Want to entice readers onto your webpages via the search engine results pages? Pay attention to writing keyword rich and compelling meta data
This week I conducted a website content audit for a client who had moved his existing website onto WordPress.
At first glance, the move went seamlessly. But it quickly transpired that my client’s website had disappeared from the search engine results pages.
So what was the problem?
A little detective work told me that when my client moved his site to WordPress, he didn’t move his site’s meta data with it.
Here’s the thing. Without meta data, trying to find a webpage is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
What is website meta data?
Meta data is written text that tells Google and searchers what to expect from the content on a webpage.
It is comprised of meta titles and meta descriptions.
Where can you find your meta data?
Your meta titles appear as blue lines on the search engine results pages. More importantly, these blue lines are clickable links to your website.
Your meta descriptions appear directly below your meta titles. They act as subheadlines and elaborate on the meta title above them.
Why do you need meta data?
A search engine’s job is to find and deliver answers to people’s questions.
Search engines use crawlers to quickly find keyphrases and content relevant to search queries.
So for example, if I type in a query:
“copywriter in Sussex”,
Then Google is unlikely to match my webpage to the search query if my meta title lacks the key phrase ‘copywriter in Sussex’ and reads:
“The Content Boutique services.”
How do you write meta titles and descriptions?
Whenever you think about writing for search engines, you must also think about the people using them.
Today search engine optimisation is the language your audience speaks. It is the people using the search engines who are going to click on your links. So put your marketing hat on and write for your audience first.
Think of your meta title as a headline. It is your first opportunity to grab the attention of your readers.
You have up to 60 characters to entice readers to click through to your site. Therefore when writing a meta title, make sure it is keyword and benefit rich.
One more thing. meta titles need to be accurate and unique to individual pages.
I’m sure you know how irritating it is to click on a search engine result and arrive at a page that has no relation to your search query.
Meta descriptions give you an additional opportunity to elaborate on your meta title promise. They make it clear what readers can expect from and gain from reading your page.
Because of this reason, meta descriptions, like meta titles have a direct impact on your click through rate and therefore page rankings.
So once again, do write keyword and benefit rich meta descriptions. Here’s another tip. Where possible include a call to action.
By the way, Google recently increased the number of characters you can use to write your meta descriptions from circa 180 characters to between 230 and 320.
This gives you a further opportunity to convince search engine users that your web page content is relevant and will answer their queries.
By now you’ll have realised the importance of creating unique meta data for each of your web pages.
To get your webpages found and at the same time compel readers to click through to your website, you need to consider:
- Are my meta titles and descriptions unique to every web page?
- Am I making the best use of the latest character counts Google has given me?
- Do my meta tags give my readers a compelling reason to click through to my website?
Best set up a plan to review meta data then.
If you want your audience to find and click through to your web pages, can you afford not to?
If you would like help writing meta descriptions that compel readers to click through to your webpages, then do get in touch.
About Claire Hawes
Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.