Remember the “good old days?” It might have been growing up in a small suburb, where you could walk to the ice cream store and see multiple friends along the way. Or maybe it was when you could disco the night away? Perhaps it was when you biked through your neighborhood while you listened to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on your Sony Walkman. Or, maybe when you listened to boy bands after school, or played video games until it was time for bed.
Whatever your “good old days” were, chances are they’re probably gone now (we’re sorry for your loss). And much like yours, the old days of search engine optimization (SEO) have disappeared forever, too. Gone are the times of keyword stuffing (or loading), where it seemed like half of an article was comprised of the same few words (it was). And gone are the times of linking to anything you could — even coming off “spammy” — in order to get your Google PageRank that much higher.
Today, search engines are smart — really smart. Google (and other search engines) take no prisoners when it comes to unfair or unethical SEO behaviors. If someone keyword stuffs, links too often, or conducts any other SEO deceits, their website rank is punished. Today, it’s all about creating beautiful, honest, and relevant content (as we’ve written about here, here, and here).
So the question is, are there any easy ways to ethically boost your search rankings outside of the actual body content on your page? Luckily, we have the answer — two of them in fact: title tags, and description meta tags. These nifty little tags are an easy way to optimize your website for search. They are simple to use, and are seen by virtually every person who visits your page via search.
What are title tags?
Think of title tags as storytellers that let search engines — and visitors — know what your web page is about, but also keeps the story concise and accurate. This title shows up on your web page — and in the web browser tab, too. Title tags have long been considered a highly important part of on-page SEO strategy, and are still used in SEO ranking.
Title Tag Checklist
To fully optimize your title tags for search, here are some important tips:
- Keep title tag length at 50 - 60 characters
- Accurately describe the content on your page
- Include keywords you wish to rank for in the title tag
- Make the headline (H1) tag on your web page is different from your title tag
- If your brand name is not a keyword, include it at the end of the title tag
What are Meta Tags
Although there are different types of meta tags, description meta tags are the most important — and relevant — with today’s search algorithms. Although meta tags are not as important for SEO ranking as title tags, they are still relevant for search engines — and can help boost your click-through rates from search engines. A description meta tag tells search engines what your page is about in greater detail than title tags, and also entices potential visitors to click-through to your page.
Description Meta Tag Checklist
Follow these important keys to best represent your site to search engines, and to enhance your click-through rate:
- Include important keywords
- Write legible, human-minded copy
- Keep the length between 135-160 characters
- Make the copy as compelling and relevant as possible
Although the ins and outs of SEO are regularly being tweaked by Google and their new algorithms, many of the foundations of proper SEO strategy have stayed consistent. The description meta tag and title tag remain part of that foundation. Kind of like the foundation you grew up with in “the good old days.”
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