SEO 101 - Metadata

Published: 19/09/2019 by Tamara Edgar

So you are back, young Cyber-space-walker, much to learn you still have and in this article focus on Metadata, I will.

 
 
 

As with everything SEO related, metadata is much simpler than the term makes it sound. Metadata is usually broken down into Meta-title and Meta-description, both are very important for your SEO campaigns. (There are other tags too, but we will not be discussing the technical side in this article, that will come later.)

So what is metadata?


Here’s an example. The title highlighted is the meta title and the short description below is the meta description.

They are very short summaries of your page and what it’s about. Imagine old school library cards, that’s how they work. They give search engines a short and clear description of what the content of the page is about. Each page on your website must have a meta description and a meta title, they usually are editable through the CMS you work with.

How should I write meta data?

Length is very important. You shouldn’t go over the recommended length. As of 2019, Google has confirmed that title should be 70-71 characters and as for meta description it can be up to 300 characters. However, not all of those characters will be shown in the Google SERP so under 200 is usually recommended.

Make sure they include keywords. We’ve talked about this before, when optimising your website, the best practice is to research keywords and then group them by page. Make sure each web page works for a separate set of keywords, and you need to make sure one or two of the main keywords make it into the meta description.

DO NOT overstuff your copy. Overstuffing keywords in your metadata is a bad practice. So make sure ensure it is nice and clean and truly descriptive of what the page content is about.

DO NOT duplicate your meta descriptions. Each page needs to have its own unique metadata and your job is to ensure that the metadata hasn’t been duplicated. You wouldn’t have two identical pages on your website, would you? So you should make sure your meta description and title describe each individual page accurately.

Is it just for bots and crawlers?

No. Bots and crawlers index your metadata and store it, when a search is performed they serve it on the SERP. But it’s the humans who click on it. There is no point ranking high if no one clicks through to your website. (CTR rate is also a ranking factor)

Your metadata needs to be descriptive, well structured and clickable for humans.

Lastly, update your meta description as you update your pages, make sure it describes and summarises what the page is about. Keep an eye on your rankings and keep in mind you might need to adjust your metadata even more.

If you have any questions or would like us to write another SEO 101 guide, drop us a line or comment.