What Is Metadata And How To Use It When Creating Content
Metadata is used to describe data. It is used when creating website content to describe what a page is about. Metadata helps search engines determine if a page is relevant for a specific topic and helps users decide which pages will be the most relevant for the information they need. Here is what you need to know about metadata and how to use it when creating content.
Meta Description And SERP
What is metadata? Most definitions focus on the meta description of a page. Your meta descriptions are an important part of the metadata you can add to a page since they appear in search results.
A Search Engine Result Page or SERP shows previews from the different results presented to the user who issued a query. The meta descriptions shown as previews help users decide which links they want to explore.
You can add a meta description tag inside of the header of your HTML pages. Write a description between 150 and 320 characters to prevent your meta description from being cut when displayed in search results.
There are a few tips you can follow to create compelling meta descriptions that will make users want to visit your pages:
- Show value. Tell users why they should visit a page and what the benefits of clicking on a link will be.
- Be welcoming. Don’t hesitate to use a tone that is unique to your online branding strategy.
- Use calls to action and offers as long as they are relevant to the content users will find on your pages.
- Pay attention to the meta descriptions of other results and the copy of the AdWords ads displayed for the keywords you target. Create a meta description that stands out when displayed among these results.
- Run some tests to get an idea of which meta descriptions generate the most visits.
Keep in mind that your meta description is displayed under your page title and URL. If you use good titles and URLs, users should already have an idea of what your page is about.
Your meta description can include keywords that appeared in your title and URL but there is no need to repeat the page title or URL in your meta description. Focus on writing a compelling text that will give users a reason to click on your link.
Metadata And SEO
You can use another meta tag in the header of your HTML pages to add keywords that describe your page. These meta tags are one of the many elements used by search engines to determine how relevant your content is for a specific search.
The meta tags you use should be relevant to the content of a page. Don’t use keywords that don’t naturally appear throughout your page.
Do some keyword research to get an idea of which keywords and phrases are popular among the audience you want to target. Pay attention to the keywords used by your competitors.
Add some longer phrases to your meta tags to convey more specific intents, especially if your content is about selling products. Make sure you list your most important keywords and phrases first when creating meta tags.
Don’t overuse keywords and don’t stuff your meta tags with keywords. Adding unrelated keywords to your meta tags could hurt your rankings in search results.
Keep in mind that the keywords that occur naturally in your content have a more significant impact on search result rankings. There are many other factors that impact your search engine rankings and metadata is only one of them.
Other Important Metadata Elements
Search engines and users will look at other metadata elements when making a decision about your content. Your URL and the titles of your pages are among the most important metadata elements when users decide whether or not they want to click on one of your results.
Create a website architecture that is logical and easy to manage. Each page should have a unique URL that reflects what the page is about.
Your URLs are a very important element of your online branding strategy. Choose your domain name carefully. Ideally, users should remember your domain name and understand what your website is about the first time they see your domain name.
Using relevant keywords for the URLs of your different subpages will help users decide if a link is going to be useful when they look at search results.
Be careful when using subdomains. They can be a convenient way to organize your content, but search engines will consider your subdomains as different websites and might have different ranking signals for each subdomain. It is best to use folders and logical paths to organize your content.
Place your stronger keywords towards the beginning of your URLs, use hyphens to separate words and avoid creating URLs that are too long to be entirely displayed in search results.
You can use folder names with relevant keywords for your different categories and use your page titles to create unique URLs. This strategy will work if you know how to create descriptive titles that contain all your important keywords.
Take the time to create a compelling title for all your pages. Your titles should be rich in keywords and include the name of your brand if possible.
Try creating titles that are between 50 and 60 characters long to make sure they are displayed in their entirety in search results. Your titles are the most noticeable elements shown on SERPs. Make sure your titles are attention-grabbing and repeat keywords from the user’s search if possible.
Avoid stuffing your titles with keywords. This will look unnatural and users might get the impression that your content is spammy and avoid your pages.
Ask yourself which information will help users make a decision about visiting each subpage. This will help you figure out which information needs to be included in your titles.
Your page titles are probably one of the most important metadata elements since they are the first thing users notice in search results. Don’t hesitate to run some tests and see what kind of titles generate the most clicks for your content.
Writing titles that grab a user’s attention is a good strategy, but keep in mind that titles should be informative and give users an accurate idea of what your content is about and which goals it will help them achieve.
Metadata In Your Content
Metadata should appear in your content to provide useful information. For instance, an article can have a publication date, the name of the author, a byline for the author, or a link to the author’s social media profiles.
If you are creating content for a blog, add information about the category each post belongs to so readers can easily find more content they will be interested in.
The metadata you should add depends on the type of content you are creating and what the purpose of this content is. Ask yourself what kind of information would help a user decide if they want to take the time to read the content to determine what should be included in the metadata.
You can also add alt tags throughout your content to describe elements such as images, videos, and interactive elements. You can write an inline description of the visual content instead of using alt tags.
Adding keywords to the alt tags of an image can help with SEO, but it is also a good practice in case the content can’t be properly displayed or if a user is visiting your page with an assistive screen reader.
Metadata And Social Media
What is metadata? Most definitions focus on how metadata will impact your rankings in search results. It is true that taking the time to create useful metadata for your content will have a positive impact on how your pages rank in search results.
However, metadata is also valuable because it is useful for users who want to get an idea of what your content is about before deciding if they want to visit your website. This is why metadata is particularly important if you use social media to share your content.
You can use social media to share links and drive more traffic to your site or blog. Users who have already connected with your brand on social media might follow these links or share your content with their friends.
The metadata displayed on social media when you share links typically includes a short description of the page and an image. You can control which metadata is displayed thanks to features like Twitter Cards or Facebook Open Graph. You can also use the og:image tag when creating a Facebook post to add the URL of the image you want to display in your post.
Other social media platforms don’t have a dedicated feature to help you control the metadata displayed when you share links. Use the meta description tag and add a main image to each page so that an interesting preview of your content can be automatically generated when you share links on social media.
Taking the time to add metadata to your social media posts will make them more noticeable, especially if you add images.
What is metadata? Metadata is the combination of different elements you can add to your pages to describe their content. Take the time to add metadata to all your pages to improve your rankings in search results and help users find relevant content.