“What is Metadata?” It is the most general question that many of us have today. Though people refer it as “metadata” or else “meta data”, both are considered as same terms as per Google search engine. So, let us know what exactly is the metadata, its importance and how does it affects you.
In generals terms it is defined as, Metadata gives the information about the data that is present in a website or a blog post.
Here, the word Meta has a Greek root, which means ‘beyond’ and ‘after’ also extended to ‘about’. ‘About’ is the meaning or definition which is related to blog post or web page and this is the meaning considered in the above definition.
The more accurate definition for the metadata would be, Metadata is the information which you present to the search engine and that is not visible for visitors of the blog or a website i.e., humans can’t view metadata unless they view the source code of the web page.
Why is it Necessary?
To describe the various elements of a blog post or else a blog page, webmasters use this Metadata. With this, search engine algorithm will create the content relevance of that page with the search terms used by visitors in that particular search engine for finding the data or else information.
Metadata in Head and Body Sections of Source Code:
If you observe the source code of a web page it will be in HTML. You can see the source code by righting clicking on anywhere of the webpage and navigating through ‘View Page Source’ from the menu you have seen after the right click. It is the browser that automatically converts the source code in to a web page or a blog page.
Metadata in ‘Head’ Section
The source code of a web page contains ‘Head’ section at the top. It tells the browser that it shouldn’t be visible for humans. However it is visible for spiders of the search engine which crawl your blog or website and uses the Metadata that is present in the Head part for calculating the relevance to any of the search terms used by people.
Metadata in ‘Body’ Section
Below the head section you can find ‘Body’ section which is visible to the people. But, humans can’t see some Metadata in the body section too which is used for SEO purpose and is visible only for search engines.
Importance of Metadata:
Metadata can be of many forms and huge portion of it is generated by using the software by the webhosting service. It is better not to change them rather you can change the below mentioned elements.
Mainly there are four important forms of Metadata or Meta tags which are essential for your SEO and which can affect your search engine rankings. Though some of them are common, some may not be familiar to you. It is necessary that you need to check the content of these Meta tags and make sure that they match with your focused keyword or the blog post that you looking to rank in the search engine. The four Meta Tags and their importance is as shown below.
Page Meta Title Tag
This tag appears in the ‘Head’ section of the source code for the web page or a blog page / post. In this tag, you must use the main or principle phrase or else a keyword as it is the major and the first one the Google indexing as well as ranking algorithms will look for.
In the Google search engine results pages (SERPS) of Google for any search term, you can see the title for any listing that is copied from Title tag. Google will take the fixed width of title from the title tag. If it exceeds the limit, the title will be displayed with ‘….’ in place of last word of the title. So, it is necessary that the page title should be of fixed width as per the search engine.
If you are unable to provide the Title tag, Google will take the snippet of the content or text from the web page which may or may not be reader friendly.
Description Meta Tag
The description Meta tag should have the main theme of content of your blog post or page with the phrase or keyword according to your theme. This content is displayed just below the Title in the Google SERPs. Same as the title tag, if you don’t provide the description tag, Google will take first few words that are relevant to the search term.
Metadata in Body
Many people are unaware of this Metadata in body which is nothing but ‘Alt’ attribute. They generally think that Metadata appears only in the Head section. This ‘Alt’ attribute is used in the HTML source code for audio, video or for image files.
Robots Meta Tag
It enables you to control how each page of your website of blog is indexed in your search engines. If you have any restrictions or if you don’t want to include a page in the index of your Google search engine, then you need to place the Meta tag with meta name as ‘robots’ and content to ‘noindex’ in the Head section of the source code.
If you don’t have any restrictions, it is not necessary to use this attribute and Google will visit every page of your website. Though, Google will prefer you for including the robots.txt in the root directory of your website.
Keywords Meta Tag
Google will not use this keyword Metadata. It even doesn’t affect your rankings. So, you don’t have to consider this or else if you feel it is necessary, you can include six main keywords. Though they don’t improve rankings, they are helpful for blogs that are being searched with specific keywords.
These are the four Meta tags that have an important role in the Google SERPs. As metadata is directed to Google search engine, it is very particular in carrying out your instructions and applying it on such data. So, make sure that your instructions are clear so that it directs to the important areas of your website.