Developing an online presence is a great strategy for small businesses looking to grow. To help improve your digital reach you may consider adding a blog. B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67% more leads than those who do not. Additionally blogging is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to ensure your target audience hears directly from you as often as you want.
One essential step many companies overlook is taking the time to make sure that their blogs are searchable online. All of your time blogging is only useful if you take the time to implement SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices. Meta Descriptions and Title Tags are a vital part of helping Google understand what your website is about. When Google understands this, your website will queue in the right search queries and you will generate better business leads.
Each blog post that is written is filed as a separate page (or post) on your website, but you have to add a Title tag and meta description separately. Depending on which platform you use for your website, adding a title and description may differ slightly. For our examples, we will be using Wordpress. The easiest way to add a Title Tag and Meta Description is with an SEO plugin, such as Yoast or WP Meta SEO. When you create a new blog, these plugins allow you to also add your search engine title (Title Tag) and your search engine description (Meta Description).
Here’s an example:
It is possible to add a title tag and meta description without using a plugin; however, it involves writing code. Here is a good video on how to optimize your blog post without using an SEO plugin on Wordpress. But for those of us who do not understand coding, using the plugin is much easier!
Google is responsible for 94% of total organic traffic. (Web Presence Solutions, 2017) So, for this article, we are going to focus on the parameters that Google sets forth for those items. For the best optimization of your title tag, Google says the maximum number of characters should be 60. You can actually enter as many characters as you want, but what the user will see when they search is 60. Most websites allow for plug-ins that can count the characters on your title tags, but if yours doesn’t, there are plenty of online tools you can use, such as https://charactercounttool.com. When you copy and paste your title on the tool, it will count characters for you and give you an idea of what the title will look like in search. Now that you know the limit on how many characters you should include in the title, let’s talk about what you should include.
Let’s say Mary has a cleaning service and she writes a blog about how to keep the house clean in between professional cleanings. Let’s say the title of the blog is, “Keeping Your House Clean.” When she adds the blog post to her website, she will also add her search engine title and search engine description. In the search engine title box, you will add a title that will help people find your blog. This is the beginning of SEO optimization of your blog. If you have enough room, you can put the blog title in the title tag. For our example, “Keeping Your House Clean” is only 24 characters. So we can use it, then separate it and add any keywords you might be trying to rank for, such as Home Cleaning Services. Another thing you can add to the title is the name of the company.
Keeping Your House Clean | Home Cleaning Services
Keeping Your House Clean | Mary’s Cleaning Services.
Keeping Your House Clean | Home Cleaning Services | Mary's Cleaning Services
This title has too many characters for Google limits. Your blog name would be cut off. If the blog title is already too long, try making it shorter, but still include the keywords you want to help your rankings. For example, “What Not To Do To a Carpet Stain If You Want To Be Certain It Will Come Out” already has 75 characters. So take the keywords you want to rank for and shorten it like this, What Not To Do To a Carpet Stain | Mary’s Cleaning Service.
A Meta Description, or search engine description, has a character limit set by Google. Meta Description words appear in the section in search under the title. If there is no description, Google usually takes the text from the page body. This is called the search snippet.
Occasionally, Google changes the character limit. Last year they increased the limit only to change it back to a lower number in May of 2018. Read more about this on Yoast. The current maximum number of characters for a Meta Description that will appear in a search snippet is 158.
The most important thing about your description is making sure it is relevant to what the user is looking for. Although keywords in meta descriptions are not a contributing factor to search rankings, they do help the searcher understand that your article is relevant, therefore increasing clicks to your website which will help improve rankings. Going back to Mary and her blog post about house cleaning, let’s assume the keyword phrase she is trying to rank for is “Cleaning Services.” The Meta Description needs to include a short piece about the blog post subject to hopefully entice the user to click on your link.
Ever wonder what you should do in between house cleanings to keep the house clean? Mary’s Cleaning Services has the answers.
That description has the keywords, “cleaning services” and relates to the blog and it’s only 124 characters.
If your description were too long, Google would cut off the additional characters. Consider this example:
Do you wonder what you should do to make sure your house stays clean in between the times that the Cleaning Services come to clean? Mary’s Cleaning Services has the answers.
The search snippet would cut off the remaining characters over 158. Even though the keywords appear twice, there are too many characters. So your snippet would look like this:
Keeping Your House Clean | Mary’s Cleaning Service
Do you wonder what you should do to make sure your house stays clean in between the times that the Cleaning Services come to clean? Mary’s Cleaning Servic…
Even though this example allows you to read most of the snippet and the keywords, when it comes to optimizing your page, you want to stay within the Google limits. The more you abide by the ranking rules, the better your search results will be.
By taking the time to optimize your Title Tag and Meta Description, you will help more people see your blog posts and help drive more traffic to your website. SEO is a detailed strategy that requires an attention to detail and current industry knowledge. If you are looking for help ensuring your website is implementing SEO best practices, send us a note. We are happy to implement our proven SEO methods on your website. Until then, Happy Optimizing!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.