What are METAs? (Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Headings)


One of the most easily missed element of SEO is META optimisation. Optimising METAs for users results in an increase in Click Through Rate (CTR), that is, the amount of clicks you gain from your listing to your page. A case study by SEMRush has shown that an increase in (optimised) META description length has increase CTR by 36%.

Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

In the SEO world METAs refer to “Page Titles” and “Meta Descriptions”. The Page Title is the top “heading” of a listing on the Search Engine Result Pages. In the example below “BBC – Homepage” is the Page Title. The Page Title also appears in the “tab” of your browser as a title of the page.

page title chrome tab

A BBC listing from Google Search Engine Result Pages:

meta description Google SERPs

The Meta Description is the copy below the Page Title, i.e. “Breaking news, sport, TV, radio and a whole lot more. The BBC informs, educates and entertains – wherever you are, whatever your age.”

Both Page Title and Meta Description’s main purpose is to entice users to click on your listing and visit your page, it’s best to write something that captivates the user and wanting them to read more. Although Google reps claim that optimizing these do not help with rankings (directly), it is considered best practice to enter at least one keyword in the page title or meta description.

Page Title and Meta Description Code Samples

This is a Page Title</title>
<meta name=“description” content=“This is the meta description content. This should be targeted to users.”>

Page Title and Meta Description Length

The Page Title length should be of 60 characters or 600 pixels (depending on character width)

The Meta Description length needs to be from 155 to 160 characters or 920 pixels (depending on character width)

You can use a META preview tool to preview how your METAs will look.

An SEO Audit can help identifying any missing, long, short or non-optimised METAs. Google will automatically try to pull METAs from your site if you do not have anything set.

Headings (H1, H2, H3)

Headings are what we use as titles and provide structure within the content of a page. The headings are made up of HTML tags <h1>, <h2>, <h3> and so on. H1 being the largest with rest being smaller respectively.

An example of H1 heading:

<h1>Latest News from Around the World</h1>

Contrary to popular belief Google doesn’t require us to have an H1 heading on every page. We can use other smaller heading tags such as an H2 heading as the “leading heading” followed by other smaller headings. The best practice is to have a structured page using headings with the correct hierarchy.

Example of headings:

<h1>Digital Marketing News</h1>

<h2>SEO News</h2>

<h2>SocialMedia News</h2>

<h3>Facebook News</h3>

<h3>Twitter News</h3>

<h2>PPC News</h2>

As shown above <h3> tags are sub-headings of an <h2> tag named “Social Media News”, notice that “PPC News” is set as <h2> since it falls under “Digital Marketing News” instead of “Social Media News”.

A proper SEO audit will highlight any anomalies in the headings, their structure and how best to optimise for good readability for the user and search engine.

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Thomas Agius

Thomas Agius

SEO Consultant with a tech background. I'm also interested in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Project management and life long learning.

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