This website design racket can get more complicated than you might think. There are many different aspects of it that business owners neglect. For example, some barely understand their website metadata and use it poorly. Do not fall into this trap!
What Is Metadata?
Website metadata is best understood as the data that describes other data. If that sounds confusing, think about it as the information that translates your website pages so search engines could understand them. This way, metadata makes your site easier to find among your various competitors on the market. It is fairly simple to write and implement, but many companies simply ignore it.
So how do you sort out your website’s metadata? There’s a lot that goes into it, but the basics are pretty easy to understand. Let’s go over them point by point.
You know those clickable headlines that come up whenever you Google for something? Those are SEO titles, sometimes simply called page titles. People write them to summarize the content available on the page. Search engines rely on them to decide whether a page is relevant enough to include among other search results.
So how do you write an SEO title? It’s actually part of your page’s HTML code. The text that you put inside <title> tags becomes the title of your page. But don’t go overboard when writing these! A good SEO title shouldn’t go over 60 characters, including spaces. For example, the title of our blog page is,
Blog | Dotcom Design | Web Design & Digital Marketing.
That’s 53 characters, just enough for Google to display on a search result page when someone searches for “web design blog“.
But what if you need more space to describe what’s on your page? For that, you can use…
Also appearing on Google’s search result pages, SEO descriptions are short pieces of text that follow each title. Also known as meta descriptions, they describes what can be found on the website in a few short sentences. You put them inside the <meta> tags of your page’s code, and keep the length within 150-160 characters.
For example, the meta description of our blog is as follows:
Read our latest blog articles and learn more about web design and digital marketing. We equip business owners to flourish!
This helps people decide whether they want to click and visit our blog or not. But wait, you might be asking, how does Google pick which website to put on top of each search page?
They use various criteria, but for the purpose of this article, let’s simplify and say they do it based on…
Keywords and Website Metadata
Technically, keywords are more than metadata – they’re regular data too. (What we mean is, they appear on the webpage itself.) Here we’ll focus on the function that keywords have specifically within metadata.
Put simply, keywords are search terms. If people search for “clown shoes”, Google scours the web and shows them the pages that contain the keyword “clown shoes”. In practice, this means that a manufacturer of clown shoes needs to mention the words “clown” and “shoes” on his website. Obvious enough, sure, but often neglected.
In our blog example above, we made sure to have the words “web design” and “digital marketing” mentioned in the SEO title and the SEO description. We’re telling Google to send the people searching for these topics our way. Trust us, we’re saying, no one knows more on this than us!
But wait, you ask again, isn’t every website in the world doing this? Aren’t businesses competing against each other over who gets to the top of the search results page? Yes and yes. It’s a crowded field, which is why you can’t afford to neglect it.
Why Does Website Metadata Matter?
As mentioned above, metadata helps make your website easier to find. But that’s not all it does. As an invisible code, metadata lurks beneath the HTML of your pages and communicates important information. It speaks directly to Google and other search engines, letting them know how good your content is and how well organized the whole site is.
Acting on the basic principles outlined here can help you avoid some common pitfalls. For anything beyond that, you will need web designers and SEO experts.
If you’re having a hard time creating high-quality metadata for your website, don’t hesitate to call on a reputable digital marketing firm. When it comes to their skills, understanding metadata and using it efficiently should be just the tip of the iceberg!