Having a website is step one for a successful business nowadays. But the real challenge is getting that site seen and ranked high on search engines, because that’s how your customers will find you.
The key to this is search engine optimization (SEO), and a big part of that is using metadata.
What’s metadata? How do you use it? And how does it help your SEO? In this article, Oshara, your go-to SEO agency in Montreal, answers all these questions.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is crucial for SEO. It’s info about your web page that you tell search engines like Google.
So, when someone Googles “SEO optimization in Montreal,” Google looks for pages with info like “SEO optimization” in Montreal. This info is in the metadata.
In our example, the metadata of our “SEO optimization in Montreal” page tells Google to put the page at the top of search results.
Metadata is like tags (also called data sets or data about data) that describe your site’s pages and summarize the content for search engines and users.
Metadata can be descriptive metadata and administrative. The descriptive metadata is what we explained above, it’s metadata that explains the elements or the structure of a page.
On the other hand, the administrative metadata is metadata about security and privileges on the website, like who owns that data, what privilege do you need to edit the data and so on.
When you create pages and articles, writing metadata is crucial because it affects how your site shows up in searches.
Different Types of Metadata
There are different types of metadata like keywords,file names, different tags, but Meta-Title and Meta-Description are the most important.
This is what you see on the search results page when you search on your favorite engine. This info is a big deal for users, as they use it to decide if your content is what they want.
So, be careful when writing titles and descriptions. Google likes titles and descriptions because they give clues about what’s on the web page.
SEO keywords are the words and phrases users type in search engines.
Using these strategically in your site’s metadata and content is vital for better visibility and search rankings.
But don’t go overboard – using too many keywords, known as “keyword stuffing,” can get you penalized by search engines. Stick to using keywords naturally.
The Title (Meta-Title)
The title of your page, or meta title, is what your page is called. Search engines recognize and show this. Don’t mix it up with your content title.
Keep your meta title under 70 characters for a good look on Google. Since it’s how your page is known, each page needs its own unique meta title.
Using the same title on multiple pages can hurt your search rankings. In short, each page should have its own unique meta title.Example: <head><title>Example Title</title></head>
SEO Optimization of Your Title (Meta-Title)
It’s crucial that your meta title includes the main keyword of your content, preferably placed near the beginning.
When it comes to keywords, it’s best to stick to just one in the title to avoid overdoing it.
Consider adding numbers to your meta titles, like “5 proven strategies for producing quality content in 2023.” Numbers grab attention and give your content a clear structure.
Additionally, think about using questions in your meta titles. Titles like “How to succeed…?” can spark users’ curiosity and entice them to click for the answer.
Lastly, infuse emotion into your meta titles. A headline that elicits an emotional response is more likely to grab the user’s attention than a standard one.
This could involve creating excitement, surprise, curiosity, or any other feeling that prompts action.
The meta description, as the name suggests, summarizes your web page, providing an overview of what visitors can expect.
Don’t overlook this tag, as it can influence the user’s decision to click and visit your page.
Users often read the meta description to gauge whether your page will answer their search query. So, it’s vital that your meta description is accurate and appealing to attract users.
This tag plays a crucial role in your SEO strategy because the more users click on your page, the more Google sees you as offering quality content and favors you in search results.
Like meta titles, each meta description should be unique. Every page on your site should have its own specific meta description. Avoid duplicating the meta description of one page on others, as this could harm your SEO.
Here’s an example of a meta description: <meta name=”description” content=”This is an example of a meta description. This will often show up in search results.”>
SEO Optimization of Your Meta Description
One crucial aspect to consider is including your main keyword in the meta description. The description should guide the user to find what they are looking for.
Avoid copying and pasting. Search engines can detect duplicate content, and in such cases, they won’t value your content. It’s recommended to take inspiration from others while maintaining originality in your writing.
Use incentive sentences. The meta description plays a decisive role because it can encourage the user to view your content or not.
It’s essential to spark the user’s interest and prompt them to click on your page through your description.
Social Meta Tags
Social meta tags, also known as Open Graph tags for Facebook, and Twitter Cards for Twitter, play a crucial role in optimizing your content for social sharing.
These tags give you control over how your website information is displayed when your pages are shared on popular social networks.
Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards let webmasters control the image, title, description, and URL that appear when their page is shared.
For instance, if you want to ensure that a specific image is used when a user shares your page on Facebook, you can use an Open Graph metatag to specify that image.
The Robots meta tag is used to give instructions to search engine crawlers on how they should process a specific web page. Directives can include “noindex,” “nofollow,” “noarchive,” and others.
- “Noindex” This guideline states that a page, media file, or resource should not appear in search results. Without this instruction, the page, media file, or resource could be indexed and appear in search results.
- “Nofollow” This instruction indicates that you should not follow the links on this page. If this rule is not specified, Google could use these links to find and index other related pages.
- “Noarchive” This tag orders not to display a cached version in search results. If this directive is not specified, Google could generate a cached version of the page, accessible to users through search results.
The Meta Language
This tag tells search engines the language used for the page content, aiding in understanding and targeting users searching in a specific language.
For instance, “fr” signifies French content, and “en” denotes English, and so on.
These tags assist in specifying the geographic location tied to the page’s content, including the country, region, or city. They help geographically target your content in search engines.
Certain platforms like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, or Pinterest require a site verification tag to confirm ownership.
Although invisible to users, these tags are crucial for platform verification.
This tag specifies the author of the page content.
While not directly used for ranking, it contributes to establishing the authority and credibility of content.
The Ranking – Voting
Certain meta tags, like Schema.org tags, let you specify ranking information, such as votes or ratings for a product.
This information can appear as rich snippets in search results, enhancing visibility and click-through rate.
The Viewport Meta Tag
The Viewport meta tag controls the layout on mobile devices, crucial for responsive design.
For instance, <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″> instructs the browser to scale the page width to the device screen width and set the initial zoom level to 1.
The Charset Meta Tag
The Meta Charset tag is vital for specifying the character encoding of a web page, ensuring correct display.
Placed at the beginning of the HTML document, it looks like this: <meta charset=”UTF-8″>.
The choice of character encoding impacts how text, especially with special or non-English characters, is displayed.
The significance of metadata cannot be overstated. Regardless of your content’s quality, neglecting metadata risks lower-quality pages being favored in search results.
Drafting metadata should be approached seriously. Mastering this aspect, coupled with offering quality content, increases your chances of ranking first in search results.
If you find this task challenging, look into our web marketing services to improve your search engine positioning.