Do Meta Tags Have any Impact on SEO?

Published on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 by

The answer is “yes” and “no.” To clarify, yes, title tags do have a direct influence on SEO and can affect your rankings to some extent as a key ranking factor. When it comes to meta descriptions, no, they don’t directly affect SEO, but they can have an indirect influence on your rankings.

Regarding that last point about meta descriptions, these little lines of text might seem insignificant to the point where you don’t even bother to optimise them, but the fact is that these can play an integral role in enticing potential visitors to click through to your page. If the meta description looks spammy or poorly written, or if it doesn’t do anything to convince users that the page contains the information they’re looking for, this could keep users away as they look for other more relevant results.

Meta Tag

If you want to supercharge your SEO, you’ll do well to optimise both your title tags and meta descriptions to serve as accurate and engaging representations for your pages. Otherwise, those top rankings on Google could mean next to nothing.

How to Optimise Title Tags

Google has occasionally made changes to the formatting for title tags, but today it’s generally agreed that title tags should be around 50 to 60 characters long, with one or two key phrases that users are likely to search. Keep in mind that when it comes to length, Google measures pixel width rather than character count, so that 50 to 60 character limit will vary depending on the dimensions of the text within the title tag.

Google and other search engines use Arial, a proportional font, which means that each letter and symbol takes up a different amount of space. So, if you want all of your title tags to show and reach 60 characters for maximum keyword coverage, try to avoid using too many capital letters, items of punctuation, or spaces. If your title tag exceeds the maximum pixel width of 512px, the title will cut off and end with an ellipsis (“…”), which, believe it or not, could discourage visitors from visiting the page.

It’s also important to avoid keyword stuffing. Instead, opt for an alternative to your page title that people are likely to enter as a search query. For instance, if your page is a how-to guide titled “How to Optimise SEO for Top Rankings,” a good title tag could look something like: “How Do I Optimise My Website’s SEO for Top Rankings?” At 54 characters and using an inwardly directed phrase that people are more likely to search, you might find that this title tag is ideal for engaging prospects.

Even if you properly optimise your titles, Google may automatically choose another title tag. Google will often choose the title of the page itself along with your company or website name, separating the two with a pipe (“|”). With this in mind, you may find that your title is too short, in which case you can separate the main keyword phrase using a “|” followed by your company name, which can increase brand awareness and prevent Google from creating its own title.

How to Optimise Meta Descriptions

Unlike title tags, meta descriptions won’t have any effect on rankings directly, but they could mean the difference between a click and a skip. Make sure your meta descriptions are well-written and accurate in describing the page, and you may want to encourage users with an appealing offer that finalises their decision to visit the page.

Meta descriptions are limited in pixel width to around 920px, which translates to between 150 to 156 characters. Typically, anything at or below 156 characters will show up without cutting off, but capital letters, spacing, and punctuation will also impact length for descriptions.

Typically, the ideal meta description will consist of two sentences describing what’s on the page and a call to action. The first sentence should serve as a brief summary of the page topic, followed by a brief statement to encourage the user to click through, such as “learn more here” or an offer like “request a free quote” or “get a free consultation today!” The key is to give users a compelling incentive to visit your website over others appearing in the SERPs.

You should try to ensure that all pages have personalised meta descriptions. Otherwise, all people will see is an excerpt from the page that could mean nothing to them and make you appear less professional.

Get the Most from Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

By optimising these key components, you can effectively create individual “labels” for your pages that place you higher above competitors while increasing click-through rates. You’ll see a clear difference in page performance with winning title tags and meta descriptions in addition to all other SEO measures.

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