SEO: Best Practices For Optimising Your Meta Data

by Lucy Robinson

What is SEO meta data?

SEO meta data is the snippets of information that appear on a search results page for a particular web page. 

These consist of a URL that directs you to the web page, a title that outlines the page contents and description that offers some more detailed information about the brand, its products and services. 

Below is an example of meta data for one of our clients, a supplier of traditional South African goods and beef biltong. 

Meta Data Examples

Not only does a user look at this information to decide the most relevant page to click on in the search results, but the search engines will crawl the keywords in the meta titles and descriptions to show the searcher the most relevant results to their queries. 

For example, if I searched for 'Red bandeau dresses', I would see results for web pages who have optimised their meta data and web page content to include the key words 'Red', 'Bandeau' and 'dresses'. If you sell red bandeau dresses but haven't worked this into your meta data and content, i'm unlikely to see your brand as a search result. This means that you could be missing out on a potential sale!

This is why it is important to optimise your meta data and include relevant key words, as you want your brand to appear when a search query is made. If your brand appears, you are more likely to be clicked and have a higher potential of the user making a conversion on your site.

In this quick guide, experts from our Lincolnshire SEO company will talk you through ways to improve and optimise your meta titles and descriptions.

Improve your meta titles

Length: Google will usually display the first 50 - 60 characters of a meta title. For this reason, you should set 60 characters as your maximum. A title that is only half showing will be less appealing to an audience! Don't make your titles too short, as you could be missing out on space to include more keywords.

Cut out unnecessary connecting verbs: You only have a short amount of characters to work with, for this reason, cut out any connecting verbs that you can replace with a | or a - to separate the terms. 

For example, rather than your meta title being 'South African Drinks and South African Coffee from Susmans Biltong LTD', write 'South African Drinks | South African Coffee | Susmans Biltong LTD'. This allows you to fit more key words into the limited character space.

Use unique titles:  Make sure that each page has a title that is specifically relevant to them, rather than trying to use general or duplicate titles. For example, our beef biltong client might use 'Chilli Beef Biltong | Chilli Biltong Bites | Susmans Biltong LTD' for their chilli beef biltong, and a variation of the title for a different range of biltong, rather than just using general 'Beef Biltong' for each title concerning beef biltong. 

Not only does this allow you to optimise the title to include relevant key words for each page, increasing your SEO potential, but it also looks more attractive to the searcher.  

Keyword placement: Make sure that the most important, or telling keywords are placed first in the title. For example, you would put 'Beef Biltong' (the specific product) before saying 'South African Goods' (your business offering) and then 'Susmans Biltong LTD' (the name of your business).

Optimising your meta descriptions

Length: Your titles can be any length, but we recommend using 155-160 characters. Using less than this means that you are missing out on the space to include more keywords and description about your business, meaning that other search results may stand out over yours. However, using more than this may be an overload of information (which is equally off-putting) and might not sufficiently fit into the space shown in search results pages. 

Keywords: Include key words that are popular and relevant to your business! As well as including highly searched keywords, you might also want to include some niche keywords. Niche keywords are less used, but increases the likelihood of your business appearing when searched. Somebody who is making a niche search query might also be more likely to convert, as they are looking for something very specific where there are less options to choose from. 

Content: Write naturally, by using full sentences and good tone of voice. However, do not cram unnecessary words into your sentences, as this will take up characters that could be used to include keywords. Keep them concise and straight to the point, but make sure that they make sense and read well! 

It can be good to use persuasive language or a call-to-action that draws in the reader. For example, by starting the description with 'Buy *product name* today!' or a question, 'Are you looking for *product name*?

Avoid duplicates: Avoid making duplicate meta descriptions, as this looks dull to a reader. Say for example, somebody typed in the specific name of your business, various web pages for your business may show in the search results page. If they can see that every page has the same meta description, this looks lazy and uninviting. Not only this, but you should include key words that are relevant to each individual page, rather than taking a 'one size fits all' approach that could damage your SEO performance.

Iocea: Here to help

At iocea SEO agency Lincoln, we have an experienced digital marketing team who are on hand to improve your organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). We conduct extensive keyword research to see what keywords are currently trending and which have high conversion potential, so that we can work these into your meta data and within your website content. Doing this will help improve your businesses ranking on search results pages, meaning that you are more likely to stand out amongst your competitors and you increase the likelihood of gaining web traffic (clicks).

As well as improving your businesses organic SEO, we can also help by running PPC (pay-per-click) ads and social media marketing for your brand. To find out more about our services, or to discuss your requirements, please get in touch with us at iocea.

We look forward to hearing from you, thank you.

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