This is the first in a 2-blog series breaking down why you can’t ignore your SEO when developing online content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords, title tags, meta descriptions! So many gosh darn jargon terms that it’s hard to know what anyone is talking about these days when it comes to online content.
BUT, for any online content, these terms are crucial to understanding as they can have a huge impact on your search engine ranking…and your brand. While keywords are crucial, we’re not starting there (that’s for September’s sharing). Rather, this month, we’re focusing on the off-page content, better known as Title Tags and Meta Descriptions.
With any good SEO development, start with your keyword (next month we discover all the fun of keywords). For today, this blog assumes you’ve been provided with a keyword list from your SEO provider or one you ran yourself via a platform, such as Google Adwords or Keyword Tool.
Let’s dive on in, shall we?
Tantalizing Title Tags
When developing your SEO, it is important to make sure that you make good use of the title tag for every individual website page. The title tag is a great way for search engines AND your audience to understand what your page is about in a quick scan. When working with your brand and keywords, you’re able to weave in personality behind what you do.
Knowing where the Title Tag goes is helpful to understand what your title tag should say. When on a search engine results page (think Google or Bing), the Title Tag is the hyperlinked section that you click on to take you through to a specific website. By including a keyword within your title tag, your page has a better chance of ranking for a search.
When developing your title tag, keep the following in mind:
A good rule of thumb is 60 characters total, including spaces. While some allow for 70, err on the shorter side.
While still utilizing a well-searched keyword/phrase, you are more likely to get a clickthrough by your audience. Your page will also have a better chance of ranking well for a specific term or topic.
Make sure you’re using a keyword that connects with the actual page content. If you’re merely looking to rank for a specific keyword, but your on-page content doesn’t support the keyword connotation, red flags for search engines will go up. This increases the likelihood that your website will be flagged as spamming for keywords for rankings, not ranking for quality content.
If you are focusing on a local audience, make sure to include the location of your business within the title tag (e.g. “Calgary’s Best Content Company”).
Title Tag examples always help!
Keyword to work with: content development
- Good example: The Write Harle: Ridiculously Easy Content Development Tips!
- Bad example: The Write Harle: Learn Content Development with these tips.
Exactly like the Title Tag, each individual page on your site should have a meta-description. This is the content located underneath the title tag on a search engine results page. Like the tag, this should contain one or more of your important keywords/phrases, however it allows for a deeper description of the page’s content. Ideally, it is action-focused, encouraging the reader to click on the title tag to go into the site.
When developing meta-descriptions, keep in mind:
Your secret brand addition
Meta-descriptions have the power to meld brand and SEO together. This is your opportunity to work adjectives that represent your brand, but also jump out to readers, in order to enhance create an impactful, action-filled statement. If you do not create your own meta-description, the search engine will grab content from your site. This is not the best idea as it may not contain the proper search term/phrase, along with not encouraging the reader to act (i.e. click through to your site). By developing a specific meta-description, you have control over the specific content, keyword, and action you’re looking to achieve.
Length…but not too much
160 – 170 characters, including spaces, is recommended for a solid meta-description. This allows you to create a concise statement which captures your audience’s attention and connects to your brand voice. Like the title tag, the meta-description should also contain one of your more important keywords/phrases. If you’re working with an SEO plugin that allows you only one focus keyword per page, weave that word into your description.
Meta-Description examples also help!
We’ll stick with the same keyword: content development
- Good example: Discover unique writing ideas on how to make your content development fun, effective, and something your readers want to engage with. Read on to learn how!
- Bad example: Content development ideas for enhancing your content. Use this for your website, blogs, and marketing materials.
Well la-di-da, Harle, thanks for helping me figure this out…but where should I put them if they don’t go on the page?
Your website will either have an SEO platform built-in, or you can add an SEO plug-in yourself. This will be dependent upon the type of website platform you are using. Depending on the plug-in being used, the individual SEO terms may be different. For example, the title tag could also be called the SEO Title or the Page Title.
If you do not have an SEO platform and need to add one to your website, popular plugins that are used for SEO include:
A Final Meta-Tag “Don’t Forget!”
Even when developing your off-page content, it’s important to weave the keyword/phrase into a sentence in a natural, conversational flow. This means that you are writing first for the reader, letting them know that the page content will speak to the topic they’re looking for. And remember, for search engines, make sure that the content and the keyword work together. Nothing will have your site flagged by a search engine as fast as non-related meta-tags and content.
Now, go and tackle those title tags and meta-descriptions for each website page and turn your SEO into SEOHHHHHHH!!!!
Next month, discover how working with keywords throughout your on-page content is super fun…and seriously super easy!
Curious about how your backend SEO items could improve? Try the above or share your questions with me at for a personalized chat. Contact The Write Harle for a 1:1 chat!