If you’ve ever been around developers or SEO experts for any length of time, you’ve probably heard them toss around a foundational term: metadata. But what exactly is it and how does it help drive organic traffic to your site? Read on for details.
Metadata: What You Need to Know
Essentially, metadata describes to search engines how the page is valuable and relevant to visitors. Think of it as an elevator statement that provides context to search engines; it allows them to more successfully crawl the page(s).
The stuff (or snippets) that makes up your page’s metadata is what’s called metatags. Metatags, sometimes referred to as structural data, let the search engine know defining features of your page’s content. Metatags are visible only in the source code and not on the page itself; that’s how search engines “read” what your page is about. In essence, metatags are content descriptors for search engines.
Key Aspects of Metadata
Metadata can be broken up into a few core elements, distinguished by their respective metatags: These are the title tag, meta description, and on-page headings. The title tag is what it sounds like: it’s your SERP page title and often includes relevant keyword(s) you’re trying to target. The meta description, while having no effect on SEO ranking, provides a description of the page for visitors. Think of it as a handy call-to-action (CTA) on SERPs and one more thing for search engines to crawl to clue them into page content and intent. Finally, your headings (broken into H1, H2, H3…on down) are on-page elements that constitute the page title and other major topic or subheadings.
How These Aspects Impact Organic Traffic
All of these key pieces of metadata provide search engines “insight” into what your page offers to visitors. A good page title tag will incorporate relevant keywords for your industry that you’re trying to target; this allows for the search engine to understand the page’s content and may reward higher results on SERPs. As mentioned, the meta description does not influence page rankings. However, it does provide even more context and can act as a teaser or CTA for visitors to click into the page on SERPs. Headings (H1, H2, and the like) help with your page’s readability. It’s well-documented that most readers online don’t read the entire page, but rather skip through the headings to find the content they’re looking for. A compelling heading will cause readers to pause and read. Headings can also incorporate relevant keywords, which again can help your page in SERPs. Search engines crawl through the headings to learn even more about the page and its use to visitors.
Increase Your ROI
As always, following SEO best practices helps to drive organic traffic to your webpages. This includes paying attention to, and being intentional with, your metadata. When writing site content, you’re writing for both your visitors and the search engines that help them find and access your content. Supplying metadata for your pages—and optimizing that metadata—helps search engines crawl your page and provide visitors with the content they’re looking for (your page). Contact Uptick Marketing to get the most out of your metadata, as well as all the rest that makes up a successful SEO strategy and implementation. Our SEO experts live for your organic traffic and increased ROI.