We take a look at metadata, what it is, why you need it, as well as the different types of metadata.
What is Metadata?
Metadata can be defined in a number of ways, this includes being data that provides information about other data, metadata will summarise basic information about data, this will make finding particular information easier.
Metadata is important, think about when you search for something on Google, the search will have started with the metadata which will have been what you thought about searching for. You will search for a word, meme, place, phrases, name, slang or something else.
The use of meta data on web pages is very important, it will include descriptions of the page’s contents, as well as any keywords that are linked to the content. The metadata will be displayed in the search results by search engineers, this will ensure accuracy as well as the details that are important and will determine whether a user will decide to visit the website or not. The information will be provided in the form of meta tags.
Why do you need Metadata?
Meta tags will be evaluated by a search engine and help decide the relevance and importance of the web page, they have been used to determine positions in search for over 20 years. The increase in search engine optimisation resulted in many websites ‘keyword stuffing’ their metadata, this was to trick search engines into thinking that their website was more relevant than others.
Search engineers have now reduced their reliance on meta, however they are still used when it comes to indexing pages. Search engines may also try to stop web pages’ ability by changing their ranking criteria regularly, Google are notorious for their system updates and changes, this is also referred to as ‘Google algorithms’.
How to create Metadata…
Metadata can be provided manually or it can be automated by processing information, providing it manually during the web design process will ensure that it is more accurate. Users can input the information that they feel is necessary and describe the webpage themself. By using automated metadata, this can include only using and displaying information such as file extensive, file size and when the file was created as well as who created it.
Types of Metadata
There are different types of metadata, some types are worth using regularly and will more than likely increase your traffic by letting Google know who you are and your business. The four types of meta include:
Meta Keywords Attribute - A series of keywords that you think are relevant to the page or blog post.
Title Tag - this the text that will be present at the top of the browser, search engines see this as the title of the page.
Meta Description Attribute - A brief description of the page.
Meta Robots Attribute - An indication to inform search engine crawlers what they should do with the page.
Service and Location Meta
Service and location metadata will include the webpage’s main service keywords as well as the location. You may include a variation of different keywords relating to the service, as well as a call to action or a phrase that will invite search users to click on your webpage. It's also important that you include the location in the metadata.
Here is an example of Service and Location Meta:
Click Through Rate Meta
When it comes to click through rates and metadata, if your page is the first in the SERPs (search engine results page) and few people are clicking through, then your meta hasn’t been optimised effectively. By optimising your meta with a statement, it's likely to improve your organic rankings and become more ‘clickable’, if people click on your search result, then that will create more traffic for you.
Here is an example of Click Through Meta:
The Benefits of Metadata
Metadata is a powerful tool when it comes to SEO and search engine results, as well as your site’s visibility, it’s essential for making sure that your online assets are organised and easy to access and navigate. Without metadata even the most important pages could be ‘lost’ in the large amount of information shown on search engines.
When it comes to SEO the importance of metadata is hard to overestimate, it's essential when it comes to demonstrating the relevance of a website to a search engine. As search engines will evaluate your website according to their purpose, the metadata will provide a way to communicate. Your website will send information to the search engine using the page’s metadata. Most of the metadata that you use on your website will be invisible to the average user, when it comes to communicating with search engines, it's vital.