Making the Most of Your Titles and Meta Descriptions - What is a Meta Description?
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For many people this is the less familiar concept. A meta-description is, on its most basic level, a type of HTML tag that some search engines will use to display a short description about the website in the search engine results. This description should be no less than 200 words. That's just enough to draw in the reader, without giving away all of the content that you have in the individual piece or site. It is designed to give the reader a taste of the contents.
Now that we know what a title and a meta description are, we can talk about how to make them work for you.
Tips on Making an Effective Title
Creating a great title is a lot like writing a good song. When it is done by someone who knows what they are doing it can seem effortless. If, however, you are just starting out, it can be far more complicated than it seems.
Remember, whether you are making a title for the whole of your site or just one piece, when it comes to the web, every word matters. If you want to create great titles, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself.
What is the main point of this piece?
No matter what kind of a title you are going to make, you need to be paying attention to the focus of your piece. Even if your title is great in every other way, if it is off topic, then it will not be of use to your site or your readers.
What Kind of Title Will I be Writing?
Think about the style of title that makes the best sense for your piece. This will largely be a matter of your own good judgment, but in general you need to also consider your site. A gossip-style teaser will probably be a little silly on a serious site, and a celob-news extravaganza won’t want to give up the dirt right away.
What are My Keywords for this Piece?
If you do a lot of SEO prep work, then the odds are that you already know what your keywords are. If you did not, then this will require a bit of work. You will want to figure out which words or phrases have been repeated in your piece. Once you have that list you should do the standard keyword research to determine which ones are the best to use and which you should probably not use in your title. If you have never conducted keyword research before or you feel that your research techniques are not as effective as they could be, you can find several pieces on this site that can help you to learn and refine your techniques.
Now you can go ahead and draft your title. If you are worried about broader titles, like a site name or a tag line, then ask yourself the same questions with a more general eye towards your site. Also, when working on the site level, you do not want to skimp on the keyword research. Consider the words that you pick when you are choosing your site's name. You are going to be stuck with that name for a very long time. The research may take a bit of extra time, but it will be well worth the investment that you make.
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