Screenshot showing a websites editor to edit Title and Meta

What are Title Tags?

Title tags are HTML elements that specify the title of a web page. They are prominently displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) and play a significant role in providing both readers and search engine crawlers with a concise and accurate summary of the content found on a web page.

Why are Title Tags Important for Local SEO?

Title tags are instrumental in local SEO for two main reasons:

First, they provide a brief overview of the page content, thereby influencing the searcher’s decision to click on your Google search result listing.

Second, Google uses title tags to understand the topic of your page and match it with user search queries. Thus, a well-crafted title tag can significantly improve your page’s visibility to potential local customers.

Best Practices for Writing Page Titles

Ensure Every Page Title is Unique

Creating unique page titles for each web page is essential. This helps Google understand that each page provides distinct value and should be indexed separately.

Accurately Describe What the Page is About

The title tag should provide an accurate description of the page content. Misleading title tags can cause readers to quickly exit your page, resulting in a high bounce rate. Bounce rate is an important ranking factor for Google – if searchers return to a Google search soon after visiting your site, your webpage may suffer in the search rankings, negatively affecting your future search traffic.

Write for Humans, Not Search Engines

While it’s important to include relevant keywords, your primary focus should be on making the title human-friendly. Avoid keyword stuffing and create a title that resonates with your audience.

Remember, people are clicking on your search results listing – not robots – and people tend to avoid spammy looking links!

Keep Your Page Titles Under 60 Characters

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. Keeping your title under 60 characters ensures that most or all of it will be displayed in search results as longer titles will end abruptly mid-sentence.

Note: The page titles are actually limited by the length of the title in pixels rather than characters – hence the ambiguity in character limit.

While respecting the character limit is important, keep in mind that you do want to maximize your search engine real estate. A short title results in a physically smaller link and may not garner as much attention as one that comes closer to the 60 character limit.

Include the Primary Keyword and Location

Including the primary keyword and your location in the title tag can boost your local SEO. While you can include your brand name if there’s enough space, the focus should be on conveying the core meaning of your page.

Colors on Parade

Use Separators to Break up Text If Needed

Separators such as | and – can be used to break up text in your title tags. This can make the title more readable and visually appealing. Since you are limited to just 60 characters, oftentimes complete sentences are too cumbersome. Don’t be afraid to use short punchy phrases.
Example: Professional Plumbing Repairs – Licensed, Insured | Irmo, SC

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a web page’s content. It appears as a snippet under the title tag in the SERPs and helps users understand what to expect from the page before clicking on it.


Why are Meta Descriptions Important for Local SEO?

Meta descriptions, while not directly influencing SEO rankings, play an essential role in attracting users. An effective meta description can improve click-through rates (CTR), indirectly boosting your search performance. For local SEO, including location-specific information in the meta description can drive more relevant traffic to your website.

Best Practices for Writing Meta Descriptions

Make Each Meta Description Unique

Like title tags, you should use a unique meta description for each page which accurately represents the content on the page.

Keep Your Meta Description Length Under 160 Characters

Google typically truncates meta descriptions after 160 characters. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your descriptions concise and impactful.

Make it Compelling, Descriptive and Accurate

The primary objective of a page’s meta description is to convince the reader to click on your link. Make it catchy and informative, letting users know how your page can help solve their problems or provide the solutions they seek. It’s a good idea to use your target keyword or keyword phrase within the description, as Google will highlight the user’s search terms in bold.

Google recommends avoiding simple lists in favor of complete sentences describing your page’s content:

Bad: Plumber, Plumbing Repairs, Toilets, Sinks, Showers, Clogs

Good: Fast and professional repairs for all plumbing problems including clogged toilets, sinks, and shower drains!

Don’t include any information in your meta description that isn’t on the page – as this can increase your page’s bounce rate.

Include the Primary Keyword and Location

Like title tags, including the primary keyword and location in your meta descriptions can enhance your local SEO efforts. Again, avoid keyword stuffing and only use terms that fit naturally within the description. Google does not use your meta description in its ranking algorithms, so write directly to your audience!

Use a Call to Action If It Makes Sense

A call-to-action in the meta description can encourage users to engage with your content. Phrases like “Learn more”, “Get started”, or “Contact us” can guide users towards taking action.

Google search for "Plumber near me" showing results and the google map pack

Remember, Google Might Not Use Your Meta Description

While Google will crawl your page’s hardcoded meta description tag, it is not uncommon for the Google bots to create their own meta description for your page. In fact, a study conducted by AHREFs in 2020 showed that Google actually rewrites a majority of meta descriptions for web pages!

As generative AI is added to more search results, it wouldn’t be surprising for this trend to continue. Google is trying to create the best possible user experience and by modifying your page’s meta description it can match the presented meta description to a user’s search intent.

How Do I Add A Title Tag or Meta Description to My Page?

Your page’s title tag and meta description are little sections of HTML code that go into the header of your website. However, most people use visual editors like WordPress and may not be familiar with editing HTML tags. Popular SEO plugins, like RankMath and Yoast, offer easy interfaces for adding metadata to your pages – although you can also manually add metadata by editing your WordPress header.php file.

Harnessing the Power of Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are powerful tools for local search engine optimization – but it is important to use them correctly. By following the best practices outlined above, you’ll be able to craft effective, user-friendly, and search engine-optimized descriptions that can significantly boost your online visibility.

Remember, a compelling title tag and meta description can make all the difference between a click to your website and a scroll past it. Of course, generating the most organic traffic requires more than a good meta title and description – for high performing SEO, consider working with a marketing company that specializes in helping small businesses rank higher and start generating more revenue!