What Is Metadata and How Does It Help With SEO?


April 7, 2022

You might have heard the definition for metadata is “data about data,” or something similar. But that’s a confusing definition and it doesn’t help you understand how important metadata is for your business; especially for content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s take a more in-depth look at what metadata is and how it can benefit your SEO strategy.

What Is Metadata?

Screenshot of GIF that reads "A little meta"

Image via Giphy by @YellowstoneTV

Metadata helps to describe the information on your webpage in a way Google or other search engines can better understand. That includes your landing pages, as well as your blogs, articles, and eBooks. There are two main forms of metadata, including:

  • Descriptive metadata: Basic information about a piece of data. That includes what it is, what it contains, and where or when it was developed. Both people and machines can use this to understand more about a piece of data.
  • Structural metadata: This kind of metadata helps describe where the data or information fits on a larger scale. What are its broad topics and how does it relate to other, similar data?


Where Should You Use Metadata For SEO?

When adding metadata to your website for SEO, there are a few key places to focus:

Title Tags

Title tags are important for your content because they’re one of the first things that search engines scan to understand your content. They explain exactly what topics your webpage covers. They also include the main keyword that your content is targeting. You can find title tags in the HTML code of your webpage by searching for the <title> section at the top of the source code. Web designers often add these tags manually. But most website builders offer an easier way for non-coders to include them on each webpage.

Meta Description

The meta description is a quick summary of what people can find on a webpage or piece of content. They often appear on the search engine results page (SERP) in both mobile and desktop searches. Though meta descriptions have no direct impact on SEO, they can still help increase your page views and traffic. That’s because meta descriptions entice people to click on your page and read your content.

If your descriptions accurately talk about the topic of your content, searchers might be more willing to click on it. When search engines see that people are reading your content, that often helps improve your search ranking.

Image Tags

Similarly, image tags also don’t influence SEO directly. But they do provide search engines with information about the image, like what is and how it appears. Search engines take this information and display these images in other places, like the SERP or in rich snippet sections of Google’s search. Image tags also help to ensure that the image loads correctly and displays to the person viewing your content.

Image Titles and Alt Attributes

Search engines look at image titles and alt attributes for more keywords and other information. This helps to further solidify their understanding of your content. Keywords in your image title might also help the picture show up in image searches. Alt attributes provide a description of the picture or image. This can help make your content serve accessibility needs and provide another place for you to include your main keyword. Just be careful not to use alt attributes for keyword stuffing, or search engines might dock your ranking.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is code that lists information about your company. That can include its name, type of organization, and the products or services it sells. This makes your content easier for search engines to read and understand. It also creates an opportunity for your content to display on featured sections of the SERP. That includes being featured in rich snippets, as well as Google’s knowledge graph, as shown below:

Image via Google

Because schema is a snippet of code, using a web designer is one of the most effective ways to add it to your content. But there are other tools that can help you create and install schema yourself. In fact, there is a range of plug-ins you can use for web-hosting services like WordPress, which currently powers over 42% of the internet. Some of those plug-ins include:


Why Is Metadata Important for SEO?

Screenshot of GIF that reads "It's important work!"

Image via Giphy by @cbs

Search engines crawl your web pages to recognize keywords and other information. Then, they compare that with the metadata to organize your webpage in the SERP. Using metadata boosts your SEO efforts because it’s written in the search engine’s language. This helps search engines better understand the topic of your webpages and content. It also helps them display more relevant results to searchers.

For example, let’s say you write a resource article for your audience titled, “how to change a flat tire.” In the article, you might include a heading two (H2) labeled “how to change a flat tire while on the highway.” Search engines know that the title tag is more prominent than the other heading. That means, they know which piece of information the content is more likely to talk about in-depth.

But ultimately, no matter how much you focus on improving your SEO through metadata, when it comes to improving your ranking, content and well-targeted topics will always be most important. Talk with experts who understand SEO and the best ways to boost your search engine ranking through metadata and beyond. CopyPress has a team of expert writers and editors who know the best practices for search engine optimization and how to boost your campaign with quality copy. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can help you develop excellent, brand-focused written content that captures the attention of your target audience.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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