The aim of this blog article is to help you better understand the following key terms in relation to how your website appears in search result listings. I’m sure everyone is familiar with Google’s search results page, where 10 results per page are displayed in order of how closely they are related to your search. Each result on a search page is formatted to show you three things that are related to the webpage that it directs you to.
- The title of the webpage
- The description of the webpage
- The URL (address) of the webpage
These results are displayed slightly differently between Google and Bing (as Bing can’t be seen to copy Google’s style), but the colours and information displayed are exactly the same. Why are they the same? Because the job of a search engine is to take this information that should be present on the actual web page and display it in their results. This information is known as the meta data of the webpage and it refers to the page title and page description (there is a meta keywords tag that is a part of the meta data, but it is not used to display any information in the search results).
It is important to have these elements optimised as it will be the first thing a search engine user sees and clicks on before arriving at your webpage. Ensuring that the keyphrases are present throughout these three items will make the link more inviting and relevant.
1. The Title Tag
Use keywords that relate to the content of your page. I usually make exceptions for the home page as this is the link between the rest of your site. The keyphrase should be one of the first words in the title.
A few tips for your title tag:
- Keep it less than 70 characters (including spaces)
- Put your keyphrase towards the front
- Make sure the titles are unique on each of your pages
- If using multiple keyphrases, separate them with a hyphen or a pipeline ( – or | )
2. The Meta Description
The description is sometimes overlooked in importance. Whilst it doesn’t have a huge impact on the way your rankings will go, I do believe it is extremely helpful. Why is the description important? Let’s have a look at the format of the search result below:
Tips for the description
- Fit the description of the page in less than 140 characters, any more and it will get cut off
- Make your description descriptive and use normal language as if you were talking to someone or selling the page
- Keep your keyphrases towards the front to help tie in with your title
3. The URL Address of your page
I find this is one of the most overlooked aspects of a page. When creating a website, people often forget to put any thought into what the actual page address is going to be. Having your keyphrases in the URL address of the page not only helps people see what the page will be about, but the search engines will highlight it in the results page as well! If you search for ‘upcoming movies’ the following result will probably come up –
Tips for the URL
- Include the keyphrase that is the main focus of the page
- Separate words with a hyphen ( – ) and not with an underscore ( _ according to Google they actually view underscores as connectors and not separators)
- Feel free to add more words to make it a bit more descriptive and relevant, for example the above page could have been /upcoming-movies-2012
The above result is a great example of what to aim for in a search result – a trifecta of keyphrases appearing in one result. Ensuring your search result listing is complete and relevant will help the search engines place it in relevant results.
How do your search result listings look? Do you agree with these meta optimisations?
If you need help optimising your website or would like more information about our search engine optimisation (SEO) packages, please speak to one of our consultants or visit the Melbourne IT website for more details.