It’s important to optimise your meta descriptions and titles so that they stand out in the search engine results pages (SERPS) and if you’ve got a particularly large website then the process can be quite daunting. However, with the help of programs like Screaming Frog, you should be able to speed this process up a little. And, I really do mean a little, as you’ll still be spending most of your time writing page titles & meta descriptions.
Here, I’ll show you how I’m going to optimise my titles and meta descriptions for Vlexo.Net. I’ve been meaning to do this for a couple months now, but I’ve just not had the time to do this. I guess I don’t have that excuse anymore, as I’m on annual leave. 🙂
What is Screaming Frog?
Screaming Frog is a crawler and it’s something you should be aware of if you have ever delved in the world of SEO. It’s an awesome tool, in my opinion, which helps you to identify areas of your website/blog that need improvement. For example, you can see where on your site you’re missing H1 & H2 tags or if there are duplicate H1 & H2 tags – with a number to go alongside it. It’s essentially a tool that analyses your website from an SEO perspective. I won’t go into too much description on this, as you can find out what the tool does on the Screaming Frog website. Play around with it and get used to it. In fact, don’t even read about what it does, just run the program and see what you can find out after you enter your site in the URL field.
How do you go about optimising your site’s titles and meta descriptions?
The time consuming task is actually coming up with high quality meta descriptions and titles. It’s probably worth doing keyword research behind the pages you’re trying to optimise. For now, you can optimise each page for keywords that you think people will be searching for to find your lovely website, which is essentially what I’m going to be doing with this site.
Hit the export button and download the file. Open it up in Microsoft Excel:
It’s a little disjointed, so you’ll want to clean it up, and perhaps put it into a table. I’ve also either deleted or hidden all the columns that are not necessary for the sole purpose of updating our page titles and meta descriptions. Once in a table, you can filter the data so that you only see “text/html”, like so:
I recommend using the =len() formula to count how many characters are in the cells you’ll be typing your title and meta descriptions.
Excel is a great way of logging all the work you’re doing on your site as well, and you can simply highlight all the onsite changes you’ve made — once you’ve made them.
SEO Best Practice for Titles and Meta Descriptions
Your titles and meta descriptions should be compelling. Pretend as if you’re in the search results and you’re looking for whatever your blog post is about. Which search result are you most likely to click on? Likely a result that has information in the title and meta description detailing about what you’re searching for. Search engines like Google will also highlight keywords in titles and meta descriptions for the keywords that are being queried:
As you can see “Pay” and “Council Tax” were highlighted (they’ll be made bold) when I typed “Paying your council tax” into Google. Keywords like the above example should be included in titles & meta descriptions, as you’ll want to take full advantage of the fact Google do this. This will draw attention to your your listing for whatever keyword your website is ranking. This is however not say you should keyword stuff your meta descriptions, but to at least include keywords within the compelling 156 characters you’ll be writing for your meta descriptions. For titles, you should be writing copy that is a maximum of 70 characters long. Be descriptive, creative and use call to actions — if that’s what your niche caters around.
And, you can do all of this using Excel, Screaming Frog and your laptop/desktop. It will take time, but I’m sure the results will speak for itself. I should probably get around to doing this site — we’ll see.
There’s so much more you can do with Screaming Frog, and I hope I can find some time to write about what I’ll be using this tool for and how.