Meta Tag Copywriting Guidelines
The first phase of an SEO campaign is on site optimization which involves incorporating keywords naturally into all necessary components of a website. One of these components is the website meta tags. While meta tag elements aren’t the ranking factors that they once were, it’s still SEO best practice to include them on every page of the site and optimize them using researched keywords that are unique to each page of content. Here are some tips for each of the meta tag elements:
The keywords meta tag includes the two to five keywords that you are targeting on that particular page. Back in the olden days, this attribute was abused by black hatters that stuffed a bunch on non relevant keywords into the keyword tag just because they had search volume. The search engines smartened up and this tag has little to no effect in any of the major search engines. So why should you even include it? Well, it helps for your own internal record keeping and serves as a reference during a link building campaign.
The title tag is the clickable link of a search engine results page listing. Since it’s indexed by the search engines, it’s important to include keywords at the beginning of the title. Many business websites make the mistake of using only the company name as the title tag. You can really only get away with this if you are a huge well known brand, but even Coca-Cola’s title tag is “Coca-Cola Global: Soft Drinks & Beverage Products”. So, instead of the title tag being “Company X”, it should be “Anytown Landscaping Services by Company X”. This will attract more non branded search traffic and improve visibility amongst those that don’t already know who you are (which is the point, right?). The title tag should only be up to 70 characters in length to avoid the dreaded “…” at the end.
Meta Tag Description
The meta tag description allows for up to 150 characters and is like your search engine results page sales pitch. It’s the snippet that appears below the title and provides an opportunity to separate your website from the other search results. Remember, “features tell, benefits sell”. Write a unique and persuasive description for every page of the website.
The H1 tag is the “header” of the page. Since it is the first text that a search engine spider crawls on the page, it should include a main keyword or keyword phrase. The H1 tag should be different than the Title tag.
The search engines can’t see images that are on your site. An image tag tells the search engine spider what the image is about and provides another opportunity to get some important keywords in there. Don’t use the image tag as a place to cram in keywords, the search engines will notice and it provides a bad user experience for people using screen readers.