There are some basic no no’s when it comes to structuring your metadata as part of the onsite optimisation process. See the basic tips below for the follow up to our previous notes on meta do’s. View part one of our online SEO tips.
1. Don’t exceed the seventy character maximum in the title tag
Seventy characters is the number displayed in the Google search results. Those searching organically will not be able to see any characters beyond this number. Try to stick to this and not to go too many characters over the limit – in addition to users not being able to view these characters, there may be an additional risk of being penalized if your title tag is way over 70 characters. This move can be perceived as a maneuver to influence the search engines.
2. Don’t exceed the hundred and sixty character maximum in the description tag
Similar to the seventy character limit for the meta title tag, the 160 character limit is derived from the number of characters displayed on Google’s search engine results. Although you have more characters to play with, these tags should remain concise descriptions of the page they are about. These tags preview snippets of the given page however are not used in ranking anymore. Omitting these for this purpose however can be bad practice – these tags are for the user and should still be included as good practice.
3. Don’t stuff your tags with keywords
Stuffing your tags with keywords may prove ultimately detrimental. Trying to rank for too many keywords per page can prove ineffective if those keywords have a high level of competition. Generate your keyword list and stick to a maximum of five per page. Sticking to your title and description tag 70 and 160 character limits should prevent this practice.
4. Don’t feel you have to use the meta keyword tag
This tag is not given any standing by the search engines anymore and can actually give competitors an easy and clear indication of what words you’re targeting. It was once common practice to stuff this tag with non-relevant keywords, if you’d like to use it; feel free however it won’t be used by the search engines and impact your ranking.