SEO Basics – Metadata

4 Common Questions About Metadata

If you don’t speak the language of HTML coding, trying to understand metadata might seem a little bit like attending an Italian opera when you only speak English. You might be able to figure out the basics from the few facial expressions you can decipher, but you don’t ever feel like you truly understand what’s going on.

Fortunately you don’t have to do this alone; working with the right Salt Lake City Internet marketing company is like having closed captioning so you know exactly how to maximize your online presence. Here are four common questions that people have when it comes to metadata, and some answers (hopefully in plain English) that will help you gain a little bit better understanding.

What is Metadata Anyway?

The term “metadata” is a catch-all for a variety of different titles, tags, and descriptions within your website. While there are a lot of components to a successful SEO strategy, metadata is perhaps the most basic and also one of the most neglected. To maximize your SEO your website should have several different items, including:

  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • org
  • Open Graph
  • Google Metadata

All of this information is woven into the HTML coding on the back end of your website so the users don’t see it, but search engines can use it to find content that matches a searcher’s keywords and phrases.

Aren't Title Tags and Descriptions, like, so 1999?

Today’s search engines utilize a complex array of algorithms to inspect website content and return results on billions of searches every day, placing much more emphasis on content analysis than search engines did in the mid- to late 1990s. Back in those days meta descriptions were some of the only information available about a website, and thus were used exclusively. The problem with this system was that website designers could put anything they wanted into the metadata fields, which led to many websites being incorrectly classified or identified, and poor search results for the average Internet search user.

The right website marketing firm in Utah will tell you that while they are not the sole factor in search engine rankings, title tags and descriptions are complementary to other SEO efforts and still have a role to play. They don’t hurt your SEO so there is no harm in using them, and there is a potential upside if they are keyword-dense and appeal to search engines.

Title tags and descriptions are also critical for social media sharing, and in the absence of explicit coding that instructs a social media site to use specific information in place of title tags, this is the information that the social media platform will display when a website is shared.

What are Schema.org and Open Graph?

We’re glad you asked. The internet has developed as a kind of “wild west” where there are few standards and even fewer regulations, but Schema.org is a common structured data protocol that major search engines can rely on to search everything, including non-text-based content like online videos or recipes, to find the right information. It can be complex and cumbersome, though, so use a Utah SEO company with experience in website marketing to help you code it correctly.

Open Graph is another standard protocol developed for Facebook and now widely used all over the web to provide information about how content should be shared on social media. Since social sharing is an important way to boost SEO rankings, we think it’s pretty important to have the right Open Graph information programmed into your content

Does Google Have its Own Metadata?

Okay so this might not be something that you would think to ask but we think it’s important enough to address so we are going to pretend like you asked the question and bring it up here anyway. Like many things, Google does have its own metadata that requires specific coding and attention from your Utah SEO company.

The two most important Google-specific meta tags are ones that identify the author and publisher of your website content. Authorship tags, combined with “contributor” information on a Google+ profile, puts an eye-grabbing thumbnail of your face front and center on Google search results for your online content. The publisher tags help link Google+ profiles to websites and can boost SEO.

The volume and complexity of metadata is growing, but it is helping to create order out of web chaos, which streamlines searching and helps people find you online. Making it a permanent part of your SEO strategy will help set your site up for success.

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