meta tags – Performancing http://performancing.com Tue, 13 Feb 2018 03:14:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Metadata SEO Best Practices http://performancing.com/metadata-seo-best-practices/ http://performancing.com/metadata-seo-best-practices/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:35:53 +0000 http://performancing.com/?p=13705 Metadata is information about a webpage that doesn’t appear on the page itself, but instead is part of the code that makes the website. For example, the page description in the metadata may not appear on the page itself, but will appear on search engine previews and, depending on your site’s code, along with the […]

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Metadata is information about a webpage that doesn’t appear on the page itself, but instead is part of the code that makes the website. For example, the page description in the metadata may not appear on the page itself, but will appear on search engine previews and, depending on your site’s code, along with the post when it’s shared on social media or through email. The right metadata can influence your click-through rate and help improve your site’s visibility by improving your content and engagement.

What is the Meta Description?

The meta description is simply a description of the webpage you’ve created. The important thing to remember when thinking about meta descriptions is that each one describes a certain page, not your entire website. So while your landing page might describe the overall purpose of your website in the metadata, a page where you sell items would have a different description.

As you can see in the search results for the Starbucks website, each page is described differently so that a viewer knows exactly where they’ll be landing if they click the link. When updating your website to include new metadata or new pages, it’s very important to differentiate between a menu, a sales page, a directory or any other type of page.

In that way, you’re offering your potential viewers more utility before they even get to your page. In the examples above, a viewer interested in signing into their account and a viewer interested in seeing the available food and beverage choices would be able to click through to the information required without extra clicks on the website.

Google won’t always use the meta description that you write—sometimes they generate their own from the page content. But they use it often enough that the meta description is one of the most important metadata adjustments you can make, and well worth the time it takes to perfect it.

 Writing a Compelling Description

Your metadata description doesn’t just inform a search engine seeking out information about the content of your site. It’s also the first thing a viewer sees when you site appears in search results. Since your search ranking may be influenced by the click-through rate your site gets, it’s important to craft a description that lures visitors in and holds their interest. Boring or irrelevant descriptions could cause a reader to look elsewhere for content.

To write a compelling description, start by stating the purpose of your page. Keep in mind, the description has to be short and punchy—something that grabs the reader’s interest and keeps it. You can also use a call to action to convince a viewer to come to your page. Telling them to click the link can actually help you convince someone to convert from a viewer to a click.

You can test different meta descriptions to see which offers the most utility. Even a good meta description may be out performed by an alternate one, so it’s well worth the time it takes to adjust your meta description and then track your traffic to see which offers the most conversions for your search terms.

Meta Description Examples

As you write your meta descriptions, think about what a viewer looks for and what you can offer them in a quick, 165 character snippet to get them to click on your page. For example, a parent searching for a local zoo might prefer one of these descriptions to the other:

“Come see the lions, tigers and bears at the San Diego zoo! Children under 12 are admitted free Monday-Wednesday. Click now to receive money saving coupons.”

“San Diego zoo is open from 9-8 Monday through Sunday, except in cases of inclement weather. We have a wide variety of animals on show.” 

One of those descriptions is more compelling, offers something to a common viewing group (parents with young children), and has a call-to-action telling the viewer to click to receive even more utility. The second one is dry and informative, but offers no real utility or excitement. A person testing meta descriptions might find that one of those works better than the other for getting more clicks.

Since you need multiple meta descriptions for a multipage website, there are plenty of opportunities to try out different strategies.

 

Essential reading:

Meta Description Magic: Think Less about SEO & More about Click-ThroughsKissmetrics

 

Meta Description Q & A

What is the purpose of a meta description?
The purpose of a meta description is to describe the content of your page in such a way that a person clicks on your link to view your site.

Where do I put my metadata?
Your metadata goes into the html of your webpage. For example, the meta description tag looks like this (for Google Chrome download page):

<meta name=”description” content=”A fast, secure, and free web browser built for the modern web. Chrome syncs bookmarks across all your devices, fills out forms automatically, and so much more..“>

If you don’t design your own website, the person who does can insert the code for you or show you how to adjust it. There are also website and SEO plugins available that have places where you can update your meta description for each page without adjusting the actual html of your website manually.

How many meta descriptions do I need?
Each page of your site should have a different meta description, and each page can only have one. So you should have as many meta descriptions as you do pages on your site.

How do I make Google use my meta description?
You can’t choose whether Google uses your description or creates one of their own. The best way to have your meta description used is to make sure it’s relevant, offers utility, is well-written and is right at 155 characters long. If it’s too long it will trail off the page, but too short ones may be replaced by Google.

 

Using Keywords in your Meta Description

When writing a description or any other piece of metadata, keywords are one of the most important factors. Take the three main keywords or phrases you want to rank for, and try to work them into your metadata in an organic way. In other words, the words or phrases should feel natural in the titles and descriptions, not awkward or forced.

Try writing out a few different test descriptions, for example. You can test with them by watching how many people click-through to your website. If one doesn’t seem to be getting an acceptable number of clicks, try using another description. With time and testing, you can narrow down which will serve you best in the long term. You can also test ranking for different keywords in the same way, and seeing which set offers you the greatest visibility.

One way to write a compelling, standout description is to check what your competitors are doing right and wrong. Perform a search for the keywords or phrases you want to target and consider what makes one description better than another. If a description offers value, it’s better than one that doesn’t. Value could be in the form of a free trial, an answer to a question, or expert information. The description should also be welcoming and encourage the people you’re trying to target to click on it.

Since you’re competing for a top slot with paid advertisements, one strategy is to write a description that isn’t selling to the reader. It could make you stand out from advertisement listings that are set above yours.

 

Essential reading:

How to Write an Effective Meta Description Tag – Informatics

 

Titles, Tags and Image Metadata

Metadata also includes the titles of your pages, the tags for your page and the images on your page, all of which can influence your SEO by adding content that the search engines crawl and index. Image metadata influences where pictures on your site appear and helps you get more visibility in image searches, so make sure to include relevant keywords that will attract the right kind of viewers. Titles and tags should also use keywords, though tags are just a list and titles need to be crafted to be organic, just like descriptions.

Titles are one of the most important types of metadata because they give the search engine and the viewer an idea of what to expect on your page. A short, descriptive title that uses one of your targeted keywords is best. According to Moz, titles under 60 characters long will display correctly 90 percent of the time. If you want a higher probability of your title showing up exactly as you wrote it, keep it at 55 characters. Don’t use all CAPS titles, since it shortens what is visible.

Title Examples

Reflections: Discounted mirrors cut and shipped quickly
This title is 55 characters, including spaces, and includes both the name of the site and what you can expect to find there.

Chai Tea: A list of the teas we offer and prices per ounce
This title is 58 characters, including spaces, and includes the name of the site and what you can expect to find on the landing page. It would be appropriate for a page that isn’t the main page, but rather one with a menu of what’s available and how much a person can expect to pay.

 

Index and NoFollow Tags

Another important consideration when crafting your metadata is the information in the robots.txt. This is part of your code that tells crawlers whether they should come to your page, catalogue the information, store and share it with searchers. For example, “follow” is a better metadata option than “nofollow” for a site that wants a better ranking. “Follow” means that the search engine can trust any links on your site and can safely continue on through to the directed Webpages. “Nofollow” means that links shouldn’t be treated as safe. The “index” option is likewise better than “noindex”. If you choose “noindex”, the search engine that crawls your site won’t catalogue and share your results with searchers. Always use “index” in your robots.txt metadata.

 

Essential reading:

Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: Should You Care? – Wordstream

 

Influencing Factors & Final Thoughts

One important factor to consider when writing metadata that will potentially appear in a search engine listing is the length. For the best description, stick to 155 characters or less. Otherwise, the description might get cut off by the listing and the viewer won’t be able to see the entire thing.

Remember that the best metadata in the world won’t work for you unless you can deliver high-quality content, too. Let your descriptions and titles be accurate reflections of the content of your page, so that you don’t lose any SEO advantage you gain by optimizing the code of your Webpage. If you’re updating or improving the content of your site, consider optimizing the metadata for each page that you’ve improved. That way, the new metadata will lure people in to see the high-quality information available on your page.

Keep in mind that some search engines will bold the term that a user is searching for. If you use that term one time in your title and another time in your description, it may draw the viewer’s attention and help encourage conversions. When you write your metadata, try to link the titles and descriptions for each page so they’re working together to target a searcher.

Optimizing your metadata can help improve the visibility of your Webpage and boost your SEO. When your page has a higher rank and more people access it, the products and services you want to share are available to a larger audience and your engagement is increased. Since refining your metadata can help you meet that goal, testing new metadata and keywords is a valuable use of the time you spend developing your site.

 

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What is Your Crawl Budget and Why You Need To Know This http://performancing.com/crawl-budget-need-know/ http://performancing.com/crawl-budget-need-know/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:48:55 +0000 http://performancing.com/?p=13348 If you are running a large website with many pages then it is essential that you know exactly what a crawl budget is, how it’s affecting your site, what your budget is and what to do if it’s not enough. What exactly is a crawl budget? The crawl budget is how many times the Google […]

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If you are running a large website with many pages then it is essential that you know exactly what a crawl budget is, how it’s affecting your site, what your budget is and what to do if it’s not enough.

What exactly is a crawl budget?

The crawl budget is how many times the Google bots or spiders are crawling pages on your website within a given period of time. If you only have a small or medium sized site then this is most likely not going to be a problem, if you have a large site with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of pages (such as an e-commerce site or news/media site) then you need to know that Google is crawling as many of these pages as possible and if changes are being made to these pages that they are re-crawled soon after.

The main factor that affects the crawl budget is PageRank, so for large and established sites its often not a problem, however if you site is relatively new and you are adding many new pages to it then the lank of PageRank could be a problem.

Matt Cutts summarized crawl budget perfectly in this interview published at Stone Temple some years back:

“The first thing is that there isn’t really such thing as an indexation cap. A lot of people were thinking that a domain would only get a certain number of pages indexed, and that’s not really the way that it works. There is also not a hard limit on our crawl. The best way to think about it is that the number of pages that we crawl is roughly proportional to your PageRank. So if you have a lot of incoming links on your root page, we’ll definitely crawl that. Then your root page may link to other pages, and those will get PageRank and we’ll crawl those as well. As you get deeper and deeper in your site, however, PageRank tends to decline.

That interview was way back in 2010 and there have been many changes to how Google crawls sites such as the Caffeine update in June of that year and Google is able to crawl more pages and a lot faster now but what Matt said back then about Google focusing on pages with more authority still remains true, these pages are just going to be crawled with greater frequency now.

How does Google crawl your pages?

First the Google spider will look into your robots.txt file and see what it should and shouldn’t be crawling and indexing. The budget part is how many of these urls Google decides to crawl per day, this is decided by the health of your site and also the number of links pointing to it.

How to check the health of your crawl budget

First check the total number of pages your site has in its XML sitemap, usually this will be at the root of your site eg Yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Quick tip, if you don’t have a sitemap setup and are running a WordPress site then we strongly recommend the YOAST SEO plugin which will do all of this for you with just a few clicks 🙂

sitemp1

 

Within your sitemap XML file there will be other sitemaps for different parts of your site eg a sitemap for the blog posts, one for different authors or users and so on. Go into each of these and get the total number of pages for each.

Once you have your total number of pages go into your Google Webmaster Tools account and then to Crawl>Crawl Stats in the left side menu until you see the pages crawled per day like the image below.

crawlstats

Then to find out your crawl budget simply divide the total number of pages your site has by the average number of pages crawled per day.

If your final number is less than 10 you are fine, if its more then you have a problem as Google has not allocated a you a large enough crawl budget and thus not all of your pages are being crawled, this needs to be fixed.

My crawl budget is bad, now what?

First off you need to find out if there are any crawl errors being found by Google on your site. Your server logs are a good place to start, you want to be looking for any 404s and redirecting them if possible or fixing the pages. 301 and 302’s are ok as long as they are redirecting to the correct places.

Once you have cleaned up crawl errors your next step should be to look at how Google is crawling your site.

How to sculpt where Google bots go

Remember, there are a finite number of pages on your site that Google can crawl, however Google bots will parse anything put in front of them so we need to make sure that they aren’t crawling pages that aren’t important to your site.

Robots.txt file – use this a the top level for disallowing sections of your site from bots being able to crawl

Noindex meta tag – this can be used on a more finite level for individual pages so that they will not be indexed

Nofollow tags – this can be used at an even more granular level on individual links to pages but if you don’t add this tag to all links pointing to the page then Google will still be able to find it

Knowing how and when Google bots are crawling your site is crucial for mid-range to large sites, especially ones that might not have so much authority and are competing against more established sites so webmasters have to ensure that these bots are seeing and crawling the most important parts of their site.

For more in-depth and further information on how Google is crawling websites see this Google hangout with John Mueller and Andrey Lipattsev.

 

Stop Letting Visitors Slip Through Your Fingers By Implementing These Conversion Tips

 

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How to Verify Your Website on Pinterest http://performancing.com/how-to-verify-your-website-on-pinterest/ Thu, 06 Dec 2012 21:54:25 +0000 http://performancing.com/?p=12242 Pinterest now offers the ability to verify your website on your profile. This not only further legitimates your profile to customers and followers, it also helps Pinterest better determine which profiles are real people and which are spam. Because you can only verify a website you actually own, this prevents spammers from creating accounts pretending […]

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Pinterest now offers the ability to verify your website on your profile. This not only further legitimates your profile to customers and followers, it also helps Pinterest better determine which profiles are real people and which are spam. Because you can only verify a website you actually own, this prevents spammers from creating accounts pretending to be a certain individual or company.

To verify your website on Pinterest, first make sure it is added to your profile in Pinterest. Then, go to the domain verification page to begin the process. Pinterest will give you a meta tag to embed in your website:

 

you can also upload a text file to the root folder of your website (this requires FTP or back-end access and can’t be done via WordPress or some other CMS system).

Once this is completed, you will ask Pinterest to verify that the file or meta tag is on your website. Once this is completed, your website will be verified and will have a check mark next to it on your profile:

One important thing to be aware of is the fact that you can’t verify the same website on 2 different Pinterest profiles. Each profile must have a unique website. This doesn’t include subdomains or different pages of a website, like coats.com/fur. If coats.com was already claimed on a separate profile, another Fur profile couldn’t claim coats.com/fur. This may be an issue for larger portal sites that have different sections, such as The Huffington Post Health and The Huffington Post Politics sections. While these could theoretically have different Pinterest profiles that are independently successful, they most likely couldn’t both claim a domain that is a variation of huffingtonpost.com.

Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule and perhaps Pinterest support might be able to make an exception, but if your company website is on a smaller level, be sure you are verifying the right website on the right profile.

Additionally, because your website is represented as part of your Pinterest profile, make sure that your profile correctly reflects your website. In the second graphic above, for example, my personal profile is shown but I accidentally verified my company website. I should have verified my personal blog instead. Pinterest support has luckily helped me clarify this, but it took a few days and emails.

Save the time and hassle by making sure your website is correctly verified on Pinterest the first time it is done.

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