SEO copywriting can be a tricky line to walk.
You want search engines to find your business so you need to use keywords and phrases to maximum effect. But you don’t want your SEO to come at the price of customer engagement. After all, Google ain’t buying what you’re selling.
Your SEO efforts need to entice and intrigue online customers and then, most importantly, you need to convert.
When it comes to writing meta tags, you’ve got to do all that in 150 characters or fewer.
What are meta tags?
If you’ve never heard of meta tags or you’re going “oh yeah, I totally know about meta tags” and laughing like a crazed baboon, let’s take a step back. Meta tags are part of the HTML coding of your website. They work behind the scenes helping search engines make sense of each webpage.
There are quite a few meta tags but as a creator of online content, you only need to concern yourself with a few of them.
Page title meta tag
The text in the page title tag will appear in a few places: in the browser bar when you view the page, it’s the page name when your site or blog is saved as a bookmark or favourite, and when it’s shared across social media.
The page title also appears in search results and is one of the key pieces of information search engines can use to match you up to online searches.
So important, right? Oh, and you only have 50-60 characters.
Page description meta tag
The text you put in the description meta tag lets you influence the page description shown in search results and when your page is shared. I say influence because you can never guarantee that search engines will use your description or choose the introduction from your page.
Google doesn’t look at the description tag for information about your content but potential readers do, so you have a golden opportunity to turn them into bite-sized chunks of marketing awesome.
Your meta tags need more than keywords
Your title tag and description tags in your meta data have traditionally been used to describe the webpage. Because they appear in search engines and when your page is shared, you have an opportunity to turn them into bite-sized chunks of marketing awesome.
Ideally, your meta tags should contain:
1. An accurate summary of what your webpage or blog post is about
2. A compelling reason to actually click the link and find out more
3. A call to action
And all in just a little more than a tweet. Writing optimised and effective meta tags is a tough gig!
Tips for writing effective tags for your meta data
Don’t waste the first 15 characters of your title with your business name. In fact, only include your business name if that’s the number one way people find you or you have space left. Your meta tags should entice them with a reason, not a business name.
Be accurate about your page content. Misleading search engines and searchers about what your webpage actually contains is bad SEO and it’s bad form. You might get a lot of traffic but they won’t stick around because you fibbed. Nil conversions = FAIL.
Entice people with a benefit. Why should they click? What will your webpage deliver? The main benefit your page offers can be linked in with your page summary using phrases like “Discover how…”, “You will learn….”, “Your ultimate guide to….”.
Include a call to action. If you have a special offer, include it in your page description! “Subscribe for your free cheat sheet” or “Book your copywriting in today!”. If you don’t have an offer, draw on verbs to drive some action.
Put your keywords up front. Search engines pay attention to the first few words of everything so, if you can, pop your keywords up front in your page title tag. While the page description tag doesn’t put out for SEO, any matching keywords are highlighted which reinforces the match to readers.
As with your all your SEO efforts, don’t compromise readability and persuasiveness for SEO.
Show some flair.
Remember that people are presented with many pages of search results and they are looking for a way to differentiate them. Don’t be afraid to show some personality!
Juggling it all in a title tag of 50 characters and a description tag of 150 characters is a big ask. When you take some time to look beyond SEO your meta tags will not only get you found by search engines but also, they will spark a connection from the very first moment.
So go forth and create interesting meta tags that do more than get you found.