Most web copywriters know that they are supposed to write ‘it’; but, not all of them know what ‘it’ is for, or even what ‘it’ is.
Today, I will attempt to untangle the mystery.
What’s a meta?
The prefix meta has many meanings, but in biology and in computing, it is taken to mean “one level of order higher.”
The W3C, the standards authority for HTML code language, describes meta data in this way: “information about a document rather than document content” which is about as excellent a definition as we can get.
In SEO copywriting terms, the information about the web page (document) gives the search engine descriptive information about the contents of the document. The meta data and the page data (the words in the document) should be about the same topic and contain the same key words and phrases.
What meta data do I need to worry about?
Meta data for a web page can describe all kinds of things, but the two you need to think about for SEO copywriting are the ‘title’ and ‘description’ values.
Because search engines use these to help calculate how relevant your page is to the search.
And…Because search engines show the meta data to the searcher in the search results (sometimes…Google occasionally makes up its own description).
How to write SEO-friendly meta data
The key to writing meta data that helps with SEO is to provide a good description of what the page is about.
Of course, the key to all good SEO is… that’s right! Keywords.
We know from the last post on keywords that good keywords are the words that people use to search. So, if you follow the logic, then your description of the page and the meta title of the page should contain the keywords used on the page itself.
When providing SEO copywriting services, I do my keyword research first. Then I write a great headline and page copy based on those keywords.
I write for people first, then optimise after, adding keywords where there are too few, and providing alternatives where there are too many.
Lastly, I write the meta data. For the title, I use the title of the page making sure that my primary keywords are near the beginning. Browsers and search engines display up to 70 characters before truncating, so keep under that number and your readers will see the whole title.
For the description, I write about the page. Never copy and paste the introductory paragraph. Take 2 minutes, breathe, and write a short paragraph (up to 160 characters) about what someone will find on the page.
“Looking for an SEO copywriter? We are a UK SEO copywriting agency…”
That tells the reader at the point of decision on the search engine everything they need to know, AND it describes the kind of information on the page – it’s a page about SEO copywriting – AND it’s compelling copywriting too.
What about the meta keywords tag?
Don’t worry about it. Search engines like Google stopped using the keywords meta tag a long time ago.
Next in the SEO copywriter series: Anatomy of SEO copywriting