For several years, completing your website’s meta data was seen as an integral part of the SEO process. Particularly with regards to the title, description and tags sections, filling these in for every live page on your website was considered to be an attributing factor to a high positioning in the search engines for your chosen keywords.
Whilst today its importance when it comes to SEO isn’t as substantial as it once was – some even say that its SEO value is negligible – the effective completion of your meta data when it comes to your blog posts can be extremely important to their success.
It must be understood that you don’t have to complete meta data for your blog posts to be a success. Just like you don’t have to share them via social media and you don’t have to stick to a strict posting schedule, completing your meta data properly, however, can help your blog posts be as successful as they can possibly be.
The idea here isn’t to think of meta data as part of SEO, but instead, as a marketing tool and for this reason, we’re not going to talk about the tags aspect. Yes, most WordPress plugins will give you the option to fill them in – and it’s good practice to do so – but it’s the meta title and description where, if used properly, you’ll be able to see some potentially huge benefits.
If you’re not particularly au fait with the meta title and description information, they’re the pieces of text you see for each individual website when you type a phrase into a search engine, meaning meta data is often the first interaction a potential customer will have with a company.
As an example, when you type “The Blogshop” into Google, “Business Blogging Services, Blog Writing Services | The Blogshop” is our meta title and “The Blogshop is a dedicated business blogging agency providing tailor made, SEO friendly business blogging services, from SME to enterprise level.” is our meta description.
With this example, we’ve used the meta data as advertising copy. We’ve used it to attract the readers’ attention and provide them with a basic introduction to our company, including what we deliver so they know what to expect when they click through.
And this is exactly what you need to do with your meta data for each and every one of your blog posts. You need to provide information that’s going to make your listing stand out from others on the page. You need to treat it as an advertising resource, thinking of it as something you can utilise to first grab the readers’ attention and then draw them in to your blog post – which is where, as a business, you’ll not only have your customer-focused content, but your calls to action. Your links, your signup boxes and your promotions.
Starting with the meta title, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as it will almost always be your blog post title. As this itself should be as attractive and enticing as it can be, it should be able to be copied word-for-word into your meta title.
The only exception here is if you have a particularly lengthy title. Generally speaking, search engines only show the first 60 characters of the meta title and it’s therefore important that any text you enter here fits in – no one likes to see a title that cuts off mid-word. This shouldn’t mean you have to completely rewrite your blog post title and more often than not, it’s simply a matter of restructuring the wording and potentially omitting a few words that aren’t absolutely necessary.
The meta description, however, can be slightly more tricky.
You have around 160 characters to draw the reader in. You can’t use any more, as you’ll simply be cut off mid-word and you don’t want to use any less, as you want to ensure you fully utilise the characters you have available. You want to refrain from giving away too much information, but you want to provide enough to make the reader interested and perhaps most importantly, you want to feel confident that as a reader, you’d want to click through.
The 160 characters need to be engaging. They need to be informative. They need to be honest. They need to tell the reader what they’re going to be reading about. They need to leave no room for manipulation. In essence, the 160 characters need to act as direct sales copy for the blog post.
And once, as a reader, you’ve clicked through and are on the blog post itself, your expectations should instantly be met, else your work on the meta title and description is potentially going to be wasted.
For traditional SEO purposes, meta data isn’t as useful as it once was and completing the information for SEO is likely to have only a minimal impact on your positioning.
However, completing it for advertising, promotion and even reputation purposes could benefit your blog tremendously, not only helping to improve click-through traffic, but sending visitors who are highly targeted and more likely to convert from top of funnel leads into paying customers.