Seo Meta Title Examples For Essays
If you don’t know what the SEO title and meta description are, go ahead and read points #17 and #18 from my SEO guide for photographers.
In short, they are text values (you can customize) which don’t show up on the site but which end up in search results:
What you usually learn is to do keyword research and then “craft” the SEO titles and meta-descriptions to include your target keywords/phrases as much as possible.
Let me introduce you to the concept of “click-through rate”
In technical terms, it’s the percentage of search engine users that click on your site’s link after seeing it in search results.
In plain English: how appealing your SEO title and meta-description are to users.
Too many photographers are over-doing SEO, only thinking about “tricking” Google into ranking high for certain words.
Instead, you should focus a lot more on humans and how they understand your SEO tags when seeing them in search results. That’s why “fake” keyword-rich phrases perform badly these days.
So, how do you write the SEO fields?
If you hate SEO (because you’d rather be shooting pictures) and you’re overwhelmed by “keyword research”, you’ll definitely find some comfort in this simpler approach:
Write your SEO titles & meta-descriptions as if you were describing the website to an acquaintance over dinner (using natural language).
Why “dinner” in particular you ask? Because after enjoying a glass of wine, you loosen up and speak more naturally, instead of being over-anxious to describe all the details of your site :-)
Let’s take the meta-description for example. After finishing the main dinner course and enjoying your glass of wine, you wouldn’t be telling your friend that your website is about:
“Your stock photography source for Austin, Texas Lifestyle, Skyline, People, Family, Travel, Sports, Business & Landscape stock images.”
That sounds a little fake when spoken out loud, the enumeration of the keywords is too long. Also notice how “stock” is placed there twice in an effort to rank higher for it.
Instead you’d naturally tell the person that the site is about this:
“Professional stock photography agency based in Austin, Texas, providing a wide range of stock images for commercial and editorial use.”
This way, you still repeat the word “stock”, but it all sounds more natural.
So the goal is to make your website look appealing in search results. You won’t do that by cramming comma-separated keywords in there in a desperate attempt to rank higher, it will instead have the opposite effect and Google will take notice.
Here are some more examples of naturally-sounding SEO meta-descriptions as seen in Google search results (I’ve anonymized them):
“African landscape and wildlife photography by award-winning Botswana based nature photographer Jane Doe.”
“ProfessionalNYC based photography agency specialized in babies, children, teens and school photography.”
“Jane Doe Images is a sports photo agency, providing top quality, striking images with impact from the world of rugby union & other sports.”
“We love making imaginative photos of individuals, couples, families and weddings. We’re based in the beautiful, leafy suburb of Croydon, Melbourne.”
“New Jersey advertising photographer specialized in creating inspired imagery for commercial and editorial photography clients.”
“Jane Doe is an international award-winning photographer from Brisbane, specializing in location shoots for commercial and editorial clients across southeast Queensland.”
Notice how they can all be spoken out loud and still sound natural.
Back to the dinner party metaphor: don’t assume your friend knows too much about you or your site. If it helps, imagine they’re a complete stranger. When describing your page, you’d then make sure you include all the important and relevant things (like your location and your main specialties, awards, featured publications, etc.)
So try to describe your site out loud, using natural language. Then write it all on a piece of paper and then edit it down till you can extract the SEO title and meta-description from it.
Is it true that I need to include the most important keywords at the beginning of the SEO title & meta-description?
Technically, yes, but you’re over-thinking SEO again. Try to keep it simple.
How long should the SEO title and meta-description be?
Title < 50-55 characters (including spaces).
Meta-description < 300-320 characters (including spaces) (limit increased in early 2018).
Test them out here and make sure they don’t get truncated with an ellipsis.
How can I know what my site’s click-through rates are?
To test things out, you can measure you click-through rates in Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools).
You need to go to: Status > Performance and then enable “CTR”, here’s how it looks like:
You can even filter by “Pages” and that will allow you to compare the different click-through rates for your most popular pages. If you spot one that’s performing bad (like page3 in the example below), you know you need to improve its SEO title and meta-description:
SEO is an overwhelming topic, so I’m regularly trying to break it down into edible pieces. Hope this article has given you a little more clarity.
What is a title tag? How do you write one? Why are title tags important? Do they actually help with search engine optimisation? Can I see some good and bad examples?
Following on from our blockbusting guide 22 SEO essentials for optimising your site, I thought I’d follow up the advice on title tags and answer all of the above questions.
If you just want a quick guide to optimising title tags, click here to jump to the checklist section.
For the rest of you, first lets talk about meta tags in general:
What are meta tags
As Kristine Schachinger described in our previous guide to tags back in 2012, meta tags are HTML elements that provide information about a web page for search engines and website visitors.
These elements must be placed as tags in the <head> section of a HTML document. These elements are:
- Title tag
- Meta description
We’ve discussed how to write meta descriptions in a separate post, so for now let’s discuss title tags, the most important meta tags on your site.
What is a title tag?
Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what any given page on your site is about in the most concise and accurate way possible.
This title will then appear in various places around the web, including the tab in your web browser:
The title will also likely be pulled in as the anchor text when sharing on other websites and social media channels.
And most importantly of all, your title tag will show up as the big blue link in search engine results:
Where do I add the title tag?
You can add a title tag in the <head> section in your site’s HTML. It should look something like this:
However in most content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, you can either add a title tag in general settings:
Or if you use an SEO plug-in, such as Yoast, you can add a title tag to the ‘SEO title’ section, and you can preview an example of how it will look in search engine results pages (SERPs):
When writing an article, the section where you write a headline will automatically form the title tag.
If your title tag is automatically generated from the headline, you should try to override this by using either a plug-in (like the one mentioned above) or in the HTML itself. The headline (also known as the <h1> tag) is another opportunity to tell Google about the content of your page using a slightly different keyword string, so you may as well take advantage of this.
Why are title tags important?
The title tag is the boldest, most obvious element in a search result and therefore a major part in the decision making process of whether a searcher will click on your result or not.
Are title tags used as a ranking signal?
According to Moz, title tags have “long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements.” And the closer to the start of the title tag any given keyword is, the more likely it will be to rank for that keyword based query.
How to write a great title tag
From an SEO point of view, the title tag should contain all the keywords you wish to rank for. And as I just stated above, the most important keyword should be at the beginning, followed by second most important, then finally your brand name.
Moz provides this handy reference:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
However one thing you must remember: write title tags for humans.
Although they should be formatted to some degree for search engines, it’s vital that the tag makes perfect sense to humans and reads like a legible sentence.
Title tag checklist
Kristine Schachinger wrote a perfect checklist on how to write optimised title tags in her original post, so I’m copying it for you here, with a few minor updates:
- Length: Title tags should be 50-60 characters long, including spaces.
- Keyword placement: Your most important keywords need to be first in your title tag, with your least important words coming last.
- Brand name: If your company name is not part of the important keyword phrases, put it at the end of the title tag.
- Do not duplicate title tags: They must be written differently for every page. Don’t mass replicate your title tags it will negatively affect your search visibility.
- Make it relevant: Title tags must accurately describe the content on the page.
- Do not ‘keyword stuff’ title tags: these are badly written title tags that try to rank for everything or repeat a word over and over. Keyword stuffing is the worst offense when it comes to title tags and you will be penalised for it.
- Make your headline (<h1> tag) different from the title tag: This is another opportunity to vary the keyword phrasing of your page and increase its chances of appearing for different search intent.
Can Google override your title tag?
Occasionally yes. Sometimes if Google doesn’t like your title tag it will rewrite it for its search engine results, pulling in information from your meta description and page content. Chances are this won’t be as good as the one you’ve created, so you must ensure that your own title tag is completely relevant, descriptive, keyword rich but readable and the right length.
Good examples of title tags
Here are a few examples that stick to the above rules in our checklist and therefore look more appealing on the SERP.
‘best burgers in london’
Esquire has all three keywords right at the beginning of the title tag, then follows this with a seductively appealing headline (everyone loves a list) and cleverly uses ‘buns’ in order to avoid repetition and keep the character limit to around 60.
Keywords are at the front, the brand name is at the end and Schuh has separated its keyword phrases with pipes | These used to be a necessity when writing title tags as the recommendation was to stay away from other punctuation. Although this is no longer true, pipes still look great on the page and are a clear separator.
‘radiohead moon shaped pool review’
Pitchfork has stayed away from a mistake that mine and other review websites make in putting ‘review’ at the start. Searchers do not start their search queries with ‘review’, they start with the artist.
Bad examples of title tags
And finally, using the same search terms as above, here are some bad examples of title tags:
‘best burgers in london’
This is buried far down on page four of the Google SERP. It’s easy to see why. The brand name and most important keywords are the opposite of where they should be. The headline itself also lacks any description or anything vaguely persuasive to make me want to click.
The keyword is nowhere to be seen. In fact it’s probably at the end of the title tag, but because it’s so long it has been cut out by Google. Also note the wilfully inconsistent capitalisation, which makes the link look really spammy.
‘radiohead moon shaped pool review’
Although Mashable should be applauded for trying a different headline approach, the stop words at the beginning of the title tag push the important keywords into the middle and this result languishes on page 4 of Google. The headline’s great, but the title tag is identical, so perhaps all the wording of the title tag needs is a slight reordering.
Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound and former editor of SEW
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