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While focussing on the mechanics of your SEO strategy is all important, businesses must realise that even though metadata is a technical term, it is still all about people. Since the dawning of the Internet, the rush has always been to get to the first page. Marketing folk have told SMEs how vital it is to get in the top ten and anything outside of this will seriously devalue their online presence. There is a degree of truth in this but writing effective metadata is fundamental in not only making sure that the first page of Google is achievable but more importantly that a business can maximise their presence once they are there.
Metadata is the umbrella term for ‘data about data’ in relation to Search engine optimisation. It makes up the listing for a company in the search engine results pages. It should do a number of key tasks. In just a few lines, it should get across to the user the nature of the website, the products, services or information and advice available and above all should give people a motive to click through to the site.
In the early days of the web, writing effective metadata was seen as a way to stuff as many keywords as possible into an element of the website’s structure that is likely to be surveyed by the search engine bots. Now it acts more like a classified advert for the website itself. From a marketing perspective, it represented the idea opportunity to get across the main message or selling point. Metadata can be broken down into two main categories and should give people a snapshot of what is on offer behind that listing.
The title tag is the first thing people see in the search engine results page and is also ever present in the top of the browser when they are online. The title tag should contain target search terms but above all, it should read well. It is here where many developers forget that is it is people who will be using their site and focus on the search bots and rigorous SEO templates. Providing honest title tags will also mean your site remains trustworthy. If an SME clams to offer certain advice or information on their site and the user logs on, only to find an irrelevant sales pitch, the site will lose credibility. Title tags must read well – for people and bots, and needs to contain at least two target phrases and be an accurate representation of what the website is all about.
The meta description is now a crucial aspect of the SEO landscape. It is here where writing for people is more important than ever. Writing effective metadata that is engaging, accurate and compelling descriptions helps your site stand out from the competition. Just a couple of sentences emphasising the message, with target phrases included, followed by a concise call to action will enable any SME’s website to meet their potential on SERPs.
If one thing could be emphasised about metadata, it simply that they are all about people. Technology provides the infrastructure but it’s always people that make the decisions.