Every time you are considering watching a new movie, you will likely first watch a trailer for it. A movie trailer gives you a feel for what the main story is, some of the highlights and whether it’s worth watching at all.
In a similar way, search engines will rank your site based on a variety of key highlights. They will let your potential visitors know if your site might be worth visiting.
In search engine terms, the meta data on your site lets web crawlers (bots) understand whether the contents of your website is relevant and valuable for your visitors.
Meta Tag, you’re it
One of the most critical aspects of the Search Engines finding your site is to have the correct meta tags in place. A meta tag is a technical term for telling the Search Engine what you’re writing about.
Meta Data is the first few pieces of data that a search engine bot will find and start to index.
The three most important elements of meta data
To help your Search Engine rankings improve, there are different types of meta tags you need to know about:
- Title Tags – a short description that includes relevant keywords
- Meta Description – a longer description of what the visitor can expect to see on the page
- Headings (H1) and Subheadings (H2, H3) – the title of the page, and main topic headings
If you get these three elements of meta data working for you, the search engine bots will find it much easier to rank your site well.
Titles and Descriptions help the visitor decide
The Title Tag is like the cover of a book or a news headline. It grabs attention and keeps it if the person is interested. If it matches well with keywords in a particular search, then it ranks higher in search results.
A Meta Description is another paragraph of text placed in the head of a webpage. It is commonly displayed in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) snippet along with a title and page URL. Not that is not necessarily shown on the page visible to the visitors, but rather at the code level. The purpose of a meta description is to reflect the essence of a page, but with more details and context.
While meta descriptions are not an official ranking factor, it still impacts the interest of the searcher with your website.
Using Headings to keep them reading
Headings will help to increase readability of the page. Most readers today will scan a page via the heading and subheading. If these look interesting or seem to contain information they need, then they will continue to read the paragraph below them. On the technical side, the H1 headings help the bots to know which keywords are most important for the page. Any words included in H1 or H2 headings will have more weight than other text on a page.
Following best SEO practices also help your visitors
When you design your website, you have to think of it as having two different goals: to engage your users and to be ranked well by Search Engines.
SEO can be very confusing because you have to ensure you are ticking many boxes. When writing the site content (i.e., the words on your site), you must think of how the search engines will interpret it, just as much as the people who visit.
At a minimum, you should aim to:
- Create a unique title for your page that describes the page’s content concisely
- Keep the titles around 50-60 characters long (so they don’t get cut off in SERPs).
- Put your most important keywords first. However, do this in a natural manner, don’t do it to cram in keywords
- Make use of your brand name in titles, so people know who you are
- Remember that the key to attracting more visitors to your website is to make it findable and valuable. By using keywords that are relevant to the page topic and the correct meta tags, you are doing many things right.
In conclusion: the easier it is to find you, the more likely you are to attract new visitors and grow the success and reach of your website.