Tag Archives: Copywriting

SEO Pro Tips: Best Practices for Meta Descriptions

Last week, we explored the art of perfecting title tags for SEO dominance. This week, we’ll explore another vital meta tag: the meta description.

The meta description is the text that appears below the link in SERPs, as below:

Meta descriptions should be about 135 – 160 characters long, although Google has tested longer snippets. Any time quotes are used in the meta description, Google cuts the text off. To prevent meta descriptions from being cut off, it’s best to remove all non-alphanumeric characters.

Google uses meta descriptions to pull preview snippets on SERPs and return results when searchers use advanced search operators to match meta tag content, but unlike title tags, meta descriptions do not directly influence Google’s ranking algorithms for normal web search since meta description keywords are not ranked.

While meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, they do indirectly impact it. The prominence of meta descriptions in SERPs makes them a very valuable UX component and a tool for enticing searchers. While keywords do not affect ranking, they are bolded in the meta-description, which attracts the eye and can help influence a searcher’s decision to click. Thus the use of keywords in meta descriptions can be beneficial to increasing Click Through Rate (CTR). The Click-Through-Rate is the ratio of searchers who click on a page compared to how many searchers see it. CTR is highly valued in search rankings. Since meta descriptions are one of the first things that a searcher will see, they can influence them to click, increasing CTR and boosting SEO.

The ideal meta description articulates the value proposition which a company or web page offers in a precise way while taking into consideration the competition that the page is up against in SERPs. It assumes an active voice and includes a call to action. Web developers can enrich a meta description by using schema markups like star ratings, customer ratings, or product information, to increase the appeal. See below for example:

Image via Google Support

Sometimes meta descriptions are unnecessary. Moz advises if a page is targeting between one and three high volume search terms or phrases, it’s best to write a meta description targeting users performing those searches. If the web page is targeting long-tail traffic (three or more keywords, like a blog with hundreds of entries), it may be best to let the search engines extract the relevant text from the site since they will pull text specifically targeting the user’s search. A blog might be targeting one audience in their keywords, but have content on so many topics, they can be found through any number of search terms. A meta description specified for a page with a lot of content may detract from the relevance that the search engine can create organically by pulling a text description from the page which is relevant to the specific search.

Like title tags, repeating meta descriptions or making them incomprehensible will result in penalization from Google. Meta descriptions can be tricky since they are longer and a bad meta description can be worse than none at all. With the right title tags and website content, meta descriptions can be a major UX tool to drive traffic to a web page.

SEO Pro Tips: Perfecting the Title Tag

Over 100 billion searches per month are made on Google worldwide. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) has become one of the top marketing disciplines for anyone trying to drive web page traffic and digital revenue.

Title tags are one of the most important facets of SEO. Title tags are the titles of web pages that display in search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the clickable headline for a given result. They are the most obvious element in a search result and are pulled to the forefront of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). They display as below:

Social networks use title tags to determine what to display in the link preview when you share a page:

Title tags are extremely important for SEO, social sharing, and UX. They are one of the major on-page SEO elements. Keywords in title tags will factor heavily into a web page’s rank in any keyword-based search query.

Below find some of the best practices for crafting the perfect title tag.

KEYWORD EFFECTIVELY: Since title tags have a direct affect on SEO, effective keywording is crucial. Putting important keywords in the front of the title tag will increase SEO rankings, while keywords and search phrases at the end of the title tag will be less of a factor. For this very reason, it is best to put a company or website name at the end of the title tag, unless that name is an important keyword phrase. Keyword stuffing, or overloading keywords without making sense, will result in penalization. Ultimately, keywording effectively means writing clearly to an intended audience while factoring in important search phrases.

OPTIMIZING LENGTH: Title tags are not measured by length, but by a 600-pixel limit. Pixels do not equate to characters since certain letters require more pixels to compose than others. 600 pixels generally equate to about 50-60 characters. Measuring pixels can be made easy with this pixel length measurement tool by Search Wilderness.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: Statistics show 48% of marketers worldwide identified keyword/phrase research as the most effective SEO tactic. Effective research means honing in on your audience and enacting relevant keyword searches to observe the organic search competition. It is also important to note the inorganic competition: promoted ads for web pages that are boosted to the top of searches by Google AdWords.

Having a solid understanding of what a web page is up against in search engines helps web developers optimize their pages to stand out in the face of the competition. Since the competition and search rankings are constantly changing, research is an ongoing process. 34% of marketers cite frequent website updates as a key to their success.

PIPES “|”: Pipes can be used to punctuate and divide sentiments while minimizing punctuation and word count. See below for an example:

As with any copywriting, writing for an audience is crucial. Since the Title Tag is often the first thing a search user will see about your website, it is ultimately very important that it clearly communicates the subject of the web page and entices the intended searcher. Effective title tags are the first step on the way to SEO dominance.

Stay tuned for next time when we explore how to write an effective meta description!

A Guide to Promotional Writing Part 4: Attract Traffic With Compelling Website Copy

The Mystic Media Blog will be devoting our expertise into a five-part series of articles detailing the ins and outs of Promotional Writing. The series will cover several topics, including general techniques, suggested processespress releases, , website copy writing, and social media. Last week, we covered how to generate publicity by writing an effective press release.

Website copywriting is perhaps the most common form of promotional writing. The internet is an international hub for both information and e-commerce. Websites are created everyday to advertise and offer services, products, and information. They can be created for businesses, blogs, applications, social media, contests, specific products, and more. All websites share one common goal: attract the target audience. Whether a website is attempting to sell something or simply relay valuable information, the goal is to attract as many relevant viewers to the site as possible and entice them with effective copy writing. In this article, we will detail techniques for achieving this goal.

Know the Ideal Reader

As with any piece of promotional writing, it’s crucial to know the target audience before starting. The ideal reader should feel the copywriting was crafted specifically for them. Make an outline describing the ideal reader. Will the content of the site appeal specifically to men or women? What industry might this person work in? What is their socio-economic class? What degree of education did they receive? What brought them to the site?

Once all these questions are answered, elaborate on the relevance. A person’s line of business would affect the type of humor you’d consider writing into the copy. Their level of education would affect whether the writing is designed to appease a standard for intelligent writing, or to simply be clear and understandable to the common man.

Upon becoming familiar with the Ideal Reader, outline the Desired Action Response. Would the ideal response be an immediate purchase? Would it be to inquire more about the services outlined in the copy? Is the copy intended to lead the reader elsewhere on the site, perhaps to the services section or pricing?

Every sentence should be contribute to generating the Desired Action Response. At the end of any given page should be a Call-to-Action making the Desired Action Response one click away.

Detail Features and Translate to Benefits

If the copy is advertising a product or service, the main purpose of the piece will be to accurately detail the features of the product or service and translate them into benefits. Before writing, finalize the research and create a full list of features and specifications regarding the product or service.

We touched upon the process of translating features to benefits in Part 2 of our Promotional Writing Series: Perfecting the Method, but it’s too important to skip over in this article. Once you’ve written out the features, it’s vital to translate them into benefits.

Readers are selfish. People don’t read web pages out of consideration for the writer, they read things they think will be relevant to them. Instead of simply listing the features of a product or service, explicitly link them to benefits which make it easy for the reader to imagine how the product or service could enrich their lives.

The research is often the meat and bones of the piece. Once all necessary information is detailed, the rest is easy.

Avoid Hyperbolic Description

One of the most commonly made mistakes in copywriting is overselling. Copywriters will dress up the product or service they are representing with an abundance of hyperbolic adjectives. Writers are eager to refer to a product as “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” or a “breakthrough” because it makes their job easier. Readers today are too smart to be persuaded by hyperbolic description. They want the facts. If you save them time by giving it to them straight, they are more likely to believe in what is written about the product.

Check out this great article on avoiding meaningless marketing jargon.

Optimize for Google

Google is a direct path to information. On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year. Optimizing copy for Google is vital to attracting visitors searching for the product, solution, or information offered on your website.

The first step toward SEO is to identify keywords pertaining to the subject of the copy. The best way to find keywords is to rely on your intuition and search what anyone would search if they were looking for the subject of your copy. Through Google searching, anyone can also find the top competitors and identify what keywords they are using to attract visitors. Once the key search terms have been identified, ensure they are sprinkled in throughout the copy. Remember, it’s not worth it to sacrifice the integrity of the copy with keyword stacking. As with most aspects of life, a healthy balance is crucial.

Keywords aren’t the only factor which goes into SEO. It’s also important to write an attention-grabbing headline and effective meta data. More than anything, the writer must ensure that the content itself is relevant and informative to the ideal reader.

For more on SEO, check out this great informative article.

Presentation Is King

Short, concise paragraphs with direct points entice readers. Consider ways of spacing out copy to make writing as consumable as possible. Readers love lists and paragraph headings because they allow them the privilege of deciphering what is relevant to them and choosing what to read.

Next week, we’ll conclude our Promotional Writing series with an entry on writing for Social Media. Stay tuned!

At Mystic Media, our vast experience in strategic marketing and application development has given us expertise on all formats of promotional writing: from copy writing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, web design, and more. Learn more by clicking here or contacting us by phone at 801.994.6815