The Do’s and Don’ts of Metadata

Do you ever wonder how search engines find your website? There’s this thing called metadata, mysterious to many internet users, that tells search engines what’s on your website.

Metadata is data that describes the content of your website.

The blurb that shows up on a search engine page and on social media is metadata, but other than that most non-programmers don’t see metadata.

Metadata makes it easy for your audience to find out what your website is all about and if you can provide the products or services they want.

There are 3 main components to metadata: title, description, keywords.

metadata-101

Search engines stopped using keyword metadata around 2009 as a ranking factor because spammy websites were using keywords unrelated to their content to get lots of page views. But the metadata title and description are still used as ranking factors.

Want to know how to create compelling Meta tags that will help drive traffic to your website? Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when writing them, direct from our team of pro metadata writers.

Title

Do: Keep it short and to-the-point. Search engine results pages will only display the first 55 characters, so make sure you don’t get cut off mid-sentence.

Don’t: Duplicate the title from other web pages within your site. The title should be unique to each page with a keyword describing its contents.

Description

Do: Use a call-to-action. Give readers a reason to view your webpage by telling them what they will get if they click on your link.

Don’t: Try to fool the viewer by stuffing tons of keywords into the description that are not relevant to the information they will find on the page. They will end up exiting your page immediately. Both the viewer and search engines will start to look at your website as one that can’t be trusted, hurting your online reputation.

Do: Provide a solution for the reader. In less than 155 characters, explain how your products or services can help with a problem your audience may have.

Keywords

Do: Use long-tailed keywords because these words have less competition and traffic, yet will direct more targeted Internet searchers to your website.

Don’t: Use generic keywords. While they get hundreds or thousands of searches, they are not specific to your webpage and could get lost in the shuffle with larger, more established websites.

While Meta tags alone won’t help your rank higher in the search engines, they will provide your audience with a snippet of what to expect from the webpage. Keep these tips in mind as you create interesting and valuable content for your audience, or hire a Crowd Content writer to create content with great metadata.

Posted in SEO
Annabelle Dunlap

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Annabelle has been helping websites increase their online presence through digital marketing, blog posts, and website content since 2007. She has written numerous articles on trade show exhibiting, marketing, small businesses, and social media. Her work has been published on business.com, TSNN, Social Media Today, Duct Tape Marketing, and Business2Community.

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Rob Toccs
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Rob Toccs

Learning how to effectively write meta data gives writers a way to provide added value to their customers. It’s not just what’s on the page, but what the computers see too.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Thanks for this guide to metadata! I’m glad that you mentioned that search engines aren’t relying on it anymore- I still get clients who think that as long as their metadata is good, they don’t have to spend too much time on their actual content.

Corbin Bartoli
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Corbin Bartoli

Oh, I know what you mean Georgia. I get clients like that too, and it’s always a struggle when it comes to communication. Thankfully, now we have a good blog post to help with the process. I will surely be showing this to my clients.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I should probably do the same. I had one client who actually decided not to have any text content on the site because metadata would “take care of all of that.” Wow.

melissann
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melissann

I thought the same thing, that metadata was kind, content was second. This is good information to know.

Corbin Bartoli
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Corbin Bartoli

Great guide, Annabelle. Metadata is tricky to learn, and just like all good SEO techniques it takes practice. Still taking the time to learn how to write it will help you in the long run.

Diana Ingram
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Diana Ingram

Great points, Annabelle! I enjoyed the information about keyword metadata ending in 2009 and the over-use of generic keywords. I am still reading outdated material that encourages the use of these, not on Crowd Content of course, but in general on the web. Excellent advice for both clients and writers!

Corbin Bartoli
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Corbin Bartoli

Your local book store will have books about creative writing. Pick a few up and look at them, cross reference for an hour or two. You’ll find that best selling authors actually know quite a bit about about marketing themselves. If you take their advice, along with Annabelle’s wonderful post, you’ll get yourself on the right track.

Peaches VanDyke
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Peaches VanDyke

Thank you for this information, Annabelle! I am beginning to understand why some articles get more attention than others. I especially like the tip regarding the use of long-tailed keywords to thwart competitiors.

melissann
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melissann

I learned about long-tailed keywords a few years ago and I think it’s genius. While still often a guessing game, at least it’s a new strategy.

Ysabel Castillon
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Ysabel Castillon

Thanks for writing this Annabelle. I liked all of the points, especially how keyword metadata isn’t used by search engines any more. This has really enlightened me, and I think it will help in my future content too.

cpatgibson
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cpatgibson

I agree with not stuffing the keywords and description to trick viewers into going on to the website, because it is very disappointing to click on a website, thinking it is the one you want, and it has nothing to do with what you were looking for.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

It’s not just disappointing, it’s a form of fraud.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I agree. The worst thing that I’ve been seeing lately is headlines that say that a celebrity has died, and when you click on it, it goes to something else entirely. And no, that celebrity is not dead. Why do that? It seems awful.

auntieemily
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auntieemily

I like the part about not tricking someone by using keywords that don’t fit with the product. Because, really, what would be the point in doing that. Thanks for sharing.

Bethany A.
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Bethany A.

Good to know that keeping a title short and to the point is the right thing to do!

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