What is SEO Meta Data and Why Is It Important?
You’ve heard it here, you’ve heard it there, you’ve heard it from any SEO agency: (USEFUL) content is an essential ingredient for modern Search Engine Optimization success. You can never have too much of it (unless it provides no utility for the user), and even just a dash of it in certain areas will make a difference. Add a pinch here, a pinch there, and with time you are seeing positive movements in your traffic numbers from search.
Especially as recent Google search updates (including BERT, and general core updates) continue to emphasize the importance of intent and context for websites, content is the front line of both offense and defense in the war for rankings, traffic and, of course, conversions. You can tell we are in a metaphoric mood today!
What is SEO Meta Data? The Salt of This Recipe
Have we now gone too far with the recipe metaphor? Regardless, adding a pinch of salt to a recipe on the verge of deliciousness = optimizing your metadata to take advantage of easy content opportunities.
SEO meta data refers to the content users see when they receive the results to their queries in Google. This includes the site’s Title Tag and Meta Description. Optimizing just this little pinch of information on your website pages can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings.
What is The SEO Title Tag?
The title tag is the combination of terms that appears as clickable text in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), on social networks as a snippet when you share something from your website, and in your web browser at the very top.
The title tag gives you 55-60 characters of text to include your brand and some high volume keywords. Specifically, the title tag is:
An HTML element that lists the title of a website page
Intended to reflect/summarize the content on the page
The first impression many people will have of your website
While ensuring your title tags are optimized on your main website pages, it is equally important that they be optimized on other content pages, too. Think blog posts, articles, e-books, etc!
What is The SEO Meta Description?
The meta description is another HTML element which summarizes the content on your website pages. You will often (but not ALWAYS! More on that later) see the meta description you created under the clickable text (title tag) in the SERPs, summarizing page content and often ending with a call-to-action (all packed into 155-160 characters).
The Meta Description:
Gives you an opportunity to draw people to your site. It should be crafted for humans, be interesting, and include the action you want users to take
Should include top keywords, but in a natural way that ties into your nicely crafted sentence or two
Is not technically a ranking factor, but can impact your page’s Click-Through-Rate, according to Moz, which in turn would impact your page’s ability to rank
How Do I Write A Meta Tag For SEO?
When you set out to write your title tag and meta description, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Focus on being action oriented
Make sure your keywords are strategically placed
Make sure you have chosen keywords that not only summarize your page content, but that also have enough volume associated with them that they deserve to be in such a powerful position
Your title tag should include your first 1-2 keywords at the very beginning. Many people choose to follow that up with their brand name.
An example: Atlanta SEO Blog – SEO Agency | Lead Horse Marketing
You might also consider including a call to action if you have space. For example, you might say: SEO Blog – Read About SEO Meta Data | Lead Horse Marketing
Remember, your title tag should include a max of 60 characters with spaces. It should also be relevant to the page it is associated with – if Google deems your title tag or meta description to be less relevant than other content on your website page, Google will then render that other content instead. More on that later…
One other thing! When you are writing your meta data for blogs and other content, your strategy can be a bit different. Focus on contextualizing the content you’re sharing – and include CTAs that encourage people to actually click through and read what you’ve written. The keywords are slightly less important on these pages – what you want to capture is the question you are answering with your content and what people should do to take advantage…
What Is SEO Meta Data | Read About Title Tags And More
Why Focus on Meta Data First?
At Lead Horse, there are a few critical steps we take first when beginning SEO work with a new client. We run an extensive technical audit so that we can address any significant roadblocks to SEO success; we do keyword research; and we review site content. After fixing any technical roadblocks, we move into content strategy.
In creating a content strategy for SEO around our keywords, we almost always hone in on title tag and meta description optimizations first. Optimizing this content truly gives the most bang for the buck in terms of results and rankings while continued SEO work extends to other parts of the site.
When Google Doesn’t Like Your Meta Data
Sometimes, Google just does not like the meta data you created. In this case, the search engine will pull content from the page that it feels summarizes your content a bit better. Seems easier, so…
Why is this a problem?
Your meta data will seem haphazard and fragmented
It will likely not be written to encourage clicks
It will not be within the character count (so it may not be a complete thought)
It won’t be optimized for your keywords – the whole reason you’re optimizing your meta data in the first place! – so you lose an important ranking opportunity
If you notice this happening after a few weeks without change, you may want to consider taking another stab at writing those title tags and meta descriptions.
Why SEO Agencies Love Talking About Meta Data
Meta data is a powerful tool for growing your site’s visibility. If you already have your keywords ready to go, as well as an understanding of what pages you want to optimize them for, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions is a task that can have a huge impact on your rankings and ultimately your traffic.
Want to read more about SEO from Lead Horse? Visit our blog section dedicated to SEO!
Want to learn more about what we do? See more about our Atlanta SEO Agency!
Every month, our SEO team looks back on the previous months to determine wins, losses,…