Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, it’s illegal for anyone to sell recalled products. For retailers of any size, managing product on the shelves or in online offerings is time consuming, and for larger ecommerce companies, it’s nearly impossible without the right data organization. It’s not surprising that some retailers have fallen foul of the 2008 CPSIA act simply because they didn’t have the right processes in place to find and remove recalled product from active listings.
The penalty for selling recalled products can be up to $15 million, but this is only one example of the importance of data organization and tagging. Strong metadata across all your content creates credibility, enhances navigation and user experience, and reduces costs and risks for your brand.
Beyond Titles and Descriptions
Many content marketers stop at the big two: meta titles and meta descriptions. Yes, these are critical branding and SEO tools that you must leverage appropriately for success in the search engines and with organic traffic. Titles and descriptions are about traffic, though: Yoast points out that the main function of these tools is to get someone to move from the search engine to your website.
Once users are on your page, their experience is important too. Bad user experience equals high bounce rates, which makes all your SEO efforts meaningless.
Meta beyond titles and descriptions helps with that. Metadata is any piece of information attached to your digital assets, including tags and categories. You can organize photographs and pictures, text objects, videos, pages, and links with meta. Some common types of metadata include:
- Short descriptions of the digital asset
- Author, photographer, or artist
- Title of work
- Model numbers, SKUs or other product identifiers
- Brand-defined categories
An ecommerce store likely has images of its products, for example. A shop that sells dining chairs might have two images for one listing: one of a single chair and one of the chair in a group at a table. Tagging the images with data such as the height, color, upholstery, style, date added to the catalog and catalog number help you link this information appropriately so users can find it in searches on your site, but it also lets site managers quickly add, remove or otherwise manage image assets during listing processes.
Appropriate tagging and categorization also reduces risks. In the case of recalled products, well-managed inventory and site data lets you pull items from active listings and the shelves quickly.
When Metadata Works Right
Content strategist Michael Andrews calls metadata the secret sauce of relevance.
“I call metadata a secret sauce because when it works right, it’s invisible. You don’t notice the metadata; you just notice that things work right.”
Getting to that magical recipe on your site can be more difficult than it sounds. You have to strike a balance between meta that is functional and the effort it takes to create and maintain it. Adding too little meta doesn’t support you or the user â you see this on sites with dysfunctional search bars, which rarely return what you’re looking for. Add in too much meta, however, and it becomes unwieldy and impossible for your team to manage regularly.
Planning ahead by deciding exactly what you want to do with digital assets lets you define appropriate meta parameters to stay in balance. Use as much meta as you need to get the job done, but never more.
Creating Successful Metadata is a Team Effort
Meta creation and management is a team effort that requires a lot of communication, especially if you work with third-parties to tag or categorize items. Take time to create glossaries, ensure words mean the same to each person working with your data, and develop parameters for applying data tags to avoid errors.
At Crowd Content, we can connect you with hundreds of writers who are adept at crafting high-performing meta titles and descriptions. If you’re looking to go beyond basics, consider reaching out to find out more about our enterprise content solutions.