How to write meta tags (that do more than just get you found)
SEO copywriting can be a tricky line to walk. You want to be found by search engines so you need to use those keywords and phrases to maximum effect. But you don’t want your SEO to come at the price of customer engagement. After all, Google isn’t handing any cash over!
Your SEO efforts still need to entice and intrigue online customers and, most importantly, they need to convert. When you’re writing meta tags, you’ve got to do all that in 160 characters or fewer.
This post will show you how to write meta tags (and data) that boost your SEO and help you convert searchers to prospective customers.
What are meta tags?
Let’s take it back a step and make sure we’re all clear about what meta tags are. Meta tags are part of the coding of the meta elements of your website. They work behind the scenes helping search engines make sense of each webpage and ensuring it displays correctly.
As a creator of online content you only really need to concern yourself with a few of these.
The text in the title tag will appear in a few places: in the browser bar when you view the page, it’s the page name when your site or blog is saved as a bookmark or favourite, and when it’s shared across social media. The title tag also appears in search results and is one of the key pieces of information search engines can use to match you up to online searches.
So pretty important, right? Oh, and you only have 60-70 characters.
Description meta tag
The text you put in the description meta tag lets you influence the page description that appears in search results and when your page is shared. Search engines can actually pick this up from your page but when you complete the 160-character description yourself, you can put in a bit more pizzazz. Stuffing your description with keywords won’t give you any SEO lovn’ so it’s the pizzazz I really want to cover.
Your meta tags need more than keywords
Your title tag and description tags in your meta data have traditionally been used to describe the webpage. Because they appear in search engines and when your page is shared, you have an opportunity to turn them into bite-sized chunks of marketing awesome.
Ideally your meta tags should contain:
1. An accurate summary of what your webpage or blog post is about
2. A compelling reason to actually click the link and find out more
3. A call to action
And all in just a little more than a tweet. Writing optimised and effective meta tags is a tough gig!
Tips for writing effective tags for your meta data
Be accurate about your page content. Misleading search engines and searchers about what your webpage actually contains is bad SEO and it’s bad form. You might get a lot of traffic but they won’t stick around because you fibbed. Nil conversions = FAIL.
Entice people with a benefit. Why should they click? What will your webpage deliver? The main benefit your page offers can be linked in with your page summary using phrases like “Discover how…”, “You will learn….”, “Your ultimate guide to….”.
Include a call to action. If you have a special offer, include it in your meta tags! “Order now to receive…” or “Book before 31 Jan for 40% off”. If you don’t have an offer, draw on verbs to drive some action.
Put your keywords up front. Search engines pay particular attention to the first few words of everything so, if you can, pop your keywords up front in your title and description meta tags. Don’t compromise readability and persuasiveness for SEO, though.
Don’t waste the first 15 characters of your title with your business name. In fact, only include your business name if that’s the number 1 way people find you or you have space left. Your meta tags should entice them with a reason, not a business name.
Show some flair. Remember that people are presented with many pages of search results and they are looking for a way to differentiate them. Don’t be afraid to show some personality!
Juggling it all in a title tag of 60 characters and a description tag of 160 characters is a big ask. When you take some time to look beyond SEO your meta tags will not only get you found by search engines, but also, they will spark a connection from the very first moment.
So go forth and create interesting meta tags that do more than get you found.
The Copy Detective.
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