- Posted by skenow
- Posted on 5/10/2016
WordPress recently announced some new advanced SEO features for its Business Plan subscribers. I smiled as I read this, because these are features that have been available to all ImpressCMS users for quite some time.
While there are always debates over which meta tags to populate, which ones are relevant, and which ones make no sense, the meta description always seems to be one that is widely accepted and used. If you don't supply one for your page, the search engine giants will take what they think is the most relevant snippet from your content and arbitrarily assign that to your page.
Your titles are what get your posts read - great articles often go unread because of poor titles. For search results, each page should have a unique title, or you run into suspected duplicate content issues or pages thought to be irrelevant. So, pay attention to your titles.
With any website, you will have lots of different types of content pages - blog posts, images and galleries, static pages, and possibly forums, and curated lists, like downloads or links. Each type of content will have its own rules for creating the page title, which you can control through your theme. You have post title, content type (module), site title, and site slogan or tagline all available for your use in the title tag.
Knowing there is a limit to what the search engines will display as a page's title, you need to pay more attention to the beginning of your title. According to Moz -
Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. If you keep your titles under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly.
*Note: I just adjusted the title of this post
Open up theme.html for your selected theme, and you'll find a section at the top that arranges $icms_sitename, $icms_pagetitle, and $icms_slogan for the title tag, possibly with some statements for various conditions. My personal recommendation - always put $icms_pagetitle first.
As I mentioned above, the search engines will create this snippet if it doesn't exist. Even if it does, they may create one anyway. Better to specify one whenever possible. You are limited, so best to be deliberate about what to put here.
Again, according to Moz -
Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. It is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.
This is typically done for each post, so when you create a post, provide a meta description for the post. If you don't, you'll get an autopopulated description, which may, or may not, suit your needs or intent. Does your first paragraph lend itself to those results? Maybe just a portion of it. Whatever it may be, be sure to capture your page's essence in its description (and your first few sentences).
While writing custom meta descriptions may be new for WordPress users, the various ImpressCMS content modules have been enabling content creators to customize their meta data when they publish for quite a long time. WP has added a nice feature to define the structure of the page title through the UI - ImpressCMS has the same flexibility, just through editing the templates.
Content management systems can impact how your site and its pages show up in search results. ImpressCMS has long been aware of this, and has continued to employ practices to help web administrators be effective at getting their content discovering and showing in the search results.