2014 Guide to SEO titles and descriptions

How to do titles and descriptions post penguin and hummingbird

A clear head is required when writing meta titles & descriptions – clear from the old world of search engine manipulation and clear as to why titles & descriptions are as important as ever…just for slightly different reasons.

Social media uses meta data

Title and descriptions are seen as ‘SEO work’. Over time meta data has been used by social media channels in sharing actions (see Twitter below taking the page title from a blog post – highlighted in blue) and provided signals to Google in particular for over optimisation by the SEO industry. So keyword repetition is bad as is a title without a bit of cleanly representing your brand.

tweet share text comes from your page title


Here’s a checklist of things to look at with your descriptions and titles:

1. In data terms, work to the following parameters:

55 characters for titles
160 characters for meta descriptions

This avoids the cutting off of text in the search engine results pages (SERPS) – and focuses you on the next step.

Incidentally, its worth auditing your page title and description length for existing pages – it could be that with some neat changes you can improve your CTR and rankings alike.

2. Approach the title and description like you would an advert.

Yes you need to be relevant. So if you are describing a restaurant in Soho then having its name and ‘Soho in the title is clearly going to help the clickthrough rate (CTR). That said, approach getting in the top 10 as what you can give to the search engines that makes your page stand out. So for example if you had a price, discount or special offer for the restaurant in Soho why not slot it into the page title? Think about category, sub-category or even page specific calls to action that would appeal to your website users.

3. Don’t be afraid to be specific.

If you are creating a restaurant review then the user and search engine alike could certainly do with that data in the meta title- potentially more than the URL. By accurately describing your page and combining this with the ‘hook’ mentioned in #2 – you have the perfect page title and description approach.