In our webinar, PushON’s SEO Consultant, Will, discussed metadata optimisation as part of our series of SEO Fundamentals.
PushON will continue to host eCommerce webinars, which will be a combination of online marketing and Magento topics. For those who missed our SEO webinar, we’ve gone into more detail about metadata, what it is, why you need it and how to optimise pages on your website.
What Is Metadata?
Metadata meaning – what you need to know.
Metadata is the snippet of information about each website that appears on search results. It tells users what the page is about, so they can decide whether to click-through or keep searching.
The meta description must be relevant to that page (not misleading); otherwise, search engines like Google will penalise your website, which can harm your ranking position and as a result, limit traffic and conversions.
This goes down to page optimisation. You wouldn’t optimise a page that sells baby bottles for clothes instead. It’s irrelevant, misleading and will force the user to leave your website without continuing their journey and shop elsewhere. This is confusing to the user and Google, therefore, making your brand an untrustworthy source.
So, your meta description must contain relevant content that your target audience resonates with. This makes them more likely to click to your website and buy your products.
Page optimising also includes page titles, metadata, headings and main body content.
To put it simply, we optimise page titles and meta descriptions with keywords to improve their relevance to relevant searches from Google’s perspective.
Understanding On-Page Optimisation
The examples below show how Google reads page titles and meta descriptions.
Once Google has read and understands what your page is about, it will then place it on their search results. This process is referred to as ‘indexing’. It’s important to remember that when Google indexes a page, it isn’t an instantaneous process, so it’s critical that if you’re launching a new product or service, that the page is optimised to give it time to embed.
When you optimise is also essential. If your peak season is autumn, you want to ensure that your page is ranking highly during this time. So, if you owned an online garden shop and you know your customers tend to plant new shrubs during this time ready for spring, you’ll want to ensure relevant pages are fully optimised in summer, to give Google time to read the page, index it and rank your page in autumn.
Content is paramount to optimisation and ranking position. The more relevant your content is, the higher you will place on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Please note, there are other types of metadata; however, these are used in more complex optimisation.
Page and Meta Optimisation
We see so many online businesses get metadata wrong, including global blue-chip ones.
PushON’s regularly run SEO checks on client websites, and perform content audits to ensure the page optimisation is still relevant and identify if page titles, H1 tags and metadata are missing. This is primarily for new clients and it is vital. We often find that metadata is missing, poorly written or exceeds Google’s recommended guidelines.
Keyword Research and Optimisation
To optimise the page title, we use various tools for keyword research to find the highest search volume (how many people search each month for a keyword on average).
Once the keywords have been determined, we can then begin optimising pages. The keywords we choose are based on relevancy, search volumes and intent.
PushON will stick to Google’s recommended guidelines for character length to maximise performance. If we don’t, the results will truncate, which will impact click-through-rate (CTR) and overall website performance.
As you can see from the example above, both the page title and metadata exceeds the character length and for first impressions, it’s doesn’t look good. While this seems trivial, it can affect click-through-rate, and if users aren’t clicking through to your site, they’re not going to convert.
Once a page has been optimised, regardless of how well it’s ranking, it’s recommended that content is refreshed and the keywords are still relevant, as user behaviour and intent regularly changes.
Another reason for the consistently monitoring and updating pages is because of Google’s frequent algorithm updates. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing when they’ll take place and what the update is until after it’s taken place. So, to stay ahead of the game and understanding how Google operates is fundamental.
An algorithm update is when Google changes (or updates) the way it crawls and understands a website, often with an increasing focus on content and quality. This can affect optimisation tactics.
A recent example of this was the BERT update which began being implemented in October 2019 (for English queries).
This changed the way Google understands the words surrounding a focus keyword in a search term.
By using Machine Learning to look at the words around it, it provides greater context and understanding of searches that use more natural language.
What does this mean for us?
See below, an example of the different results returned for the same search, before and after the BERT update.
When we optimise, we must consider not only the focus keywords but the surrounding words and phrases and the context they provide. This allows us to be more competitive and gain greater visibility over our competitors – meaning more traffic, more engagement and revenue.
A history of these algorithm updates is available here: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change
Optimising pages on a website are one part of the task. The other is monitoring and measuring the results to understand if the page has a positive impact.
The main goal of these optimisations is to achieve greater visibility on SERPs. The higher our result on the SERP, the more people will click-through. The higher the click-through rate, the greater likelihood of conversion and revenue.
While this data is private for each client, we can see an example of how optimisations and algorithm updates combined can improve visibility and traffic. As part of our process with clients, we continually review this and proactively and strategically optimise.
Key Points to Consider
The key points to consider when optimising pages for efficiency include:
- Understanding what keywords you want to target and where your biggest opportunities are.
- How algorithm updates affect optimisation, including content and why you need to be reactive.
- Optimising page titles with high volume and relevant keywords to gain maximum exposure on the search engines.
- Optimising metadata to improve visibility and click-through-rates.
- Measuring results for reactive optimisation and understanding what triggers your target audience to click-through to your website and convert.
PushON has an in-house team of technical SEO and content marketing experts with a strong eye for optimisation. If you would like to learn about the importance of optimising your website and how our expertise can help your business achieve KPI’s and revenue online, contact us today on 0161 820 7628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for future webinars.