Every page online has two things that both web browsers and search engines will look at in order to help determine a page’s topic and they will also pass this information directly on to the user in most cases. These are the title tag and the description meta tag. They all appear in the head of an online document and this is what they look like:
The Title Tag
Don’t create things and leave them nameless! When a search engine displays a search engine results page (SERP) to the user, it will usually use the title tag as the link to the page itself. A lot of search engines will also bold searched-for keywords in this title tag. For example: if you’re page’s title tag is this…
…and someone searches for “Kansas City Cup Cakes.” When you pop up, the actual text in your link will look like this:
Bitty Cakes – Fresh Baked Cup Cakes in Kansas City.
This helps alert users to the topicality of your page and draws their eye.
The title tag is also where web browsers get the text to show in the bar at the top of the window or tab. All of these factors make title tags a great place to invest some copy writing time and refine your site’s outgoing message.
The meta description works in a very similar manner to the title tag. The meta description is also displayed on SERPs to represent your page and gets the searched-for keywords bolded, once again alerting users to the topicality of your page and drawing their eye.
Many websites are missing these factors completely or worse, they implement a single page title and description site-wide. Why is this worse? If these elements are missing, a search engine will pull information directly from your page and display that in the SERP, so at least you get a title and description that have something to do with the unique information that page contains. So either fill out the info for individual pages or leave it blank and hope the engines pull something topical to display to potential users.
Leaving these either of these tools unused is like turning down free advertising money. This is what users will see anywhere you rank, so be sure to invest some time here when you’re building out your site.