What is a title tag?
A title tag is what search engines show as the title of your webpage when shown in search results. Each page's title tag can be customized to target specific search terms.
How long should a title tag be?
Title tags should be between 50 and 60 characters in length.
Titles with less than 50 characters risk not being descriptive enough. In some cases, search engines will use their own title based on your page content if they feel your title is insufficient.
Any part of your title past the 60 character limit will most likely be cut off.
How to write the perfect title tag.
Writing the perfect title tag is an important part of getting your page to rank for the correct keyword(s). So, as explained in further detail below, you should research the keyword you want to rank for prior to writing your title. Once you have an idea of the search term that you'd like to show up for, it is time to start writing your title.
Let's say that you are trying to rank your website for the keyword "boston dentist". You'd want to be sure to include this exact phrase near the beginning of your title. But make sure your title sounds natural because no one will click on a search result that sounds robotic and spammy. In our fictional example, a good title would be "Dr. Moore | Boston Dentist Specializing in Dental Implants".
What is a meta description?
A meta description is what search engines show below the title tag of your webpage. Similar to titles, each page's meta description can be customized to target specific search terms.
However, unlike with title tags, many SEO professionals believe that meta descriptions have no direct effect on search engine rankings. But they are still extremely important because a well-written description can persuade users to visit your site.
How long should a meta description be?
Meta descriptions should be between 120 and 160 characters in length.
Some descriptions with less than 120 characters perform perfectly fine. But in most cases, you will need at least 120 characters to persuade viewers to click on your website.
Any part of your description past the 160 character limit will most likely be cut off.
How to write the perfect meta description.
It is widely believed that meta descriptions have little to no effect on your search engine rankings. However, your meta description has the ability to add a lot of value to your title.
Think of title tags as the attention grabber and meta descriptions as the persuader. Titles make people say, "Hmm... this page might be what I'm looking for." But a compelling title is not enough. People want to know more about the site prior to committing to a click. Meta descriptions give them the extra information they need.
Begin by summing up the page in a few sentences. What is the page about? It's okay if your page has multiple topics. But ideally, there will be one main theme.
Next, ask yourself why someone should click on your search result instead of the others Google has offered. Again, the primary goal of the description is to persuade. So really try to sell yourself here.
Lastly, be sure to include your keyword, as discussed in more detail below, because this reinforces the general topic of the page and improves your chances of getting a click.
What is a keyword?
A keyword, in SEO terms, is any word or phrase that you want a specific webpage to rank for on Google. For example, an Italian restaurant may want their homepage to show up on Google when people search for "italian restaurants in boston". In this case, their keyword would be that exact phrase.
Why do keywords matter?
Using your keyword in your title tag and meta description (as well as scattering it throughout your entire website) will help to tell search engines what your website is about.
How to find keywords.
Choosing the right keyword can mean the difference between bringing in 10 visitors a month and 500 visitors a month. But how do you find the right keyword?
There are many online SEO tools to help you research keyword data. Most of them are premium tools which require a subscription. This may be a good investment for some businesses. But for others, you can find sufficient data from some of the free tools below.
Ubersuggest: 3 free searches per day without trial
Wordtracker: 12 free searches without trial
When doing keyword research, begin by figuring out what your customers are searching for. But be careful. You may find out that the keyword you've been trying to rank for only gets about 20 searches a month. While another similar keyword gets 300 searches a month. So, research thoroughly to ensure that you are targeting a high-traffic search term.