Have you ever Googled your business and wondered why Google is showing what it is showing in the search results for your company? We have, and what controls this comes down to three things.
- Title tags on the pages of your website
- Description tags on pages of your website
- What google determines would be best to show to the searcher (this is where it gets a little tricky)
If you have a website, it is essential that you audit your website's title and description tags to make sure they accurately describe the pages on your website. Now you might be asking yourself. What is a title or description tag? We will explain.
Both title and description tags are pieces of HTML code that are considered metadata. Metadata is information that describes a website, and it can be used to describe to Google what pages on your website are all about. You can alter this data by changing the HTML of the webpage, or if you are using an editor like Squarespace, you usually just place this information within a box labeled "title" or "description." " Keywords are also metadata, and you will see that mentioned a lot when researching SEO.
There are three main sectional components of a webpage: the head, body, and footer. Metadata is located in the "head" of a webpage. This area can also contain things like google analytics code, and Facebook Opengraph code (basically the same function as metadata, but for Facebook). In contrast, the body part of the page is where most of your webpage information is stored.
So that might seem a little complicated, but it does not have to be. If you are using a service for your website like SquareSpace or Godaddy, altering metadata is usually as easy as typing text in a box. You will just need to know the terminology to look for on these services. If you have a web developer, they should be able to change this for you easily.
Why are they important?
So why are title and description tags so important? The main reason is that when someone searches for your services, you want to provide text that would persuade them to click on your website.
Here is an example of a title and description that shows for EstateSales.NET when someone searches for Chicago Estate Sales.
You can use the text that you enter for your title and description to gain a competitive advantage. Craft descriptions and titles that would attract a searcher to click on your website. Usually, the best thing to do is to think about what questions the searcher might be asking and then answer those questions in a way that would help them. Use the title to grab their attention and use the description to let them know what they are clicking.
A service page for an estate sale company in Chicago might read:
Having an Estate Sale In Chicago is Easy(Limit title to 50-60 Characters)
Estate Sales R Us is a premier Chicago estate sale company that can guide you through the estate sale process of having a successful estate sale. (Limit description to 50-150 characters)
This is just an example, and you should write titles and descriptions that are specific for each page and who that page is targeting.
There is one caveat to this. Sometimes Google will not use your description tag. This can happen if Google believes there is something more valuable to the searcher on your page than what is in your description. As a rule of thumb, it is still a good idea to have solid titles and descriptions available for Google to use for your website, know that you may see Google use something different on its search results for your description. If it has used something different, Google more than likely gathered the new description from the physical page text. That is why it is good to make sure the page text is appropriate, and that it helps the searcher in some way.
For a more technical breakdown of Title and Description tags, we recommend you check out an article by the SEO company Moz.com titled "Meta Description."