Helpful guide to writing meta title and meta description tags for Google

By |Categories: INSIGHTS, SEO|Published On: 13 September 2022|12 min read|

Writing good meta titles and meta descriptions are vital for Google. These are what help the content of your pages to rank up on Google. Good meta titles and meta descriptions contribute to a lot more than a word count. We have had years to perfect our Art of Search using the Lean Search Methodology and we’re going to assist you in becoming a PRO at writing them.

Before breaking them down into actual tips and hints, here’s what you must know about your title and description meta fields:

  1. They must be unique
  2. They must be of the appropriate length
  3. Keywords and phrases need to be accurate
  4. It needs to flow naturally in a sentence
  5. Write for people, not for machines (be helpful!)

The result of following through our guide on how to write good meta title and meta description tags for your pages is eventually generating more organic traffic to your website.

Techniques of linguistics are helpful, but you can also use a few basic marketing and sales techniques to create the best page title and ideal meta description where possible. You may also watch this short video from an SEO veteran, Neil Patel, to learn about the hints of doing good SEO further down.

What Are Page Titles and Meta Descriptions?

Meta Titles and their importance

The meta title is the first bold headline that shows up in Google Search results below the web page link. Illustration below.

The meta title is generally the title heading of the article. It can also be modified separately from the main title (H1) of the article to be more appealing to internet users, or be more in the context of a search. The article you are currently reading also has a meta title heading that is visible on Google search. The meta title of this page is:

How to write meta title and meta description for Google?

The actual title (H1) of this page is:

Helpful guide to writing meta title and meta description tags for Google

Sometimes, small changes and updates can have a huge impact on the performance of a page. This page is such an example where the meta title is more portrayed as a How-To guide and the title is the helpful guide. This helps the internet browser understand the context of the page and take a decision on whether this is the page that contains the most relevant answer to his query.

In the case of the above screenshot, the title tag is below the link, and the first line is actually a line from the article. Google provides this “snippet” view of a search result occasionally. There is no guarantee that this page, or your next page, will be shown this way if it does rank up first. However, this is one of the most sought after rankings and the title tag does help Google in understanding the context of the article.

Meta descriptions and how to write them well

The meta description typically appears below the title in Google’s Search results (in the metadata). It is a summary of information that is available on the content of the web page.

Avoid having duplicate meta descriptions. Each page should have a unique meta title and a unique meta description.

Just like the meta title, the meta description should create enough appetite to convince the internet user that the answer to their query is on the content of this page. As such, keywords should be included in the writing of the meta description. But this should not be done in a “content dumping” method. It should be content that is thought through and will be helpful to the reader.

A good meta description is inclusive of crucial and persuasive information and remains important for Google.

Are title tags important?

The meta title and the title of the article are the most obvious elements in any search result and after the click through, when landing on the article/page itself. Therefore, this will determine whether someone will click on your webpage from Google’s search results or not.

Is Google’s ranking dependant on Title tags?

Citing 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 able to rank for a query based on that word or phrase.”

How to write a good meta title

The title tag, for good SEO, should contain all the keywords that you wish to rank for, and it should ideally flow naturally into a sentence or short phrase. As such, starting with the most important keyword and flowing through the second most important one to end with, or without, the brand name. 

The Moz reference is in the following format:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

However, this is not always my preferred method of writing title tags. I like to think of it in such a way that I’m writing for humans and not for Google’s crawlers or any robots. As such, the title tag needs to appeal, make perfect sense and reads just like a helpful sentence.

Guide to writing a good Page Title and Meta Description

What are the best practices to write effective metadata? 

Below are the main 5 areas I lay a lot of emphasis on personally as an SEO specialist. However, I often get the question of whether to start with writing the metadata before writing the article. When I write, I start with the meta data.

1. Convey What Your Page (or article) Is About

The meta title should be the main focus and convey immediately the nature and context of what they are about to view on the web page or article on your website. 

If the article is on a topic, ensure the topic is written in the meta title. 

If it is a product page, then ensure that the product title and the reference of the product or part is in the meta title. Be as much as possible to the point and relevant. This remains the most natural way of getting attention to your web page.

2. Incorporate Your Primary Keyword

Make sure that the main keyword, also referred to as the focus keyword, is included in your title tag. Follow it up with a secondary keyword as relevant. 

For example, if you are creating a category page in your shop for “Bicycle for Girls”. The main keyword would be “Bicycle” and the secondary keyword “For Girls”. You may include the brand name, or you may add context. 

“Shop Bicycle for Girls Online on Emcar Sports”

“What are the best Bicycles brands for Girls in 2022”

“Where can I find Cannondale Bicycles for Girls”

Are all of these the same article? No. 

Do they all write around the same subject? Yes.

As a priority, ensure that people can easily read your title and understand it. It’s also best practice to include your focus keyword or other variations of it in your meta description. If a user’s search keyword matches part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use that meta description.

3. Engaging Copy that is concise

The best way to achieve “engaging copy” is to be able to trigger an emotion in the reader. This could be curiosity, happiness, or factual correctness.

Keep your meta titles short and sweet. Google will generally display the first 50 to 60 characters. Moz research shows that keeping mea titles under 60 characters provides a better chance of being displayed properly.

Keep your meta descriptions between 150 to 160 characters. The first page generally shows this but there are no guarantees. So, use this space wisely.

  1. Mention benefits
  2. Use modifiers such as Top 5, Best of, 2022…
  3. Include a short call to action

4. Ensure there is conherence between your description and your content

It is impossible to trick anyone into clicking to your website. Google’s advanced crawling techniques will always spot any misleading information and not promote such content pages. However, there needs to be a certain match between the meta title and the meta description of your page. And this will play against you since people will click thinking this page has their answer, but then leave, which will result in increased bounce rates.

5. Include a short call to action

Since the meta description is an organic help to give the answer on your web page directly in the search results page, you may choose to make it as such that they get part of the answer only and it’s your opportunity to sell your content to the user and click through this link instead of others in the search results page.

Including the brief call to action in the meta description offers a way to increase click through rate and to be noticed from the competition in the results.

Summary of this page

Well-written metadata gives search engines information about your content, meaning your pages are shown to users searching for the most relevant queries.

Remember, your metadata communicates to both humans and search engines so creating unique, original and informative metadata is crucial to ranking well.

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