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Management

How to write for SEO (and why it matters)

06/08/2018
By Simon Dell
SEO remains a necessary part of consumer marketing and writing for search-engine optimisation starts with a strong page title and description. SIMON DELL reports.

Your website’s page title and description can have a big effect on your SEO. That’s why it’s important to learn the basics of these marketing tactics so you can apply them for better rankings and overall success in your business’ search results.

First, let’s start with the title. To set your page title, you need to edit your title tag.

What’s a title tag?

The title tag is the part of the HTML code that defines the official title of the webpage. It is what shows up as the clickable headline for search-engine results. In the Google result below, the large blue headline is the page title.

A title tag is important for a few reasons – firstly, it should be an accurate description of the page content that tells Google what your page is about so the search engine can include it in relevant search queries; secondly, a title tag tells users what to expect from your page. When catchy and relevant, title tags can increase page conversions.

CTR

The CTR or click-through rate is an essential part of effective SEO. This is especially true with your page title. Google uses CTR to determine how relevant your content is to the searcher. A higher CTR will bring you a higher ranking and thus even more clicks and a low CTR will do the opposite. In addition, the higher your CTR then the higher your sales or other back-end conversions will be, naturally. This combination makes it one of the most important parts of your SEO arsenal.

Write a good page title

"If most of your competitors are putting the focus keyword at the beginning, consider adding one or two words beforehand to ensure your title stands out"

Always include your focus keyword in your title. The focus keyword is the search term that most appeals to your page. This is how Google knows what your page is about and it sharply increases your chances of ranking higher.

You need your title to catch attention immediately. After all, you are competing with other sites who are sometimes using the same keywords to get people to visit their pages. It can be helpful to put your keyword at the beginning of the title but, if most of your competitors are putting the focus keyword at the beginning as well, consider adding one or two words beforehand to ensure your title stands out.

Optimal length

Google displays search-engine results pages (SERPs) in three different modes: wide screen, smaller screen and mobile. The number of search results per page depends upon which of these three views Google is using.

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Titles typically max out at 50–60 characters but they may cut off at different lengths depending on the view. There is no set number of characters that is the optimal length – Google might show more of the letter ‘i’ than the letter ‘w’ due to the pixel width, for example – so it is recommended to keep titles under 55 characters. For best results, manually review all titles to make sure you’re getting the proper information to appear in the right views.

Other title best practices

Be sure to include the keyword or main theme in the first half of your titles, just in case the second half gets cut off, again due to the screen size or responsive design trimming the title. It might be tempting to leave out your brand name to save space but Google actually prefers that you include it. If you don’t, Google might change your title for you down the road, causing confusion and putting a dent in your rankings and traffic.

As with any marketing, constantly test the results – test different titles and see which ones are driving more clicks to your practice.

Understanding meta descriptions

Now it’s time for the meta description. This is the portion of text that appears beneath your title in SERPs. It’s typically a few lines long.

User in mind

Always write meta descriptions for people, not for search engines. Meta descriptions don’t directly determine page rank but they do affect your CTR and a good CTR means a better ranking. Write descriptions under 160 characters that tell users exactly what they can expect and include a clear call to action.

SEO remains a necessary part of any online marketing strategy. Just as a website needs good and relevant content, it also needs strong titles and meta descriptions to ensure it’s treated accordingly by search engines. Take note of the tactics above to ensure your optometry practice webpage ranks higher in search results and converts more traffic.

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