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Metadata 101: How to write high-ranking meta titles and descriptions

By Molly Govus | April 9, 2024

When it comes to crafting good SEO content, it’s common to automatically think of blogs and landing page copy. But did you know that there’s another important aspect that directs your audience towards your content? Well, it’s all down to the power of metadata. 

While many marketers are familiar with the throes of website copywriting, metadata also deserves some attention. That’s what we’re going to discuss today — what metadata is, why it shouldn’t be skimped on, and how you can use it to enhance your website’s rankings.

 

What is metadata and why is it important for SEO?

Let’s start with the importance of metadata in SEO. It’s essentially the tool that pushes your content from a piece of code to a trustworthy resource on the results page. 

To do this, search engine crawlers (little tech bots) will crawl through your page’s metadata fields, scoping out what your page is about, assessing the quality of your content, and determining how useful it is to the end user.

For your content to rank on a search engine, the data will then be indexed. Once it’s indexed, your content will be visible to users searching for a relevant query. From this information, your content will then be ranked on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). 

 

The different types of metadata and how they impact the SERP

Metadata is made up of many different aspects, commonly known as meta tags. Meta tags are all about communicating to search engines what your page is about, how they should read your information, and who the target audience is.

Title tags

Your main and most important anchor. This is the first thing your target audience will see on the SERP, potentially inclining them to make that all-important click to your website. As such, you should provide a clear and comprehensive idea of what your page is about. Here’s an example of a SERP from one of our blogs about 2024 SEO tools:

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions act as a clear description of your content, and it’s shown along with your title tag on the SERP. It gives the user an insight into what they’re clicking on, and it’s always best practice to include a few target keywords here to match user intent. If your keywords match with what a user has typed into the search bar, they’ll even appear in bold:

Heading tags

Instead of appearing to users as a block of text, heading tags are used to identify headings and subheadings within your content. You won’t find these meta tags in the examples above, as the heading tags are hidden within the code of your content. The use of heading tags can influence your SEO ranking as it helps crawlers understand the page’s structure, and it also helps with user navigation.

 

How do meta tags impact the search engine results?

Ultimately, meta tags contribute to how your website appears in the SERP. Your meta title is the first hook, and the meta description is a taster of what’s to come. They make up your target audience’s first impression of your website, and they can determine whether they click through to your offerings or not. 

This has a knock-on effect, impacting your traffic and engagement rates and then your website’s SEO and rankings. From this, your visibility will also be affected, potentially reducing the amount of people who see your content.

 

Best practices to follow when writing meta tags

When writing metadata content, it’s important to tread the fine line between staying true to your brand personality and adhering to what search engines are looking for. 

Meta titles

  • Ensure all of your meta titles are unique, concise, and accurate to the content within the page. Never be misleading.

 

  • Keep your meta titles between 50 — 60 characters long. Use tools to check how they’ll appear in the SERP.

 

  • Include keywords naturally where relevant. If they look forced in then the crawlers may notice, resulting in a negative effect.

 

  • Include your brand name (like we have in the examples above). It will help the search engine build up an image of your brand, the quality of your information, and your expertise within your niche.

 

Meta descriptions

  • Your meta description is a chance for you to reflect your page’s value. Add a hint of your tone of voice and explain what the page is about. Ultimately, tell your audience why you are the website they should click on for their query. What can you offer?

 

  • Bear in mind that SERP snippets come with a character count. Aim to keep your meta description between 150 — 160 characters.

 

  • Include a call-to-action to persuade the user to take action.

 

  • Include a few relevant keywords (as long as they’re necessary and fit into the context of your page). Try not to keyword stuff — make sure that the keywords used have a significant purpose in aiding the user’s query.

 

Optimise your metadata with Narwhal Media Group

It’s the job of our in-house SEO experts to put your website in the spotlight — and metadata optimisation is an essential part of this process. Interested in seeing how we work? Our copywriting services are all about our writers getting to know your business from the inside out, ensuring that all content creation and optimisation is done with your brand personality in mind. 

We offer tailored SEO services to a range of businesses, delving head-first into the data and using our experience to help you reach record-breaking rankings. SEO gives you an undeniable advantage against your competitors, so why neglect it?

Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you get your business recognised.

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