Title tags and meta descriptions used to rule the search engine optimisation (SEO) world. In the early days of public internet, marketers used to fool search engines by spamming keywords in them. By the late 1990s, search engines wised up to their tricks and devalued the importance of tags and metas. However, over the last decade, title tags and meta descriptions have been back in vogue – mainly because Google is believed to have included them as part of its 200 ranking signals.
Title tags and meta descriptions can greatly impact SEO and click-through rates. Image courtesy of Pixabay
What is a title tag?
A title tag is an HTML and text element which provides the topic and theme of a web page. It is critical for SEO purposes as well as from a user experience perspective. Title tags are viewed to have the best ROI in relation to the effort owing to the potential rewards.
The title tag is displayed in two key locations:
(i) Search result pages: the title of website URLs are based on title tags on the pages displayed
(ii) Browser header: on the header/tab on browsers. This is very useful when users have multiple opened tabs and are switching between them.
Title tags are vital from an SEO perspective as it helps search engines broadly analyse and identify the subject of the pages they are analysing. This information is fed into their algorithm and helps in the eventual ranking.
Experienced SEO consultants advise that title tags should contain relevant keywords and a catchy headline to attract click-throughs.
What is a meta description?
A meta description is the most powerful click-through element in search results. A well-written description plays a large role in convincing users to visit your website. Some link SEO consultants argue that meta descriptions do not contribute to ranking algorithms. However, their continued use by search engines suggests otherwise.