SEO Best Practices: Title, Meta Description, H1 & H2


Over the past few months, I've been asked to assess a couple of start-up websites from an SEO perspective. My responsibilities at work recently shifted to focus on SEO and I've been learning a ton along the way. I've used these tactics for a few of my side project sites to see it climb up the ranks for my targeted keywords due to the relevancy of my site in conjunction with the user's search intent.

You would be surprised at the sites that I've been asked to look at to discover that no optimization has been applied. For this post, I'll cover the title, meta description, H1 and H2 tags, as well as content. These actionable items are incredibly easy to update and change. It's important because it will communicate with search engines what your page is about and if it's relevant to the user's keyword search.

Here are some quick wins that nearly anyone can do, as long as you have full control of your website.


If you haven't already, think of what keywords people are searching for that you want your page to rank for. When you have that list, look up the search volume and see if that's a keyword you want to target on your page. You can use Google's Keyword Tool  to get keyword ideas and search volume, or if you currently do paid search, take a look at the top non-brand keywords driving traffic to your site. Likewise, you can use your analytics tool to see what you're currently ranking for in natural search and determine from there which keyword fits best for your goal.

EXAMPLE: If I'm an online store selling vintage toys, some keywords that I would try ranking my website for would be:

antique toys 8,100
retro toys 22,200
vintage toys 49,500

Taking into account the search volume, I'd optimize my page for retro toys and vintage toys because it has potential to generate the most traffic.

2. ON-PAGE SEO FACTORS - PART 1: Title & Meta Description

When you have determined what keyword you'd like your webpage to rank for you can begin optimizing the following elements. I'll continue to use the vintage toys website as an example.

PAGE TITLE: This communicates to search engines what this page is about, and is considered as the most important on-page factor for SEO.

  • Use your keyword phrase first and then follow it with a dash and your website name.  You want the most important keywords leading from left to right.
  • Limit to 70 characters.
  • You want to also be sure that each title tag is unique for every page being crawled.

EXAMPLE: Vintage & Retro Toys - Bee's Awesome Toys

META DESCRIPTION:  This is your search engine results 'elevator pitch' to searchers to communicate with them what this page is about and if it's relevant to their search/what they are looking for. Having a descriptive and relevant meta description will get you more clicks and visits.

  • You want the most important keywords/selling points leading from left to right.
  • Limit to 160 characters.
  • You want to also be sure that each meta description is unique for every page being crawled.

EXAMPLE: Shop over 50 million retro & vintage toys in stock. Buy new or used retro toys up to 65% off. Find quality vintage toys at Bee's Awesome Toys.

In the end, the search result will look like this:



HEADER TAG (H1): This does a similar function to the title tag by communicating to Google what this page is about and helps the user understand what this page is about.

  • H1 should be placed as close to the top of the page
  • Use your targeted keyword phrase in your H1

HEADER TAG (H2):  The H2 is optional and should be used if there is another section, and it should be placed after the H1.

CONTENT: Google likes meaty meaningful content - not just keywords or products on a page. For the page you'll optimize and land traffic on, be sure to have enough content such as a description of what this page is about or offers, or a write-up for a feature.

EXAMPLE:  Missing that GI Joe Action Figure in your life? Find your favorite retro vintage toy for your collection. From Cabbage Patch dolls to Tin Toys to Carebears, we have the largest selection of vintage toys to choose from, sorted by year and quality. In need of something specific? Use the search box below if you know exactly what you're looking for.

Here is an example wireframe of a page layout with H1, H2, & Content:


I hope these best practices help you. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions, I'm glad to help out any marketer. 

Posted by: Brenda Ton