In this series of mini blogs, we’re delving into the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help you understand how to make your website stand out in a crowded online world. With so many websites out there, it can be challenging to get noticed, but with the right SEO strategy, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more visitors.
In the previous blog, we explored the basics of SEO, and now we’re ready to provide more tips and tricks to help you improve your search rankings. We’ll start by discussing optimising your page titles and meta descriptions so that search engines can understand precisely what you offer, making them more likely to rank your page highly for relevant search terms.
Your page title is your HTML title tag. This determines what you see in your browser tab when you visit your site and dictates how your site appears in search results. The page title is the first line for each result, so this is your one chance to nail that first impression.
Some content management systems allow you to edit your page title immediately, but sometimes, you may need a third-party plug-in or add-on. We highly recommend the Yoast SEO plug-in if you’re using WordPress. This is useful for page titles and all kinds of SEO customisations.
So what does a good page title look like? It goes without saying that every page title should be descriptive and enticing to encourage people to click. The keywords you want to rank for should appear early in your page titles.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, search engines give more ranking weight to the early words, and secondly, people scanning the search results will see the early words first. It’s also a good idea to include your site name in your title to enhance brand recognition, but you want that to appear at the end. The default arrangement that Yoast provides is an ideal configuration You can also set custom titles for individual posts.
Now let’s talk about Meta Descriptions. Meta Descriptions do not appear anywhere on the front end of your site, but they are used by search engines for the preview text under the title of a search result. By default, a snippet will automatically be pulled from your page content based on the user’s search. Writing these descriptions yourself allows you to increase your click-through rate significantly. If you’re using WordPress with Yoast, this can be done from the Yoast panel on the Post Editor. Click “Edit Snippet”, then enter your post description.
When writing a Meta Description, make sure it contains the target keyword you’d like to rank for at least once and use it to entice the reader to click through. Make it a habit to write a custom meta description when you publish new content, so take an extra 30 seconds after writing a post to give it a relevant description. You’ll find it’s well worth your time doing this as it’s an integral part of the search results making it your last opportunity to grab your ideal clients attention.
Meta descriptions can also be used to highlight the benefit of your post, product or service compared to competitors who already appear in the search results. It’s advisable to keep meta descriptions to 160 characters or less, or they will appear truncated. Try looking through the meta descriptions for the first three pages of Google, for example, after searching for your keyword. Read them all, and get a sense of what’s in there: Do they look exciting? Do they make you want to click through?
How your site is displayed and organised is extremely important to your SEO. Throughout these blogs, we’ll offer you a complete SEO strategy guide. Stay tuned for our next mini-blog on ‘Themes and Template Settings.’
If you think you’d benefit from a no-obligation chat with an experienced WordPress developer and friendly marketing professional, or you’d like us to help you with an SEO audit, contact us today.