How to optimise meta & on-page content for organic search
October 13, 2023
Optimising your SEO content is essential for improving your website’s visibility in search engines and attracting organic traffic.
In this guide, we’ll share our SEO team’s advice and walk you through the optimisation process step by step.
On the SERPs
Title tags (often called ‘meta titles’ or simply ‘titles’) are among the most critical elements of SEO content optimisation. They appear in search engine results and web browser tabs, making them a prominent factor in both SEO and user experience. Here’s how to optimise them:
Relevance: Ensure your title tag accurately reflects the content of the page. Treat it like you’re writing a subject for an email campaign, because no matter how good the content on the page itself may be, no one will click into it if it doesn’t seem relevant or enticing. Keep it concise, and avoid vague descriptors like ‘Home’ for your homepage or ‘Profile’ for a specific person’s profile.
Avoid keyword stuffing: It’s sometimes helpful to include a few descriptive terms, but there’s no reason to have the same words or phrases multiple times. For example, a business that sells pushchairs should avoid using title text such as: “Pushchairs, double pushchairs, doublepushchair” – this doesn’t help the user, and can make your results appear spam-like to Google and its users.
Length: Keep your title tags under 60 characters to ensure they don’t get cut off in search results.
Avoid repeated or boilerplate text: It’s important to have distinct, descriptive text in your title elements for each page on your site. Titling every page on an ecommerce site “Cheap products for sale”, for example, makes it impossible for users to distinguish between two pages. Longer text in the title element that varies by only a single piece of information should also be avoided, for example “Band Name – See videos, lyrics, posters, reviews and concerts” is not very informative.
Meta descriptions provide a brief summary of what the page contains. While they don’t directly affect search rankings, they impact click-through rates and user engagement. Here’s how to optimise meta descriptions:
Uniqueness: Identical or similar descriptions on every page of a website aren’t helpful when individual pages appear in search results. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page.
Relevancy: A meta description doesn’t have to be in sentence format – it can also be a great place to include information about the page. For example, news or blog posts can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise.
USPs & compelling CTAs: Include information which could help you stand out from competitors such as free delivery, money back guarantee, or rated 5 stars. Avoid generic CTAs such as “shop online”, “see the full range” or “learn more.” Instead, use CTAs to drive or inspire action. Some good examples are “Buy today with free UK Delivery” or “Start your free trial today.” Include words with a sense of urgency or scarcity, like “limited”, “today” or “now.”
Avoid filler: Avoid using generic phrases just to make up length. Sometimes a shorter meta description can actually be more effective due to being punchier and easy to digest, but be careful not to miss any opportunities to include target keywords, semantically related keywords, USPs or CTAs.
Here’s a summary of meta content best practices:
- Aim for between 40-60 characters when writing title tags
- Aim for between 140-16 characters for meta descriptions
- Use the pipe (|) symbol to separate sections of your title tag – it takes up less space than the dash
- Don’t prioritise brand name over target keywords in meta descriptions – it’s already in the URL and the page title so it doesn’t have to be in the description too. Keywords and CTAs are always preferred
- Size is measured on pixel length – use SERP similar to preview your meta content and see if you’re exceeding the limits.
- Depending on the brand tone of voice, it’s okay to use symbols such ad & and + to save space, but these should be used sparingly to avoid looking like spam. Emojis can be used in titles and descriptions if this is in keeping with brand guidelines, as they may help CTR.
- Always run your SEO content through a spell check or have someone proofread before uploading.
Headings are crucial for both SEO and user experience, as they break down your content and make it more scannable. Here’s how to optimise your headings:
Follow a logical order:
<H1> The main heading, product name, collections title or blog title
<H3> Additional subheading
<H3> Additional subheading
Make sure that you only use one H1 per page.
Make it relevant: H1s should resemble the page’s title tag, but can be varied to include secondary or semantically related keywords.
On-page collection copy
Stay concise: While you have a lot more room to play with than with meta content, the same guidelines around avoiding filler text or being overly wordy apply. Use this space to include additional keywords but prioritise readability and usefulness. For example, if you’ve mentioned ‘wellington boots’ in the meta title, you could mention ‘wellies’ in the collection copy. Longer pieces of copy should be hidden behind a ‘read more’ button so as to not push products too far down the page.
Internal linking: Include links to related products, brands, collections or guides. This helps guide users to more specific pages and can give a small SEO boost to the linked content.
FAQs: Use keyword research to craft FAQs which can be marked up with Structured Data to gain rich results.
- Include primary keyword to the title link
- Include primary & secondary keywords (if space permits) to your Meta Description
- Include USPs in title link and Meta description
- Use the primary keyword in the URL (for new products)
- Use the primary keyword near the beginning of your content
- Use the primary and secondary keyword in the content
- Use secondary keywords in subheading(s)
- Add an image with your keywords in the alt text
- Link out to external resources to add authority and trust (links open in new window)
- Add internal links to your content. This helps to decrease bounce rates on blogs and gives a boost to linked content
- Long form content: use a table of contents with ‘jump to’ links for easier navigation
- Blogs: Include CTAs at bottom of content (contact us, form completion etc.)