good!
Bear in mind also, the 57 character limit is just a guideline that we follow.
Google doesn’t count the number of characters you use, but the number of pixels those characters use.
For example, a ‘W’ uses more pixels than an ‘I’.
Google’s limit is 512 pixels so keep your page title well under that, just to make sure.
If you want to avoid wasting a lot of time pondering over how to measure pixels, double check your page title with this pixel length tool.
Let’s write a good page title now by using an example of a bad one.
One of the less productive page titles we have seen was this.
This isn’t a great page title as it says nothing about the business and includes no target keywords.
It might be the name of the business, which is ok, but adding a little bit more information will help.
A much stronger page title could be:
Custom Fitted Kitchens in Exmouth | Your Kitchen
In this page title, we have their main target phrase, location, and brand.
This template can be used across the site and tweaked to be relevant for each page too.
For example, for a fitted wood kitchen page you could have:
Fitted Wood Kitchens in Exmouth | Your Kitchen
Searchers that have just typed “Wood Kitchens in Exmouth” into Google are going to be particularly tuned to that phrase, so when they see the top result using those 3 keywords, that’s going to lead to a higher Click Through Rate (CTR), solidifying ranking and bringing them more traffic.
Page titles are important, so don’t ignore them!
You may remember the <meta name=”description”… from our competitor analysis blog post.
This is the descriptive text that shows up in the Google results, and it is your chance to pitch to potential website visitors on why they should click on your site rather than your competitor’s.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to make your Meta Description as enticing as possible, and you’ll want to include your target keywords.
Changing the meta description is actually quite a complicated process if you’re not website savvy (or using WordPress with the “all-in-one SEO” plugin), so it might be better to get in touch with us so we can help you.
Writing the meta description is something that you need to take some time over.
Here are a few things you should be thinking about when writing one:
- You want it to be eye-catching and trigger interest in potential customers. Using boring generic text is never a good idea, so we sometimes include the first half of a testimonial in quotation marks so that people will be interested to read the rest and click through.
- Use keywords by all means, but don’t stuff your meta description full of them. It’s better to have text that contains the keywords naturally. These words will show up in bold on the search results page, so make sure to include them.
- Like the page title, Google has a limit on the amount of characters/pixels used in the meta description. The character limit is around 156, but it depends on the pixel length. Again, double check using the Google SERP tool.
- If you provide a service that deals with emergencies, for example, burst pipes, tooth pain, broken down cars etc, placing the contact number in the meta description can lead to a dramatic increase in calls. It’s best to put it at the end also, as it’s easier to see.
This might not help much in terms of SEO, but in terms of netting you an extra sale (which is the whole point of your website!) this is important. Include it!
Let’s write an example of a good meta description.
Sarah’s Hair Salon could be something along the lines of:
“Sarah’s Hair Salon – beautifully cut hair in Weybridge. ‘My hair was so soft and shiny after my visit that my husband just couldn’t wait and on the way home he…’”
How many of Sarah’s customers wouldn’t want to click through?
This includes keywords for “hair”, “Salon”, and “Weybridge” too, which show up in bold in the search description.
Here’s another example for a dentist offering same day appointments for those in pain:
“The dental care surgery – Suffering from toothache or a broken tooth? Book an emergency dental appointment for today on 01234 567 890”
This shows the business name, keywords, and even includes a contact number so they can call through without even having to trawl through a website to find help whilst in pain.
Again, it doesn’t help your SEO, but it gets you a grateful customer.
Take our word for it, they’re not going to read through your entire website, if they can’t find your number immediately, they’re going to look elsewhere.
Many times, if you see a box allowing you to insert meta descriptions and title for your webpage, you’ll also see a box for you to input ‘meta keywords’.
It’s a nice idea that just by typing in the keywords we want to rank for, Google would make us show up, but in reality, Google ignores the Meta Keywords tag completely.
Nowadays their biggest function is showing smart SEO competitors which keywords you have considered important and would like to rank for, saving them the time it takes to do the research for themselves.
So, don’t put anything in here.