Search Engine Optimization Company Makes Critical Metadata Error
If this headline were referring to my company, I’d be feeling a little like Lisa below…
Oh crap. This blog post IS about my company.
But don’t worry! I created an SEO crisis on purpose!
I decided to sacrifice my own website ranking on Google to create a round of experiments that would benefit YOU!
When I launched my website earlier this month, I worked really hard on making it look pretty and easy to use. I customized my favorite Squarespace template. I sprinkled my favorite branding elements and headshots throughout the pages. I added newsletter signups, social media icons, and a custom contact form from Honeybook.* Once it looked nothing short of gorgeous, I published that sweet website baby of mine and announced its arrival to the world! 🎉🎉🎉
HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY!!!
But here’s a little lesson from my experiment I need to share with you…
Your website needs to work for you behind the scenes — it can’t just be your virtual arm candy.
When I ran through my website launch process, I wanted to recreate what I thought most people would do when setting up their own site:
Rely on Copy and Paste as my best friends, duplicating page titles and descriptions wherever I could to save time.
Here’s an example of some of the areas where I chose to either:
Copy and paste identical information into multiple boxes OR
Omit “optional” information entirely
I’ll be completely honest here. Even as a copywriter, I sometimes get tired of writing new content for my own business. Filling in all these little title and description boxes feels like piddly work at times. In fact, it almost feels like a waste of time because no one will really see most of this stuff anyway. Right?
Well, not exactly.
Much of this descriptive content (or metadata) is what search engines like Google use to scan your information and decide its relevance to what people are searching for online.
If someone is searching for a wedding planner in Naples and all you copy and pasted into your descriptive sections was your business name or mission statement over and over, they will never find you. Yikes! That’s bad for business!
I am a big fan of time-saving tricks (especially when a major deadline is approaching), but NEVER at the expense of quality or functionality.
Here’s what SEMrush had to say about me using the same titles and descriptions on multiple pages:
Duplicate meta descriptions on different pages mean a lost opportunity to use more relevant keywords. Also, duplicate meta descriptions make it difficult for search engines and users to differentiate between different webpages. It is better to have no meta description at all than to have a duplicate one.
Let me repeat that.
It is better to have no meta description at all than to have a duplicate one.
That reminds me of the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, except in this case, it would be: “if you don’t have unique metadata for each page, don’t add any at all.” 😂😂😂
Okay, so that all makes sense, right? Don’t copy and paste. Cool cool.
But what should you write in those metadata areas?
Don’t worry, friend. I’ve got you!
How to Write an Awesome Meta Title
According to Yoast, the best way to format your website TITLE is like this:
[ your MVP keyword - your business or brand name ]
Makes sense, right? But let’s keep relevance in mind. The highest volume keywords are not always the best ones for us if they don’t have anything to do with our products or services.
First, let’s pick the focus keyword:
At Buoyant, we offer a variety of Search Engine Optimization services. If we created a sales page for this category, we could name the page:
[ SEO Services - Buoyant Marketing ] or [ SEO Services - buoyantmarketing.com ]
When I did a quick search for SEO in SEMrush, I sorted my list by highest volume first. This shows the average monthly volume of searches for that particular keyword over a twelve month period.
After Volume, I looked at KD, which is Keyword Difficulty. On a scale of 0 to 100%, it tells you how difficult it will be to rank for that exact keyword. As a rule of thumb, I try to stay under 70%.
The other columns have fabulous data as well, but I won’t get into all of that for our purposes in this post.
So basically, I decided SEO Services was the most relevant and most voluminous keyword for my needs.
Quick Note: There is no “perfect” keyword for everyone’s situation. Just pick one and run with it.
Next, let’s add some pizzazz:
While “SEO Services” describes the business I operate, it could use a little work.
If you’re only a brick and mortar business:
You can add your location like this: [ Best Latte Art in Southwest Florida - Bennett’s Fresh Roast ]
Best Latte Art is a solid focus keyword to describe what they offer
Southwest Florida is a great location keyword
If you’re an “anywhere” business, or even if you do have a physical location:
You can add your client demographic like this: [ SEO Services for B2C Companies - Buoyant Marketing ]
You can add your slogan or tagline like this: [ Target : Expect More. Pay Less. ]
You can add what products or services you offer like this: [ It Cosmetics | Makeup, Skincare & Brushes for the Most Beautiful You! ]
You can toot your own horn like this: [ Starbucks – The Best Coffee and Espresso Drinks ]
My advice is that you add a little descriptive flair based on what you think will resonate most with your target market. After all, they will be seeing this as the search result title for your business and will have to decide whether to click on it or keep scrolling.
Side note: You may have noticed some companies list their business name first and others list their name last. Likewise, all sorts of separator punctuation is used in the titles ( - : | ). The jury is still out which are really the most effective choices out of these two scenarios. Do what moves you.
Now that we’ve gotten our meta title down, let’s move onto description! Subscribe to our newsletter to get notified when the next part of this blog series debuts!