It’s the first Arts Analytics post in a little while so I thought I’d go with something simple. I wanted to look at how many of the arts organisations in my sample group have been diligent in making sure their homepages have:
- Title tags
- Meta description
- Meta keywords
I was also interested in seeing how they were using those things.
Finding this information is easy, if you want to do it yourself. Right-click anywhere on a web page and (in Chrome – other browsers may vary) click ‘View Page Source’. Then search for title, description and keywords to see what’s been added.
Here’s what I found, with organisations sorted alphabetically.
To explain the colour coding, I’ve gone with a traffic light scheme – green is good (only added here for descriptions of a good length), yellow means there’s room for improvement and red is bad (although you can ignore that as far as keywords are concerned for the reasons below).
- 100% have a title
- 9% of those titles are too long
- 88% have a meta description on their homepage
- 31 of those 88 meta descriptions are too long
- 56% have keywords
- If an organisation’s homepage has no meta description, it won’t have keywords either.
What it all means
Google announced all the way back in 2009 that keywords and descriptions have no bearing on search engine results. So what’s the point in looking at these three things?
This one’s very important. Definitely make sure this says the right thing. It’s one of the most important signals that search engines look at when working out what a page is about. It’s also the thing that shows up at the top of an entry in search engines. For instance, in the example below it’s the bit that says ‘Institute of Contemporary Arts’.
Not important in terms of getting your website up the search results, but more relevant to persuade people to click on it when they see it. In the example above, the meta description is the bit of copy under the URL. If someone shares a page on Facebook there’s also a good chance this is the copy that’ll be used (if nothing else is specified).
This one’s really not important from an SEO perspective. In fact I only included in because I was interested to see what people are doing. The only thing I could think of is if your site was reported for dodgy SEO practices – having a surfeit of spammy keywords might not endear you to a human reviewer. Walsall Art Gallery go a bit overboard with theirs, but at least they’re mostly relevant.
Here’s what I’d do:
- Make sure you’ve got a title tag. It should be less than 70 characters long and should describe the main thing about that page. In the present case I’d just go with the name of your organisation.
- Add a meta description. Don’t go over 155 characters and bear in mind that it’ll be seen by people searching on Google or flicking through Facebook. Entice them to click your link!
- Seriously, don’t bother with keywords unless you’ve got too much time on your hands.
I’ve only talked about homepages here. The only thing to add about applying this to other pages on your site is to ensure that titles and descriptions are unique for each page.
If you want to get into this in more depth (and there are all sorts of ways to complicate this) then there are plenty of guides out there. This guide from Moz is as good as any.