Using page titles and meta descriptions–the ad copy of SEO

When asked in an interview “If you only had only five minutes to work on a website’s SEO, what two factors would you work on?”, the answer did not come quickly to me. In fact I kind of panicked, thinking what possible answer he was looking for… title tags… H1s…  proper keyword research… internal linking…

After babbling off some longwinded answer,  showing I knew a number of factors that contributed to SEO, but not really answering his question, the SEO vet told me the answer he was looking for. The page’s title and meta description.

SEO page title meta descriptionSEO page title meta description

His answer makes perfect sense to me now, and will be the answer I give if anybody ever asks me that again. The title tag and meta description are the only parts of the page that will be shown to the user on Google (or bing or yahoo). He said it was similar to the Headline and description lines in Google Adwords copy. Without compelling, interesting copy, you will end up with a lousy click through rate and Google will punish you by burying your website under other pages that took the time to write proper meta descriptions.

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