How to Create SEO Friendly Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

In SEO, page title tags and meta descriptions are elements that are displayed in search results.

Having optimized titles and meta descriptions is essential for two reasons. First, they explain to users what your page is about.

Second, they allow you to entice users to click on your page instead of a competing page.

Let’s see how to create SEO-optimized titles and meta descriptions.

What is an SEO title tag?

A title tag is a clickable headline of a page that is displayed on the search engine results pages (SERPs). It usually looks as follows:

SEO friendly title tag in search results

Search engines can use several sources to generate the title tag. However, often the main source is the ‘title’ HTML element of a web page.

In the source code, the ‘title’ element looks as follows:

Title HTML element

The content of the ‘title’ element is also displayed in the browser tab:

Browser tab title

and when you share a page on social networks:

Share on Facebook example

If your ‘title’ element is not descriptive or missing, Google may use other sources to generate a title tag. This could be the largest visible headline on a page, the ‘h1’ heading, etc.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is a snippet of text displayed right below the title link. It serves as an extended description of the page content, and usually looks as follows:

Meta description

In many cases, Google generates a meta description automatically from page content. Sometimes, the meta name=”description” tag is used for this purpose.

In the page source code, this tag looks as follows:

meta description in source code

As we can see in this example, Google chose the content of the meta name=”description” tag as the meta description.

SEO best practices for title tags

  • It should accurately and concisely describe your page.

The title tag should briefly explain what your page is about, its topic, or its purpose.

  • The maximum length for titles is 600 pixels on desktop and 650 pixels on mobile or around 60 characters.

Titles that exceed the above limits will not be fully displayed in search results.

  • Include the search query (keyword) you want to rank for.

The title tag is a tiny ranking factor, so including your target keyword will help to improve search rankings a bit.

  • Start your title tag with your target keyword whenever possible.
  • Add numbers where possible: list-related numbers and years (2023) are especially good.
  • Add “power words” or “modifiers” where possible (you/your, tips, why, best, top, great, how to, free, etc.)
  • Include your brand name where it makes sense.
  • Use a hyphen (-), vertical dash (|), or colon (:) to separate your brand name from the rest of the text.

Here is an example of a good title tag that takes into account most of the above guidelines:

5-star Hotel in Ennis, Co. Clare near the Cliffs of Moher | HotelName

SEO best practices for meta descriptions

The key to writing effective meta descriptions is to create a description that Google will select, rather than letting it generate one from your page’s content. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

  • Make sure the meta description relates to the page’s content.

Google often uses the first few paragraphs of text on a page to generate a description. When your meta description directly connects with your introduction, Google is more likely to select it.

  • Include your primary keyword where possible.

The meta description is not used as a ranking signal. However, you can still include your target search query if it makes sense.

  • The optimal length is around 1000 pixels or approximately 120-150 characters.
  • Make your meta description 2-4 sentences long.
  • Try and add a call to action (how to, find, buy, check, learn, etc.)

A well-written description informs users of your page’s subject matter and encourages them to visit it. Using call-to-action words has a positive effect on the click-through rate (CTR).

Here is an example of a good meta description that takes into account most of the above guidelines:

Welcome to HotelName – a cozy, family-run hotel with all amenities. Located at Fanore Beach, just a ten-minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. Book now.

Common issues

Duplicate titles

Each page on a site should have a unique title. Users may not understand the difference between multiple pages in search results if they have the same title tag.

In addition, if two or more pages share the same title tag, search engines may struggle to decide which page should appear in search results.

If a site has thousands of pages, it may be hard to manually write unique titles for each page. In this case, write well-crafted titles for essential pages of the site, for the rest use a template.

If your site runs on WordPress and you use Yoast SEO, you can set up a specific title tag structure:

Yoast SEO title tag template

Missing meta descriptions

Make sure to write well-crafted descriptions for essential pages of the site, for the rest use a template.

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you can also set up a specific meta description structure, for example:

meta description structure in yoast seo

Keyword stuffing

Ideally, you only need to use the target keyword once in the title or description. Sometimes you can use it twice, but don’t repeat the same keyword 3 or more times.

Incomplete titles

In search results, it appears as follows:

incomplete title tag in search results

Such incomplete titles don’t explain the page content, so don’t expect someone to click on them in search results.

Online tool to test your meta tags

You can use the following great free tool when writing titles and meta descriptions:

The above tool shows how your title and meta description will appear in Google Search results. It also shows the overall CTR score.

The goal of this tool is not to get a perfect “green” score for every page. Use this tool to facilitate the process of optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions.


Title tags and meta descriptions are important for SEO. A well-written title and description can increase the click-through rate to your page, even if it is lower in the search results than your competitors’ pages.

Hope this article helps you with this.

You can also check out other SEO tips to increase organic traffic.

Andrew Postelniak

I am a freelance SEO consultant with over 7 years of experience.

I've worked with various companies (from local to international) as well as marketing agencies from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

This is my SEO blog where I share actionable tips from my experience.


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