International SEO: title tags
and meta descriptions

In our previous post on International SEO, we discussed the importance of keywords in page content. Let’s now have a closer look at how to best use keywords in title tags and meta descriptions.

 

What are title tags and meta descriptions?

Title tags and meta descriptions are the text snippets that appear in organic (not paid) search results.

Title tags tell search engines and potential visitors what a particular page on your website is about, ideally using 50 to 60 characters including spaces. These should be chosen carefully.

Title tags are added to the <head> section of HTML code:

 

<title>Example</title>

 

Alternatively, if you use an SEO plug-in, such as Yoast, you can add a title and preview what it will look like on a SERP.

 

Some experts recommend using your primary keyword first, followed by the secondary if you have space, and then your brand name.  It is important to note that the title tag also appears in the tab of the browser, so make sure it’s what you want your website visitors to see at the top of their screen!

Meta descriptions are brief summaries of the page, providing context or giving more detail to the title tag. They shouldn’t be longer than 155 characters, as they are likely to be truncated otherwise. Although meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, they can influence click-through rates – which is a ranking factor. They look like this in HTML:

 

<meta name=”description” content=”Example“>

 

Your main keywords should also appear in the meta description, naturally weaved into the text.

 

 

Title tags and meta descriptions: your adverts on a SERP

Potential visitors decide whether this is the page they are looking for based on meta descriptions, so treat them as ads; they should be compelling, relevant, and accurate. Even if the searcher clicks on the result, they might leave immediately if the page is not what they were looking for, and that’s obviously bad for your SEO.

It’s recommended that meta descriptions include a call to action, and don’t include non-alphanumeric characters since they could get cut off. Just as with keywords, your title tags and meta descriptions should be different for each page.

 

We hope this series on SEO has been useful!

@Translators, if SEO has sparked your interest, there are several services that you can offer, together or separately: SEO copywriting, SEO translation, and keyword research are the main ones. Look out for SEO courses and workshops, such as the ones organised by ProZ or ITI’s regional groups.

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