The next post in our How-to SEO Tutorial series covers how to create effective title and description templates. (If you missed other posts in the series, we covered SEO Basics and Analytics and Tracking Set Up.) Title and descriptions are the bits of html code on your website that help your readers (and Google) make sense of your web pages. You’ll create a title tag and description template to use on all of your web pages. First up, a template for title tags.
Title and description tags play a huge role in SEO. When we work with clients, we start optimization with the title and description tags because of their impact. When you reinforce the title and descriptions with keywords that you want to rank for, it helps Google easily determine what your site is about, which helps rankings. Focusing only on titles and descriptions helps your SEO. Some choose to stop their optimization efforts here, and others plan to do more advanced optimization. If you’re interested in what’s beyond this step, take a look at our next post in the series on Advanced SEO.
Title Tag Template
Title tags are an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page, and they’re important for usability, SEO and social sharing. When you search for a topic, the title tags are the clickable headlines displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). Let’s create a title tag template. You’ll need each of the following in your title tag template:
- Boilerplate: This portion of the title tag template is typically your company name and includes the broad keyword you select in the next bullet.
For example: Bill’s Denver Plumbing Company
In this example, Bill’s Plumbing Company is the company name and Denver is the broad keyword.
- Broad keyword: You’ll select a broad keyword that goes on every page. This is an ambitious, most-searched keyword. That way you can target more specific keywords on individual pages. For example, if you have separate pages for different locations, you’d add a specific word to the title tag for that page. Using the example from above, Bill’s Plumbing Company’s website has an Aurora page that would add another location to the title tag.
For example: Bill’s Denver Plumbing Company Aurora
- Separator: Add a pipe, colon, dash, etc. as a separator between two parts in your title tag. For example, add a colon, bar or a dash between the company name and description. Here is Acquire’s title tag on the home page:
Acquire Internet Marketing: Longmont SEO Company
Using our Bill’s Plumbing Company example:
Bill’s Denver Plumbing Company | Aurora
- Variable: This is what makes each title tag/description unique and usually relates to the page/post title.
For example, Bill’s Denver Plumbing Company | Blog | Winter Plumbing Repairs
- Length: Length for a title can’t exceed 70 characters. You want to use up the available real estate and not skimp on your title characters. We recommend making your template about 40 characters for the title tag (without the variable).
The description is a short summary of the contents of your page for users and search engines. It provides a reason for readers to go to your page. The maximum length is 160 characters, but we recommend at least 130 characters for the description. Basically, you want to describe the contents of your page. Follow the same strategy you used for title tags to create your description template. Include the boilerplate, separator and variable.
Stuck on your description? Research your competitors to see what they include. Think about your company’s value statement, searcher satisfaction, mission statement and your call to action for potential customers searching for you. These can help you create a description. Sometimes it helps to write a few options to see which you like best.
Do a final length check of your title tag and description before you move to the next step. A helpful tool to help measure your title tag and description length is https://wordcounter.net/character-count.
Title and Description Template Integration
Once you’ve created a template and checked your character counts, you’re ready to add title tags and descriptions to your site’s pages. You’ll update each web page’s title tag and description. With posts/blogs, titles and descriptions can be too long, so make sure you check the length. Also, note the date that you updated title tags and descriptions so you can monitor ranking progress.
Another important factor as you update your site—title tags should not be duplicates. The more duplicate title tags and site content, the worse those pages will rank. You need unique title tags for each page to help your reader and search engines with your sites’ purpose.
Ready to Create Templates?
How are you feeling about titles and descriptions? Feel confident to create effective title tag and description templates for your website? If not, please reach out with any SEO questions or go ahead and get your FREE SEO Analysis to help your SEO efforts!