Metadata: What is it?

Metadata describes provides information about a certain item’s content. These are some characteristic metadata elements: [1]

·         Title and description,

·         Tags and categories,

·         Who created and when,

·         Who last modified and when,

·         Who can access or update.

There are several different kinds of metadata.

There are metadata in database, metadata in SAP, SEO metadata, image metadata, etc. For example:

·         SEO metadata describes unseen HTML elements that directly communicate and clarify website information for search engines.[2] These elements include description tags and other protocols, page titles, and may describe characteristics, general content, and purposes.

·         According to the DAMA International Data Management Book of Knowledge, database metadata “includes information about technical and business processes, data rules and constraints, and logical and physical data structures.”[3]

·         Document metadata may contain information about how long the document is, who the author is, when the document was written, and a short summary of the document.

·         Image metadata include descriptions on how large the picture is, the color depth, the image resolution, when the image was created, and other data.

Metadata Elements for SEO and Social Media

A search engine’s job is to crawl a web page and interpret its relevancy to a given search query;[4] metadata enables you to tell search engines what a page’s title and purpose is – allowing for more relevant search results.  Metadata not only tells search engines what the purpose of the page, it also can be what Google uses to describe your web page in the search results, see example image below.


Meta tags include basic keywords and descriptions that summarize the page content. Such tags include:


·         Title tags, an important search engine-ranking factor and should include most relevant keywords, product, and article name.

·         Image tags, which identify URLs and provide related text, measurements, and SEO signals.

·         Canonical tags, which consolidate similar pages and attribute the value to one, reducing the likelihood of duplicate content and providing straightforward user experience.

·         Structured data denote aspects of content that help promote them within Google search results.


Using Metadata to Drive Website Traffic

Metadata does amazing things for SEO and driving traffic to your website.

Remove Duplicate Content

You might be thinking that canonicalization isn’t really something to cause major concern. The problem is that search engines operate on the assumption that every unique URL is a separate page. Many sites automatically add tags, allow multiple paths to the same content, and add URL parameters for searches; so, you may have several of duplicate URLs on your site and not even realize it. The canonical tag points to the one page that is the authoritative source of the content from every URL that contains the same content. It is important to also remember that the same content in different URLs hurt search result rankings. So canonical tags are even more important for metadata as sometimes you have products or content that can be found on multiple URLs and websites, as canonical tags allow you to have the same content in your URL as other sites without harming your website ranking.[5]

Mobile Metadata for SEO

Metadata is critical when you have separate sites for mobile and desktop devices. Metadata helps in determining device and visual mobile devices.[6]Acting again as a form of canonical tag, the mobile viewport is important to displaying websites at the appropriate width for whatever device the customer is using, as opposed to displaying a tiny version of a full-sized desktop website, and each page would contain a tag referring to the other page as its twin.



Nearly all metadata is invisible to visitors, so write your metadescription as a default description for search engines to use when crawling your page. Good metadescriptions give users a brief overview of what your website is about, as well as a persuasive reason to click the title tag. However, you do not necessarily need to hurry and make sure all of your pages have metadescriptions. For one, search engines automatically create these descriptions by pulling from the content of your page. So, your main reason to create your own description would be to optimize your page for certain keywords or just focus on the pages that get the most user traffic. Take your top pages and ask, “Is there a way we can improve the click-through rate?”



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