Let’s Talk About Meta Data
What do you call it when you sit down to write a blog about blog writing?
Ah, yes – meta data. That ever thrilling subject.
If you don’t already know what meta data is, then strap yourself in – because you’re in for some edge-of-the-seat stuff right here. If you already know a thing or two about the topic, you’re probably wondering if we have any added tips and advice to raise your meta game even higher.
That’s because meta data is a pretty fundamental part of SEO optimising your website.
Though the basics of meta data can be learnt fairly easily, it can take some work to get it scoring consistently high across all your online content.
What’s meta data?
Meta data is essentially what you see underneath a google search result. Anyone who has ever used google (read: everyone) will know what that looks like – but you might not always pay much attention to the particulars of the setup.
A meta description consists of three main features:
- The page title.
- The page URL or ‘slug’.
- A meta description, or ‘page summary’.
The average google searcher probably assumes that all of this is automatically generated, and that the website owner has no more control over the words used than the reader.
That’s about half right. In reality, most meta data is automatically generated – but it doesn’t have to be. Website owners that take the time to properly write their own summaries will be graciously rewarded by the gods of SEO.
How do I optimise my page title?
This is probably the feature that requires the least amount of attention. Presumably, whether it’s website SEO copywriting, article content writing or just a straight forward services page – your page has a title. In this case at least, you probably shouldn’t change the google result much from the actual page title.
So check if you can get a keyword in the title somewhere, but don’t shoehorn it in. Some people also like to add the name of their website on the end of the google title – particularly if that name has a keyword in it.
How do I optimise my URL?
The easy answer to this is: get some keywords in there. If you’ve got some in the title already, you’re already on the way. But a decent URL is actually a little bit more complicated than that.
Websites tend to automatically create URLs by taking the title of the page and inserted dashes between each word.
In general however, you should go through and delete words like prepositions, auxiliaries and articles that have no inherent meaning of their own.
Words like: to, have, an, the, above and others like it can all go – because Google doesn’t really care about them and isn’t about to reward anyone that makes their algorithms scour through them.
After getting rid of all of the nonsense, adding in some keywords into the URL won’t hurt.
How do I edit my Meta description
The meta description is the real gold star here, both from an SEO and a readers’ perspective. Google tends to just automatically pull out the first few sentences of your page for the meta description, followed by an ellipses when it hits the limit (currently 320 characters, recently upgraded from 160).
Sure, it does the job. But to state the blindingly obvious, the first few sentences of your page weren’t written to be a google summary, they were written to be the start of your page. The two have different purposes.
For example, if I were to allow Google to present just the first sentence of this blog as the search summary, I can’t imagine many people would click on it. The copy should adapt to suit the form.
From an SEO perspective, Google likes meta descriptions that fit neatly within its character limits, and writing your own also gives you the opportunity to slip a few keywords in there. Everyone’s a winner.
So make sure your focus keyword makes it into the meta – and a couple of others for good measure if you can get them in.
And if you’d rather get an expert to do it for you – then we’re waiting to hear from you.