That's So META (Title and Descriptions)

Did you know that the Meta Title and Meta Description serve a specific purpose? Many merchants leave the auto-generated Title and Description, but these should absolutely be altered to help with SEO and getting people from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to your website.

The Meta Title and Description in Shopify are more commonly known as the Search Engine Listing Preview and are available at the bottom of all Collections, Products, Pages and Blog Posts.

Why does it matter?

When a potential customer is looking at the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the idea is that you want them to click on YOUR site vs a competitors site.

If your Meta Title and Meta Description don't encourage somebody to click through to the Product Page, then the chances of a conversion are pretty much out the window. It doesn't matter how good your Product page is if people never get to it!

Having poor Meta titles and descriptions will also ensure your shop takes longer to reach the first page of Google (if ever), meaning less people will find you overall.

Show me an example

Here is an example from a store that I used to operate, Tricky Fingers Magic Emporium. The image below shows the original Meta Title and Description that was generated automatically from the Title and Description I entered in Shopify, as well as the SEO optimized version at the bottom of the page.

Showing two different Search Engine Listing Previews for the same product. One is auto-generated, one is customized for SEO (Search engine optimization)

A few things to note right off the bat.

  1. You'll see that the auto-generated option truncates (...) at the end.
  2. You'll also notice that the first sentence is running into itself and doesn't read well.

As a customer, this is not a good first impression. It's not clear what the product is, and the description starts with a sentence running into the next... maybe? It's hard to tell what's going on.

The first title isn't very clear that this product is to learn card tricks, it almost sounds like it could be a documentary about card magic. It just isn't doing it's job. It doesn't make you want to click.

Make me want to click

Neither the title, nor the description, in the first example would entice most users searching for something like "learn card magic", where the second example would be much more likely to make that conversion.

Not only is the title more engaging, the description is quite a bit clearer and concise. It presents the most important information about the product (the who and what) which makes people want to know more, resulting in a higher likelihood that they will click through.

I often get asked how many characters something like a Title or Description should be, and my answer is always the same; Enough to get the point across clearly to your audience, without truncating. If the info isn't clear it really doesn't matter how many characters you have, you've probably lost a click.

There is no magic number for character or word count, just the MAX that search engines allow. But just like a car, just because it can carry 7 people doesn't mean you need to stuff it with 7 people every time, just when nesessary.

It's all about the customers

The big thing people need to remember about SEO is that Google doesn't search for anything. Google isn't searching for magic, Google isn't searching for shoes, Google isn't shopping for a new TV.

Customers Search. People search.

Everything you do for your SEO should focus on providing the best content and experience for your customers.

I tell people all the time, if you have time to try and 'trick Google' with hacks and workaround, you have the time to do it properly and actually focus on the customers.

Focus on the customer and the metrics should follow!

Back to blog