The importance of metadata for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
As a business owner or marketing manager you will know the importance of having a website, and with that you will probably have been told that each page needs metadata to help with its SEO performance. But what is metadata? What does good metadata look like? Why is it so important to your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines? And how is it included in our digital marketing retainers? In this article, we will explain all of this.
What is SEO?
We will start off with the basics, as they will always be the foundation of your knowledge. If you don’t know what SEO is, how will you understand the importance of metadata as part of it?
Search engine optimisation is optimising your website so that a search engine such as Google can match your content to relevant search terms being used by an audience.
What is metadata?
Metadata is what describes the content on your webpage to Google and other search engines. Every page on your website should have metadata, from any landing pages, to blogs, contact pages and even your home page.
This information doesn’t just help the search engines know what is on your page though. It is also the content that is shown on a results page when you show up for a searched term. The meta-title and meta-description show up on the results page, giving any searcher an insight into the content being offered up by your website in relation to what they have searched.
Where should you use metadata for SEO?
There are a few places where metadata should be added.
You should give your pages and any blogs a specific SEO title. Often these are generated from the title you give the page, but you can amend them yourself should you wish. At CW Marketing we recommend a Yoast plugin to help with this. These are the first content that any search engine scans to gauge what your content is about. These should explain what topics your page covers and should include your main keyword that the content is targeting. Try to keep a title tag to around 60 characters long.
As part of your digital marketing retainer, we include SEO title tags in writing content.
The meta description is a short summary of the content on your page. These are the small snippets that you often find on a Google search results page that sit beneath the title. These help increase traffic going to your website as they can entice a searcher to click onto your content and read. The optimum length of a meta description is between 150 and 160 characters, so it is advisable that your descriptions stick to this length.
This is why it is important for your descriptions to include a keyword that you are targeting as it will help the searcher see why your webpage is relevant to their search term. If they can see it is relevant, they are more likely to click on it and when search engines see your links are being viewed, your content’s ranking can start improving.
If your digital marketing retainer with us includes writing content and adding it to the website, we will write relevant meta descriptions to go with the content.
Image tags and alt tags
Image tags are important as the search engine uses these to identify the URLs for the images to be shown on your page. The alt tags provide search engines with information about what is in an image and how it appears. These help anyone with a visual impairment understand what the image is on the page.
A search engine will look for image tags and alt tags for more keywords and other information. It helps the search engine further understand your content and its topic. Adding keywords into these could help your content rank on a search result page. These are great places to get your keywords in, but be careful not to use them for keyword stuffing because search engines are likely to penalise you for that.
Similar to the meta descriptions and titles, we will include adding alt tags to images we add to your content in any digital marketing retainers.
Schema markup is code that lists information about your company. It often includes details such as name, type of organisation and products and services that you offer. This is another way that search engines can understand what is on your webpage, and can often create an opportunity for your content to be shown on featured sections on search results pages.
Why is metadata important for SEO?
Search engines use bots to crawl your website and find keywords in your content. They compare what they find from crawling your website, to your metadata. Then, they use this to rank your webpage in the search engine results page.
Metadata will help get your content ranking because it is talking to the search engines in their own language. You can think of it as you going abroad to France and ordering a coffee in french. You will get the coffee because they (hopefully) understand the language you are speaking.
If your metadata is showing that your content is relevant for the keyword being searched, then the search engine will serve your content up for it. But this will only happen if your metadata contains your keywords.
Examples of metadata
Of course it is all well and good us telling you what good metadata should look like but we often find that examples are far more helpful. So below are a few examples that we have written for clients recently.
- Chiropractic Services | Ringwood & Verwood | Body Consultancy
- Values | Country Lodge Nursing Home | West Sussex
- Getting your garden autumn ready | AMS News
- Looking for a Chiropractor in Ringwood or Verwood? We treat a whole range of conditions, book online or call 01425 473093.
- View our core values and meet the management team. To come and see what we have to offer at Country Lodge Nursing Home, call 01903 830600.
- Avon Material Supplies are your perfect partners when getting your garden autumn ready. Check out our tips here.
The image above shows the meta title and meta description that appears on a google search result page. If these show a searcher that your content matches what they are looking for, they will click on it, which is why it is important to get keywords into these elements.
Looking for an extra hand?
This article includes some fairly technical information in it, and this isn’t all you need to be focusing on to get your content ranking. If you are struggling to get your content ranking for specific keywords, we can help you. Our digital marketing retainers include SEO tasks, such as writing keyword focused articles, optimising metadata and keyword research.