How Does Metadata Affect Your SEO Presence?

Although Google and other search engines are smart enough these days to understand what a webpage is about most of the time, what they show to users in search results can still be inaccurate quite often. This is why accurate and complete metadata is still so important to include on your website to improve your online presence.

Metadata, or “meta tags” as they are often referred to, are elements in the HTML source code of a webpage that provide information to search engines about a page, including its title and a brief description. These elements or tags are then shown to users on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to give them a better understanding of what a webpage is about and if it matches their search query.

In the past, metadata could be easily written to target keywords that weren’t related to the content of the page at all, essentially gaming the system to get rankings for popular keywords. Search engines like Google have advanced a lot since then, and now rank pages based on all of its content, in addition to several other factors like page speed, a user’s location, mobile usability, and links from other websites.

Now if you try to include content in your metadata that isn’t accurate or relevant, search engines may ignore those tags completely and generate their own based on other content they find on a webpage. Search engines also generate their own metadata if you don’t include any metadata on a page at all, as search engines still need to show something to their users. Sometimes the auto-generated metadata can be good, with accurate information about a page. Other times it results in strange snippets of text being used as a meta description, or a page title showing that isn’t accurate or complete.

Rather than leave what your webpage’s search results look like up to chance, it is much better to provide accurate and complete metadata for search engines to use. It can be helpful to think of your metadata like ad copy, with the goal of getting a user to click on your webpage because it is the most enticing and nearest to what their original search was for. It is also important to follow best practices for writing metadata like SEO page titles and meta descriptions so you can be sure yours are used instead of the auto-generated ones.

Even if metadata is not the king of Search Engine Optimization like it once was, it is still a vital component of your overall online presence and cannot be ignored. If you have any questions about your website, it’s metadata, and how it is affecting your online presence, contact us today at 10TH DEGREE.


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