Higher position in Google? This is how you write page titles & meta descriptions
The page title and meta description are often the first pieces of text a visitor sees when they type something into the search engine. You know, that blue title and that gray piece of text below it in Google. These pieces of text tell Google, but especially your potential customer, what the page behind the click is about.
Of course you want that potential customer to click on your page title, right? Then you must have an irresistible page title and meta description. I’ll teach you how to do that here.
Page titles are like front pages
You know it: you take a magazine off the shelf, look at the front page and you read the title. Now you can do two things. Either you put the magazine back, or you start leafing through it. You determine which of the two that is for the most part via the front page.
The same goes for facades or a first date. Are you entering the store? Do you approach that nice man or woman? You base that on the first thing you see of the store or the other. The same goes for page titles in Google. They determine whether people land on your website or that of the competitor.
The purpose of your page title and meta description
These two pieces of text are for something. They have a purpose. In the first instance, they are there to convince your visitor to click on them, so that they end up on your website. In addition, they are there to make it clear to Google what the landing page is about. The KPIs to look at are:
- Organic position
- Click-through-rate (CTR), the percentage of people who see and click on your page title
The higher you rank in Google, the higher the CTR, the more people end up on your website. You can easily keep track of this data in Google Search Console.
Google is increasingly filling in the meta description itself
The search engines are getting smarter, which you also see in the search results. It is increasingly common for Google to create its own meta description. It is therefore not a disaster if you forget to enter it in your CMS. Nevertheless, it is useful to fill it in yourself, so that the meta description matches your tone of voice, for example.
Where do I change the page title over meta description?
Usually you do this in your CMS or via a plug-in. Since WordPress is one of the most used content systems, I will cover this system. Make sure you have the free Yoast plugin.
- Click “Pages” in the left menu of your WordPress dashboard
- Click on the page for which you want to change the page title and/or meta description
- Scroll down a bit. Now you see a block with ‘Yoast SEO’ on the left
- Under ‘SEO title’ and ‘Meta description’, write your new title and meta description
- Save everything by clicking on ‘Update’ in the top right corner of the screen
This is how you write a good page title
Writing a page title that people want to click on isn’t rocket science. You just need to know what you’re doing. A number of practical tips that everyone can apply:
- Put your search term in the front of the page title. This can lead to higher rankings. Note: only do this if it keeps the sentence flowing smoothly.
- Use power words: words that give power to your title. Think of words like ‘temporary’, ‘cheap’, ‘free’, ‘how’, ‘more’, ‘turnover’, ‘discover’ and ‘tips’.
- Make sure your page title is as active, short, and sweet as possible. Delete all words that add nothing.
In addition, always keep the search intent of the searcher in mind.
- Does he or she want to buy something? Then use ‘buy?’ after your search term.
- Your searcher knows what he is looking for, and on which website he will find it. He types something like “seo frankwatching” into Google. Therefore, make sure you always use your company name in your page title.
- Is that person looking for information? Use words like ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘when’.
- Your searcher wants to buy a certain product, but first investigate whether that is the best option. Therefore use words and terms such as ‘best’, ‘compare’ and ‘reviews’. Handy if you have pages on which you compare products.
Google page title rules
Google only shows a certain number of characters or pixels of your page title. It’s so neat if it’s not cut off, so make sure you stick to that limitation. Think about 55 to 60 characters, including space. In fact, Google will truncate your title after 513 pixels on desktop and 580 on mobile.
And that’s how you write a good meta description
Your meta description complements your page title. So build on that.
- Repeat your search term one more time in the meta description. This ensures that the term is in bold, which makes it stand out more in the search results.
- Make sure you write a unique URL per landing page, or write one at all. Meta descriptions are sometimes forgotten, so it’s an easy way to stand out if you do have a top meta description.
- Google also prefers to see a certain length when it comes to your meta description. Use a maximum of 155 to 160 characters, which equates to 920 pixels for desktop and 680 for mobile.
Handy tool to check your page title and meta description in Google
When I write the meta-data for a client or myself, I use a tool. Very handy, because then I know for sure that the two texts are in perfect order. I use Optimus Online’s SERP snippet preview tool for this. Use this tool and you will never again be bothered by meta-data with typos, spelling errors and more.
When do I have a good page title/meta description?
You have that if they achieve the goals: a high(er) position in Google and a high(er) CTR. “When is a CTR high?” I hear you ask. Here you can see the results of a study in which 5 million search results were analyzed . It is not 100% representative of your niche or market, but use the data to see how you perform against the average.
Note that this includes all clicks on organic search results. Advertisements and searchers that did not click on anything are not included in the data.
On your landing page, do what you promise in your title and meta description
So, the visitor has now landed on your website. Was that it then? No, now the real work begins. Now you have to do what you promised in your title or meta description. Is your title ‘Compare all health insurers – 2021’? Make sure that your website visitors can compare all health insurers with their policies from 2021.
Can’t keep your promise? Then your visitor is disappointed and drips off. The next time he will definitely not end up on your website, but that of the competitor.
Test, analyze and keep improving
So, you’ve written new page titles and possibly meta descriptions. Are you ready now? No, actually it’s just starting now. Track the results of your rewritten meta data in Search Console or Google Analytics. The most important data to keep an eye on are the organic positions and your CTR. Continue to analyze whether you see growth and make adjustments where necessary.