Originally published in “The Buzz” — bizbuzzcontent’s newsletter. To get this content delivered to your inbox a month early, sign up here.
Ever heard of curb appeal? It’s the term coined for the attractiveness of a house from the street. Curb appeal leads to that promise of what might be inside, and instills a sense of wonder in passersby.
The Web’s search results are a prime location for which your website needs to grab the attention of passersby.
The first thing Web searchers see in the results is a snippet that summarizes what they can expect if they click through to your site (like the following example). This is your website’s curb appeal.
And, these snippets are generated from your Web page’s Meta tags — the code on your page that tells the search engine and potential visitors what your page is about.
So why on earth would you allow the front door to your website to look like an old, broken-down shack?
Yet, that’s exactly what happens when you don’t put the time into creating titles and descriptions for your Meta tags that honor what the page is about. It wastes precious real estate — the search results.
When you put focus into your Meta info, you’re increasing the chance that Web users will click through to your website from the search results. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of those users, and stand out amongst the other results on the page, so make it count.
Here are a few things to consider …
Get to know how search engine snippets work.
This includes Google’s recommendations for creating titles and descriptions, which make up the Meta information section of code on your Web page.
Give Web searchers a reason to click through.
Make your title and description easy to understand (meaning visitors will know what to expect when they click through) by using keywords that the page is about. This article I wrote for Bruce Clay’s website a few years back has some tips that still hold true for creating Meta tags.
Be mindful of the new character count for Title tags.
With Google’s redesign, research coming from Moz suggests we should now consider shortening the character count for titles from 70 characters to 55 characters to make sure they aren’t cut off in the search results.
(Description tags should be no more than 156 characters, including spaces.)
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool also has some great ways to test how the SERP snippet will look, and they’ve also come out with research on how the snippets render based on pixels in Google’s new design.
Don’t forget about other things you can do to dress up your snippets.
With “rich snippets,” you can create more engaging, more useful snippets, and give Web searchers more reasons to interact with your website.
As you can see, being as meticulous with your Meta information as you are with the content you create on your website can go a long way in building an inviting experience for Web searchers looking for products or services such as yours.
And, keep in mind that no matter how much work you put into it, sometimes search engines will create a title they think is more relevant to the search. Regardless, it’s always best to be prepared.
So go on, and boost your website’s curb appeal with strategic Meta tags!
We revisited Meta info in a later post, which features updates to certain details in this post.
Mike Cohn says
Thanks for this post, Jessica. I try hard to blog regularly, but I’m really lazy about adding good metadata or even any metadata at all. Your post will give me more motivation to pay attention. Also, knowing that titles should be no more than 55 characters now will be helpful. Wasn’t that a Sammy Hagar song, though? “I Can’t Meta in 55”?