Optimizing your website for search engines can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you consider how many different ways there are to optimize. Creating or updating a website has been made easier than ever now, but doing it right is still complicated.
For example, Squarespace has been trying to update their search engine optimization (SEO) tools and assistance. You might hear that creating a website on Squarespace is easy, but when you look at their SEO checklist it doesn’t seem so easy.
There are many tactics to creating a SEO friendly website. Some fundamental ways that you can optimize your website include updating the links and site text. Another key component to optimizing your website is metadata.
However, most people aren’t even aware that metadata is an essential part of their website. Others who are aware of metadata may feel intimidated if they do not have a lot of experience with web design or HTML. Yet, after learning a little about metadata and how it is used, the task of crafting your metadata can feel less daunting.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is data information that provides information about other data that helps search engines choose which websites come up first when you type a word or phrase into a search engine. Basically, metadata tells search engines how to read and display sites on search engine result pages (SERPs). To optimize your metadata for search engines, you should focus on your website’s title tag and meta descriptions. Here are the most important factors to consider when creating a title tag and meta descriptions for your website.
Title Tags and SEO
The most important element of metadata is the title tag. Title tags normally appear near the top part of a website’s page. When someone types a word or phrase into a search bar, search engines use title tags as a way to find matching results. Title tags are important because they can increase traffic on your website from search results if used correctly.
How to Write a Title Tag
If you want to write strong title tags for your website pages, then choose a title that captures the content of your page clearly and concisely, while incorporating one or two key terms that you would like search engines to associate with your page. You should also try to include the company name associated with your page if you can, so that your site is easier to identify on the results page.
Google only shows the first 50 to 60 characters of a title tag, so make sure that your title tag fits these requirements. For example, check out this SERP from Google in response to the search “Metadata” below.
Wikipedia, The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary, and Datedo Data Terminology all give their pages short titles with less than 60 characters, and include the name of the company or domain associated with their pages.
There are many tactics to try and get noticed on search engines by using title tags. For now, we suggest sticking to describing the page in less than 60 characters to encourage search engines and users to engage with your website.
Meta Descriptions for SEO
The meta description is also an important part of optimizing a website. Like title tags, this description is not visible to viewers on a site. However, the description is displayed on SERPs underneath the title tag, and gives users a short description of a website’s page. A meta description provides additional information to a person searching for a specific website page.
How to Write a Meta Description
To attract the most clicks, your meta description should be descriptive and engaging and use keywords that will appear in the search results. Technically, meta descriptions can be any length, but Google will automatically shorten them to 155 to 160 characters. Although meta descriptions don’t affect rankings, well written meta descriptions will still bring more people to your website than a poorly written one.
Why is Metadata Important?
Ultimately, the purpose of metadata is to ensure that people looking for your site will find it, which will help improve your website in the long run. Make sure that your site’s title tag and meta description match the content of your site, as well as contain search terms that correspond with your website’s content.
Your site’s title tag and meta data will help users understand what your page is about, what company is associated with your page, and what content they will find on your page. All of these are ways to optimize your site for search engines and will help you attract new visitors to your site.
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