Three Reasons why Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are Still Important
So you have a beautiful website that is highly functional, loads quickly, and has astounding features (you must be an iPages' customer!). However, this is just the beginning of your internet journey because you are now entering a race to beat your competitors on Google. If this had been 3 years ago we would be giving you very different advice from today because Google placed a higher importance on key words back then. However, some things remain the same, and Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are still worth paying attention to for the following reasons:
1. Google uses Title Tags as part of its algorithim to index your page.
Google wants to return the most relevant information relating to a search. Part of the way that it does this is to compile an index of the information that is included in the Title tag. So you need to complete the Title Tag for each of your web pages, and products, that tells Google what the page is about.
Unfortunately Google will only display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, so keep your titles under 55 characters. Don't use capitals for the whole of the description as these take up more room and you want to get your information indexed.
2. Google uses the Title Tag to help match a search enquiry.
This is important to consider when writing your title tag. So think about what a prospective customer would type into Google to find the information that you have on your website. Do not use words or phrases that the web visitor won't use e.g. "our loveliest". Try to put yourself into their shoes and think how you can help them to find your page or product. If you are stuck just use the following: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Your Brand Name.
It is also important to point out that just having a Title Tag will not guarantee that you will be on page 1 of Google for the relevant search term! That's because your competitors will also have done the same thing! However, if you do want to increase your ranking on Google organically then relevant information that mirrors the Title Tags is certainly a must. And sadly the information must be useful, not stuffed full of key words or phrases, but having enough information on the page that reflects what the page is about.
3. Google uses Meta Descriptions to display snippets about your page.
Ok so we wouldn't say that the Meta Description is needed for improving the ranking on Google, but it is incredibly important if you want someone to click on your page or product. In fact this is one of the most important parts of your web page! It's like an advert that entices a web user in to view your page. So please don't ignore the Meta Description and use it as a marketing tool.
On a practical level make sure that you do include keywords somewhere in the description, that needs to entice the user to click through to your page. Each meta description should be unique and should not be longer than 150 characters.
So at iPages we do think that you shouldn't ignore the "Page Head Tags" and "Meta Description Tags" that appear on every page and product, but these should be completed.
How else does iPages help your performance on Google?
On our new iPages software we have written the code to make the url (the Uniform Resource Locator) shorter and to include key words. You can also customise this url really simply if you wish to.
Our websites load very quickly and images are scalable. Content is simple and easy to change, and you can add unlimited content with our software. Blogging is simple, as is adding social media sharing.
What should you be doing?
All this will help you on your race to be the best on Google, but it won't make you the winner. Having an iPages website is a bit like leasing a Ferrari and then expecting to win a race when you don't put petrol in it, nor take it off the drive!
With unique and useful content being Google's main criteria you need to make sure that your website provides that. And if it does then it will be linked to organically. You need to tell the internet about your site so set up a Google+ account, Tweet, and use other Social Media to build your brand. Comment on blogs, become an author, share your expertise and use YouTube.
The secret is engagement with the web, building links and letting social media be your friend. Use your local press to mention you on their website - they are always looking for features. And do not despise paid advertising! Google ads can be helpful, not only will they provide a strong back link, but with carefully crafted landing pages you can up your sales.
Once you have a website this is only just the beginning! It is like any other part of your business, it needs care and attention, but it is one of the most useful ways to increase your market reach.
Heather Khoo is iPages' leading Sussex Account Manager and specialises in helping small businesses with their website upkeep and online marketing.