When you enter a search query in a search engine, you’ll be met with a multitude of results across many search engine result pages (SERPs). Most search engines have a similar results structure. The results usually contain a bold title link (the title of a search result that links to a webpage) above a snippet (the description or summary part of the search result).
As you learned previously, Google automatically generates these results based on a page’s webpage title element and either its meta description or a relevant section of the page’s visible text. As a reminder, a webpage title element provides the user and search engine with a page’s topic. A meta description provides the search engines a summary of what the page is about.
This reading provides some best practices for influencing title links and snippets to help you capture your desired audience.
Influence your title links
Title links provide users with quick insights into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. They are often the primary piece of information people use to decide which result to click on.
Google generates title links from both the content of a webpage and references to it that appear on the web. While Google automatically determines these title links, you can influence them and increase their effectiveness by following these best practices:
- Accurately describe each page’s content in your title elements.
- Write descriptive but concise titles.
- Make sure your titles read naturally.
- Create unique titles for each page.
- Give each page’s main headline greater visual weight and prominence.
- Use text in your title elements that has no relation to the content on the page.
- Use default or vague text in your titles, like “Home,” “Untitled,” or “New Page 1.”
- Use a single title in all title elements across your site’s pages.
- Make your titles too lengthy or wordy.
- Use repeated or boilerplate text in your titles.
- Stuff unneeded or excessive keywords into your titles.
Control your snippets by creating quality meta descriptions
Google sometimes uses the meta description from a webpage to generate a snippet in search results. A meta description informs and interests users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. It can help convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for. Follow these best practices to write effective meta descriptions:
- Accurately summarize the page’s content.
- Include all information users need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.
- Create unique descriptions for each page on your site.
- Write a meta description that has no relation to the content on the page.
- Use generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about women’s clothing.”
- Fill the description with too many keywords.
- Copy and paste the entire content of the webpage into the meta description tag.
- Use a single meta description across all of your site’s pages.
Effective title links and snippets can encourage people to click on the link to your webpage. When you follow the best practices described in this reading and approach crafting webpage title elements and meta descriptions thoughtfully, you can help get your brand noticed.