How to Optimise your Metadata for Success on Google
One of the most frequently asked questions Verb receives is ‘how do you optimise your metadata for success on Google?’. Our search engine optimisation experts have since provided some useful tips in order to help you better your own SEO success online.
Despite misconceptions, it’s highly valuable to optimise your metadata in order to help your website rank well for relevant search terms. Indeed, we strongly believe that doing so should be considered a routine part of your on-page SEO. Done well, it will increase the number of relevant users being shown your website, resulting in increased click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs) and, ultimately, conversions.
Firstly, what is metadata & why is it important for SEO?
Starting from the very beginning – metadata is the information that your website provides to search engines to fill out the SERPs with relevant pieces of information for searchers to see. It’s also what lets Google (predominantly) know what your pages and website are about. There are three main types of metadata, including meta tags / titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords. These can often get confused, so let’s break them down.
A. Meta tags / Title tags
Meta titles are shown to searchers and to search engine indexers. They reflect the subject of your page and should include keywords in order to target the right people for your site. Our top tip is to avoid keyword stuffing. Never pack your meta tags – or any metadata – full of just keywords and nothing else; they should always be coherent and present an appealing title to draw customers in.
B. Meta description
Your web page’s meta description is shown under the title in the search engine results. We advise our clients that a meta description should provide just enough information to draw your customers: meaning keep it short and to the point. The meta description should help visitors to understand what your web page has to offer and be appropriate to its niche. When done well, it will help to ensure that the people who click through to your website are targeted consumers. In the instance of our clients, we’d be aiming for consumers with luxury fashion and brand interests, so we’d create a succinct line of copy which would include relevant keywords around that topic.
C. Meta keywords
Meta keywords are used to tell the search engine what the topic of the page is. Unlike meta titles and meta descriptions, meta keywords are not visible to visitors. It’s worth bearing in mind that meta keywords shouldn’t be considered as high of a priority in SEO as they’re less relevant to Google’s algorithm than they used to be. Overall, you should simply aim to make them consistent with the keywords the website is optimized for.
VERB’s best practices for metadata optimisation
Now you’ve got more of an idea of what metadata is, we want to help you excel in your practice and see its benefits. Metadata is an extremely useful tool to help optimise the effectiveness of any digital marketing content. It will improve your rankings on search engine results pages and increase content visibility. It can also provide an insight into the functionality and usage of websites and social media channels, allowing retailers to better channel their marketing efforts.
Nail your title tag
Title tags should be descriptive but to the point, containing primary keywords relevant to the content on a particular page. They’re one of the first things a consumer sees in their search engine results, so use keywords that accurately describe what you’re offering. It’s worth bearing in mind that there is 50 – 60 character limit for title tags with Google. Be smart with your keyword choice.
Perform keyword research before jumping into metadata. It’s important to think about how easily searchable and discoverable your page content will be in the first place. All the data on your website, including headings, description tags, and page titles, should be using these keywords. This may seem like an obvious checkbox, but it’s one that will ensure consistent success.
Focus in on your meta description
The meta description is where our experts focus the majority of their attention, so making sure you’re following best practices in this area is key:
Length of meta description
We recommend restricting the size of a meta description to between 50 and 300 characters. If it is longer than this, then Google will actually cut them off in the SERPs.
Add a call-to-action
A good meta description could include a call to action such as “buy now”, “contact us”, “find out more”, this type of description can prompt a visitor to click on the link to your web page.
Your meta description should contain your keywords
Meta descriptions should also include focus keywords that make relevant, targeted visitors more interested in your webpage. The keywords should match with the content of the page, as well as your website in general, and should be optimised to appeal to your target audience.
Your meta description should be unique
Your meta description should be unique so that every page of your website is appropriately optimised. When a customer clicks on your page in Google search result, they are directed to the page they were expecting.
Compare your meta description with SERP snippets
The meta description is controlled by you, and you can add or remove anything from it using WordPress plugins or simple HTML. And while Google often uses your meta description in its SERPs, there is no guarantee of this, so it may require your own searches to verify whether your meta descriptions are in use.
Lean on the growing number of optimisation tools
There are many popular tools available for optimizing metadata with this list continuing to grow with AI becoming a growing influence within SEO circles. Even with these tools, we still recommend that metadata optimisation be carried out by an SEO professional and grounded in keyword research and SEO strategy closely aligned with your business goals.
When it comes to implementation RankMath and Yoast SEO are two WordPress plugins that allow you to easily implement metadata sitewide, including titles, meta descriptions, keywords, and more. Additionally, these tools can be used to check if the metadata is formatted correctly and free from errors that can affect how effectively your website appears in search engine results.
Creating a metadata practice that ensures SEO success
Incorporating metadata into your SEO practices is vital to ensure your website is being shown to the most relevant users. Ensure your meta description, title tag and meta keywords are optimised to effectively and uniquely represent the content of your site by using our best practices outlined above. If you’re looking to find out more and build an SEO strategy that works for your business, find out more about our SEO work for our luxury clients.