Meta title tags and descriptions – How can they help my website?

Meta Tags and Descriptions - Search Engine Results
17th January 2020 | | Blog, Internet, Search Engine Optimisation, Web design

Meta title tags and descriptions are short pieces of text that help to describe the purpose of your website’s pages. They aren’t visible in the website content, however, they are displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs), which are shown to those browsing the web.

Now it’s not just potential patients who can see these tags and descriptions in the SERPs. Google and other search engines regularly crawl the web to find the content they feel is best suited to answer the queries of their users. So how do they determine which website should be shown in which order? Well, this is through a number of methods. Though one of these is by assessing the way you describe your website’s content.

Simply put, if you don’t tell search engines what your web pages are about, they might not understand their value. If they don’t understand them, or they do but a competing website has similar content and properly optimised pages, they may not prioritise yours in the rankings.

Should your pages appear in the results without clear descriptions, prospective patients could also dismiss them as not relevant. The last thing you want is for people to scroll right past them. Especially after working hard to create a website that is a wealth of information for your target audience.

So, what do meta title tags and descriptions look like?

Meta Title Tags

First up is the meta title tags. Also known as an SEO Title, these are the shorter bits of header text that you can see in the larger font in the SERPs:

Meta Title Tag in SERPs

In the top of your browser when you visit a website:

Meta Title Tag in Top of Website Browser

Also when you share page links to external websites like Facebook:

Meta Title Tag on Facebook

The title tag should summarise your page content while featuring relevant keywords and phrases to indicate what searches it should be shown for. When used correctly these are a great way to cut through the hoards of information online and speak directly to your audience. If your title clearly shows promise of being the answer they’re looking for, they are far more likely to click through to your page.

How to write a concise yet alluring title tag

  • Keep titles focussed on the content of the specific page.
  • What pain point does your page provide the answer for? Display this as the focus message.
  • If there is a special offer related to this page, promote it here. Create a sense of urgency if possible.
  • Make sure the most important keywords go at the front to catch the viewers eye, you don’t have much chance to win their attention.
  • If there is room for your company name, include it. Though your message should come first.
  • As a rule of thumb, titles should be around 60-64 characters long, or however many can fit in a 512-pixel display. Any longer and the end will be cut off.

Meta descriptions

These are slightly longer than the title tags and allow you to succinctly sell your service to potential patients. Where the title catches their attention with a bold statement, the description should reinforce their decision to click through to your website. These descriptions appear below the title tags in the SERPs.

Meta Description

How to create compelling yet crawl-worthy meta descriptions

  • Use emotional and psychological triggers, again understanding what the reader wants and providing a tempting snippet of your solution.
  • Talk about them and not yourself. How are you making things better/easier/cheaper for them?
  • Give each page a unique description. Search engines don’t approve of duplicate content.
  • Make it un-resistible but make sure the sentiment is followed through on the page. Does your page provide what you promised in the description?
  • Tell the viewer what to do next. Provide a clear call to action.
  • Again, keep an eye on the length. Search engines will not show the entire description should it go past 150+ characters.

One final, very important thing to remember is as much as you are writing for search engines, you must first write for humans. Make sure your titles and descriptions flow and read well. Search engines are becoming smarter by the day and they will know if you are trying to overdo it on the keywords. Keep the text to the point and topical but natural.

Our online marketing team are well versed in optimising website pages. Though if you feel you have the perfect description for your pages, talk to us about implementing these on your website.

For more helpful information on how to manage and optimise your dental clinic website, visit our blog page.

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