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Title and Meta Description tags for SEO

You’ve got your blog up and running, and now you need to ensure it shows up properly in search engines.  As explained in the assigned reading in the Google SEO Starter Guide, you’re going to want to create <title> and <meta> description tags to help describe the content of your blog to search engines.

Title Tags

A title tag is a snippet of code placed within the <head> section of an html file.  It can appear anywhere between the <head> and the </head> tags.  There can only be one title tag per HTML file.  The syntax is simple: you have an open tag <title> and a close tag </title> and everything  in between becomes the content of the title tag.

<title>This is a page title</title>

Note that only the first 65-70 characters will show up in a search engine result.

In addition to the information in the Google SEO Starter Guide, if you do a few Google searches, you’ll find a treasure trove of excellent resources on writing title tags.

15 Title Tag Optimization Guidelines For Usability And SEO
Title Tag SEO Best Practices
How to Write Title Tags For Search Engine Optimization

Meta Description Tags

A <meta> tag provides metadata about a web page.  Meta tags also are placed in the <head> section of HTML files.

There are many different kinds of meta tags, but the one most relevant to SEO is the meta description tag.  This tag gives a brief description of the content of the web page:

<meta name=”description” content=”Here is a page
description that describes what is on the page

Meta description tags are often directly used in search engine results pages in the two lines describing each search result.  Note that only the first 150-160 characters of your description will show up in the result.  Here is an example of a search result entry for SEOmoz:

There are lots of good resources on writing Meta Description tags as well:
The Meta Description Tag
Meta Description SEO Best Practices

Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson is an Instructor in Marketing at the University of Northern Iowa. Matthew teaches courses in Digital Advertising, Advertising Campaign Development, and Experiential Marketing. He is passionate about the Interactive Digital Studies program at UNI and is also the faculty advisor for AAF-UNI, the college chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Matthew is a creative director with 18 years of experience working in advertising, interactive design, video production and experience design.

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