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How to Write a Meta Title & Meta Description

29.03.2022, 9m

When it comes to ranking as high as possible in Google’s search results, creating high-quality content and having a user-friendly website aren’t the only things that will help you to promote your online shop. The so-called meta tags - meta title and meta description - have a great impact on your website in terms of ranking and click rates as well.

What are meta tags all about and what should you pay attention to when creating them? How do they affect your website’s traffic? In this article you’ll learn everything you should know about meta tags and how to use them efficiently to promote your online shop.

What are Meta Tags and why do I need them?

Meta Title and Meta Description tags are text snippets that describe the content of the webpage. The text isn’t shown on the page itself, but in the HTML code of your page.

This is what a meta title looks like, for example:

<title> This is the meta title of this page </title>

And here is an example of a meta description:

<meta name = "description" content = "This is the meta description of the page. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ...">

Although these types of tags are “invisible” to users, they are very visible (and useful) to search engines.

To sum up: when talking about meta tags, we refer to some kind of short "teasers" or previews of a page. These elements are shown in the search results page in Google and other search engines.

Meta_tags-example

However, a meta title is not the same thing as the H1 heading on your website.

The headline is visible to users and is supposed to tell them what a page is about. The Meta Title, on the other hand, is created to encourage users to click on the link displayed in the search results.

Why are meta tags important in e‑commerce?

Firstly, meta tags are so important in e-commerce because, thanks to them, users know what to expect after clicking on a link. Meta tags should give users insights into what they’ll see once they click on a link and, therefore, provide a better user experience. Good meta titles and meta descriptions can significantly boost your click-through rate.

lines of meta code

Source: Shutterstock.com/photovibes

What is the SEO impact of meta tags?

Since tags, as we already mentioned, are visible to search engines, one might assume that both meta titles and meta descriptions can impact rankings in search engines. However, this is only partially true.

A meta title, for example, influences your website’s ranking as Google takes this factor into account when determining the position of websites in the SERPs.

That is why we recommend you to include a keyword in the meta title that has been frequently used when users searched for your online shop or products.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, have played a similar role in terms of SEO. However, since 2009, Google no longer considers this element when determining its rankings.

Google came to this decision as many website operators took advantage of this and included as many keywords as possible in the meta description.

Make sure to avoid spamming yours. Instead, try to make it as user-friendly as possible. After all, your main goal is to inspire potential customers to visit to your website, isn’t it?

keywords to improve SEO SEA whitepaper

What makes a good Meta Title & Meta Description?

Let’s see what goes into creating a good meta title and meta description. Here are some tips:

The Meta Title

As already mentioned, your meta titles should, on the one hand, improve your position in the search results and, at the same time, encourage users to click on the link. But how can you actually achieve this goal?

  • Use a relevant keyword - preferably right at the beginning. This is particularly important since meta titles have a finite length (more on that later in this article). Otherwise, if it's too long, you risk your meta title getting "cut off" and not fully shown in search results.

  • Make sure the title really matches the content of the respective page. Keep in mind that the content of the page is supposed to answer, for example, the question asked in the meta title or solve a problem that a potential customer might have.

  • Use a CTA (“call to action”) when appropriate. Words like “download”, “check”, “learn”, “select”, “discover” encourage users to take action and increase the likelihood of them actually clicking on the link.

  • Try to be creative. Present aspects that differentiate your pages from those of your competition. Attractive prices or discounts? The latest collection? Fast delivery? Benefits will encourage customers to choose your page.

  • Experiment with emoticons. More and more website operators use emojis in their meta titles. This tactic can be helpful to attract the attention of potential clients—but make sure you don't overdo it—the text should still remain the most important element of the title.

The meta description

This meta tag doesn't affect your ranking in search results. Therefore, the needs of your potential customers should be the main thing to consider when creating this element.

Here are some tips that can help you get their attention:

  • Try to offer added value to potential customers. Remember that the meta description has a specific (and very important!) aim. Try to inform them as precisely and in as much detail as possible.

  • Answer any questions users might have and describe what they will find on the page. For example, use names of popular brands you sell, inform users about the availability of certain products in stock or indicate shipping costs. This way, potential customers know what to expect.

  • Use keywords. Yes, we are actually advising you to include keywords in your meta description, even if they don't have that much impact on your ranking. However, whenever users look for a particular word or phrase in Google, it will be highlighted in bold in your description if it includes the same word. This will attract the attention of potential customers and convince them that the page has exactly what they’re looking for.

  • Try to be both precise and creative at the same time. Just like the meta title, the meta description is supposed to convince potential clients that clicking on the link will bring them real benefits and help them find what they’re looking for. Therefore, make sure to use phrases with positive connotations such as "free shipping", "available", "low-priced", "latest collection", "trendy accessories" etc.

  • Appeal to the user's emotions and senses. Using phrases like "soft material", "comfortable shoes", "intense flavour", "smooth surface" etc. will arouse the interest of potential customers and even encourage them to make a purchase in your online shop.

  • Describe and provide a summary of what users will find on your page. Want to create a meta description for a blog article? Provide potential customers with part of the solution to their problem in your meta description.

    If your online shops sells furniture, for example, write a blog article about five ideas for furnishing a bedroom and hint one of these ideas in the description for search engines. However, don’t forget to make it obvious that more information or tips are waiting for them when they click on the link to your page.

Recommended Reading: Creating a blog to help your business grow

What to avoid when creating meta tags?

In order to write effective meta tags, it really pays to know the most common mistakes made in these elements. For one, you should definitely avoid inserting keywords randomly into the title and description.

Focus first and foremost on the needs of your potential customers, not on those of the search engine.

Try to find out what problems your target audience is facing, what they are looking for and create quality content based on what you find during your research.

Another common mistake is duplicating titles and descriptions. Many website operators assume that it‘s sufficient to create tags (especially the meta description) only for the homepage of their website. They then simply copy the tags into the HTML code of all of their individual subpages.

Intro to Structured Data whitepaper

Remember that users usually aren’t searching explicitly for your shop or don’t just want to visit the home page. Most of the time, interested users are looking for specific products or product categories, for example.

As you can see, it is important that the meta title and description of each subpage are as unique as possible as they provide customers with specific information about a particular product category, for example.

Another mistake many website operators make is somewhat related to our previous point. Unfortunately, many website operators tend to write titles and descriptions that don’t actually match the content of the page.

Are you promising users something they won't actually find after clicking on the link? If you do this, you are very likely to lose a lot of potential customers. If users don’t end up staying very long on your page, this could negatively impact your ranking for that search term.

Others simply omit the meta description altogether or publish an incomplete description.

In fact, if you don't offer a description for your website’s pages, this can negatively impact you website’s traffic and thus, lead to less conversions.

Recommended Reading:
How to Increase Conversions for Your Online Shop with the Perfect Form

What happens if I don't create my own meta description?

Don’t worry, if you haven’t created a meta description, Google won’t show an empty space where your meta description was supposed to be.

In this case, Google will automatically generate a description based on the content of the linked page.

However, this shouldn’t lead you to believe that you don’t need to write your own meta description then.

Although this may sound like a very convenient and clever solution at first, handing over this responsibility to an algorithm can do more harm than good.

developers working on code

Source: Shutterstock.com/Pressmaster

It is very likely that Google selects phrases that don’t fully reflect the actual content of your page. What is more, it is perfectly possible that Google’s algorithm takes things out of context and thereby creates a cryptic text to describe your page.

With an automated meta description you risk losing customers and even the reliability of your entire company. Instead, an automated description may not even contain relevant information, nor offer users any added value.

Furthermore, an auto-generated description can be too long and therefore be cut-off, which will add to the negative impression. All of this will discourage users from visiting your online shop.

Therefore, we recommend you to write your own meta description instead.

Recommended Reading:
How to Write Great Product Descriptions (with Examples)

How long should meta tags be?

As we already mentioned, meta titles or descriptions that are too long, will be cut off by Google. This can cause users to miss the most important information and decide not to visit a page.

When it comes to meta titles and descriptions, the general rule is: the shorter, the better. To ensure that the content you create appears in the search results in the desired form, it is worth using tools such as the Sistrix Snippet Generator, SERPsim or Portent's SERP Preview Tool before publishing.

This is important as the length of the tags displayed by Google can vary. Check the preview of the meta title and description for both the web and mobile version as well. Many of these tools often calculate the length of your texts based on pixels rather than characters, which is more accurate.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, many website operators as well as online shop owners still pay too little attention to meta tags and treat them as an annoying obligation or - even worse - as an insignificant element.

However, by adding meta tags to the HTML code of your online shop's website pages, you will not only increase your traffic, but also improve your conversion rate.

As we have pointed out, meta titles and meta descriptions are not just important in terms of SEO and your website’s ranking in Google. If written resourcefully and persuasively, they can convince potential customers that it is worth their while to buy from your shop.


Remember, mobile has taken over desktop as the leading device for online  shopping. Download our free whitepaper about boosting conversion rates through  mobile designto learn how you can improve the mobile experience for your shop’s  visitors.


This article was translated and adapted from an article on our Polish blog: Czym są znaczniki meta title i meta description i jak je pisać?