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Given the following forum post:

Basics of how internals of Construct work

I've used GameMaker in the past. And I know some C++ and have used a few 3d engines with it. I have also looked at Unity, though I didn't get too much into it. So I know my way around programming etc...

My question is, how does construct work internally? I know it allows python scripting, which itself is "technically" interpreted, though python is pretty fast as far as being interpreted goes. But what about the rest? Is the executable that gets cre...

The forum software will take the first 150 chars of the first post as the page meta description, and the title will be the thread title. All ok. So in Google it will appear as:

Basics of how internals of Construct work

I've used GameMaker in the past. And I know some C++ and have used a few 3d engines with it. I have also looked at Unity, though I didn't get too much...

http://www.domain.com/forum/basics-of-how-internals-of-construct-work.html

Now the problem is (not so much with this thread, but other ones) is the first 150 chars don't always create the best meta description. Is it worth my time to cherry pick threads and manually set their description/title tags so they read like:

Internal workings of Construct 2

Events aren't converted to any other language. The runtime is a standalone compiled EXE application, which is optimised and actually very fast. Your events...

http://www.domain.com/forum/basics-of-how-internals-of-construct-work.html

The H1 on the page is still the original title, but we have overridden the title and description to look more friendly on search results.

Is this advantageous forgetting the obvious time cost?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Titles are one of the more important on-page elements and are, in my opinion, worth trying to get as accurate and relevant as possible. It does, however, look like the titles are already relatively optimized in terms of your target audience - they reflect the subject matter in the way your audience would search for it.

Meta descriptions you can leave out (like SE), as if they don't match the query, then Google will just cherry-pick the best matching content that matches.

So it becomes down to and effort/outcome issue - and I'd suggest that you could end up down a rabbits-warren of over-optimization in this case.

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Mike's point about the titles being already optimized relative to how your audience would be searching for them is worth heeding. Your target audience is writing your title tags for you - let them! Now, it might be worth it to append something to the title tag (e.g. a particular relevant keyword that isn't often used in thread titles), but I say leave them as written otherwise. –  tnorthcutt Apr 13 '11 at 12:45
    
@tnort and @mike, thanks, is it worth fixing capitalisation and grammar in titles? –  Tom Gullen Apr 13 '11 at 14:09
    
Objectively, yes (unless it's something like a commonly-used misspelling that is normal for that niche). Subjectively, considering the time it would take, no. –  tnorthcutt Apr 13 '11 at 17:58
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Yes, it's worth your time to write optimized titles and meta descriptions or to have someone else write them. Titles are probably the single most important ranking factor. Meta descriptions aren't counted as a ranking factor directly in google, but are very important to click-through rate, which is a ranking factor.

When writing titles and meta descriptions, don't just try to squeeze as many keywords in there as possible. Use keywords to explain what is on the page and why someone should click to read it. I ike to keep my titles around 55-65 characters and my meta descriptions around 145-155 characters. I also use pipelines (|) in titles to approximate site hierarchy.

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protected by John Conde Sep 26 '12 at 18:36

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