What is Website Metadata and Why Do You Need It?Print Now
Metadata affects how a web page appears in search engine results. However, many blogs have poorly structured or missing metadata, both of which negatively impacts their search engine lead generation. “What is Website Metadata?” It’s a common and important question. Learn more about what it is and why you should be evaluating yours.
A meta title appears as anchor text for the links you see in search engine results pages. It also appears in your browser’s window or tab when viewing the page. Optimal titles are under 60 characters including spaces. The title should describe the contents of the page and include a prominent keyword to help search engine rankings. Choose a keyword that also appears in the body of the content. If you use an irrelevant keyword, it confuses Google and can prevent your page from achieving a high ranking.
A meta description should include details about the page, benefits to the reader, and ideally a call to action. It appears below the page title and URL in results pages and is limited to 160 characters including spaces. If the description exceeds this limit, Google may use an ellipsis or replace the description with body content from the web page. A general rule of thumb is to keep meta descriptions between 50 and 156 characters. The more detailed and relevant your meta description, the more likely a user will click on your page. Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn also use meta descriptions as anchor text for links shared across the platform.
A meta keyword is important – it should appear on your title, at the top of your page and in your meta description. Meta keywords are designed to give the search engine an idea of what the content is about. While Google devalued the impact of the meta keyword, it is unclear if Google has stopped utilizing the meta keyword altogether, so many publishers continue to use them.
A keyword can be a single word, e.g., “puppies,” or a keyword phrase, e.g., “puppies for adoption in San Diego.” You can use Google AdWords to research popular keywords and choose a relevant set of keywords and keyword phrases to use in your blog posts. Again, keywords indicate to search engines the top if your page or blog post, and should appear in the body of your content.
Internal and External Links
The more links that lead to a specific page, the more favorably that page will rank in search engines. Internal links direct visitors to other pages on the same website, while external links take users to other websites. Bloggers often include external links to their website or social media pages and may trade guest posts with other bloggers to mutually increase their search engine exposure.
Alt text, or alternative text, is to an image what a meta description is to text. It’s incorporated in HTML code to describe an image on a web page. Alt text helps search engines index images and describe the images if they fail to load. In addition, visually impaired users using text-to-speech software will hear the alt text read aloud and will be better able to understand the content.
By optimizing your blog’s metadata, you can help search engines rank your content and encourage visitors to click through to your site. Each page in your blog should contain unique metadata and incorporate smart SEO practices to maximize exposure.