If you’re new to the website design process, you may have heard the word “metadata”, but passed over it without an urgency to understand. And although Optuno may be developing your website, the level of daily control you have over your website, particularly through our proprietary and extremely easy-to-use content management system (FICMS), means you really need to understand metadata.
What Metadata Is—and Isn’t
Metadata is an HTML “tag” that describes the information on each page of your website. It tells search engines what your pages are about. Naturally, these “tags” should be consistent with the content of your pages. Just two examples:
- Title Tag—Also called the “page title”, is the text you see on the tab of your browser; it's the first text that shows up on a search engine query. It might not mirror the exact headline on the page, but it should contain the most important keyword(s) about what’s on that page. Relevance is essential, as is location data if your business wants local customers. So if you’ve got a Baklava in Winslow, Arizona, you want those words in the title tag. For SEO best practices, make sure to keep your title tag under 70 characters (including spaces).
- Description Tag—In search engine results lists, the meta description comes right after the page title. It should generally be between 100 to 155 characters (including spaces) and describe what the page is about, using the most relevant keywords. Here are a couple of helpful sites that break down title and description tag best practices: http://www.typetools.co.uk/google-tool and/or https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description.
These tags tell search engines what your website, and each page on it, is about so they can give searchers accurate results. They’re an essential element of your SEO strategy.
But metadata shouldn’t be your entire SEO strategy. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo constantly change how they handle these tags—sketchy website owners previously abused these tags to mislead people to their pages without providing relevant, matching, quality content. Search engines are constantly trying to ensure the metadata matches the content.
Metadata for Internal Use
You can also use metadata to track your website’s organization, indexing and updating needs in-house. Using a content management system (like FICMS that Optuno provides) empowers you to add more metadata than just the page title and description. You can add other fields such as keywords, author, and important dates like publish, expiration and review dates.
We recommend using as many of the metadata tags as makes sense for your website—it'll help you track and refresh your content as your company grows. Let us know if you have questions!