How to Write Titles and Meta Descriptions that Get Clicks and Drive Engagement

Well-written titles and meta descriptions can effectively bring more traffic to any website. In short, title tags lead the overall topic of your page in the eyes of search engines, whereas meta descriptions are key for clickthrough from the human being searching for content that's related to your website.

What are title tags and meta descriptions?

The title tag is an HTML/XHTML element that defines the title of your page for search engines — people like us also see title tags just above the URL and at the top of the browser. Similarly, meta descriptions are HTML/XHTML attributes that concisely summarize the contents of each page of each website. Meta descriptions should be between 160-320 words and are displayed beneath the clickable blue links when you search for something and get results.

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Why are they important?

Both title tags and meta descriptions are important for SEO. In fact, according to Moz.com, the world's biggest SEO community, after your content as a whole, title tags are the single most important element of on-page SEO. Titles give users a sense of what's coming and what a page is all about in an instant. If your titles aren't on point, Google will not surface your website in search results. There also won't be much clicking going on (or there will be too much of the wrong kind of clicking, bringing you traffic that doesn't stay).

Meta descriptions are also crucial to SEO. If Google thinks yours are off or are unhelpful to people, they'll simply pull text from other areas on your page and turn that into that page's meta description. Answer the searchers's query well with a meta description and you'll get more qualified leads on your pages. Although Google doesn't reward keywords in meta descriptions, they do reward descriptions that influence people to click into your site — and keep them there when they find what they're looking for.

Here are actionable strategies for titles and meta descriptions that will get you more action and engagement. Create optimized, high-value titles and meta descriptions tailored for your content, and you will drive more targeted traffic right where you want it.

Let's start with four top tips for meta descriptions:

1. Use keywords in meta descriptions

Search engines aren't doling out points for keywords in meta descriptions, but keep in mind that users feel compelled to click only when they see the words that are relevant to their search. The right words associated with their query are part of your search engine results page (SERP) entry that gets clicked on.

Now, refine the meta description for your Weebly site — for every single page.(Remember, in the Editor, the meta description is called the Page Description.)

Standard Pages: Go to the Pages > SEO Settings > Page Description

Product Pages: Go to Store > Products > Product you want to edit > SEO Settings > Page Description

Blog Posts: While editing an individual blog post go to Post Options > Advanced > SEO Post Description

Storefront Pages: Go to Store tab > Storefront > Advanced Options > SEO Page Description

2. Don't obsess about snippet length

You have a maximum of 320 characters for your meta description. Google's longer search snippets, however, focus on pixels, not characters. This means that the perfect meta description might change with the width of the device, hovering between 920 to 1,840 pixels, or 160 and 320 characters.

Another wrinkle is that Google pulls content to generate longer, unique descriptions “as needed." The bottom line: don't worry too much about the ideal number of characters.

3. Avoid duplicate descriptions

Google won't penalize you for duplicate meta descriptions, but for better results, avoid duplicates anyway. It's better to let Google generate unique descriptions based on the query than to use the identical meta description for every page on your site.

Your meta description is a pitch; only a specific, value-added pitch will prompt a click through. All of your meta descriptions together are your means of contouring your brand message and controlling the narrative surrounding your site.

4. Optimize for rich snippets

Rich Snippets refers to structured data markup you can add to their existing HTML so search engines better understand what's on your page. Most search engines, following Google, also use rich snippets markup to enrich search results, so results have more detail and satisfy queries more effectively.

Use this to your advantage by using rich snippets in your meta descriptions. Get details about optimizing for rich snippets and schema.org data here, and check out a complete list of categories of rich snippets here.

5. Choose exciting language

Dull copy is common in meta descriptions — but that's no excuse. Exciting copy that builds expectations distinguishes your link from others and increases CTRs, conversions and traffic. Keep your language appealing by avoiding keyword stuffing and keeping a natural feel and sound. Avoid the meta description that reads like a bot pulled the 50 most important words in the post into one paragraph.

Keep meta descriptions specific and include all details to match the page's content. Use numbers, special characters and symbols, which people love to share. Make sure every piece of copy, including your meta description, is speaking to target customers, addressing pain points. Include a gentle CTA when appropriate.

Don't forget about title tags. Here's some best practices for getting the most of your Weebly site's SEO features.

Optimizing title tags

You should also create a custom title tag for every single post and page. The title tag is the headline that tells everyone from your latest visitor to Google what each page is all about — using one or two crucial keywords within a 50 to 60 character sentence.

Here's how to do that. (Remember, in the Editor, the title tag is called the Page Title.)

From Settings > General > Site Title

Remember, uncheck “Show title on top of your pages" or the system adds your site name onto all title tags.

Standard Pages: Go to the Pages > SEO Settings > Page Title

Product Pages: Go to Store > Products > Product you want to edit > SEO Settings > Page Title

Blog Posts: While you're in the blog post go to Post Options > Advanced > SEO Post Title

Storefront Pages: Go to Store > Storefront > Advanced Options > SEO Page Title

Tying it all together

Anything to do with SEO can feel intimidating if you're not an expert. But you can write effective titles and meta descriptions for your site with or without SEO expertise. If you follow these tips for more clicks and engagement, you'll get a significant payoff for your efforts.