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On-page SEO 2: Why is metadata so important for SEO?

In our last blog, we introduced you to the first and all-important stage for On-page SEO: Keyword research. Now that you’re familiar with how to choose the perfect keywords for your brand or company, let’s move to the next crucial stage: Metadata creation for each page of your website.

As always, let’s start with the basics:

What is metadata?

In very simple terms, metadata is how your website communicates with search engine algorithms. The components of each page’s metadata are (mostly) invisible to you and the user, but they tell the search engine what your page is about.

How is this done? Simple: using 2 very important pieces of content: the title tag and the meta description.

(There are many other types of content that go into metadata, but we are talking about simple things everyone can do on their own – not something you need a hardcore expert to fix!)

What are title tags and meta descriptions?

The meta title or title tag is an HTML element that gives the search engine (and the user – more on that below) the name of that particular web page. The title tag should immediately describe what that page is about – like a good headline for an article.

The meta description, on the other hand, gives a short description of the same web page. It can be slightly longer than the title tag, but not too long.

How can I see the metadata of any web page?

There are two ways to do this. One: it’s what you see on a standard search engine results page (or SERP). For example, below is the search result for VersionO’s home page on Google:

Metadata for VersionO.com on Google Search
Meta title and meta description for VersionO.com

As you can see, there is a title and a description, both of which provides information about what that page is about and what we do.

The second way is to right-click on any page you’re on and select VIEW PAGE SOURCE. This will show you the HTML source code of that web page. Over there, you can find the metadata as below (again taking the same example given above):

Page source showing metadata for VersionO.com
Page source showing metadata for VersionO.com

The text between the tags <title> and </title> is our meta title. Below that, the sentences between <meta name=”description” content=” and ” /> is the meta description. These are available in our page’s source code (the ‘back-end’), which is what an algorithm understands.

Always remember: if even one page doesn’t have proper metadata, it’s almost like not having that page on your website at all.

How can I write the correct metadata for my website?

Here are some of our top tips for writing proper metadata:

  1. Get your keyword research right: Because the title and description are great places to use keywords in, you should always know what search terms you want to feature here.
  2. Get the length right: When you search on Google, you will find many results where some of the words are cut off (with a ) on the title and/or description. This is because the metadata given is too long. To avoid this, always limit the title tag to no more than 60 characters. In fact, title tags with about 15 to 40 characters get the highest CTR (click-through rate).1 Similarly, make sure your meta description does not cross 160. Again, simply having a proper meta description enables you to get up to 5% more clicks!1
  3. Don’t stuff too many keywords: Use unique terms as much as possible, and don’t repeat the same keywords in the title and description. This way you can capitalise on as many keyword terms as possible, without making everything sound the same!
  4. Make sure every page has unique metadata: Too often, people take the same title and description content and repurpose it for all the pages of their website. This is a big no-no! You must have unique metadata for each and every page of your website.

If you do these simple things properly, you’d have already gone a long way into helping search engines index your website! Have further questions? Get in touch with us today and we’ll give you a free SEO audit for your website and guide you on how to fix things!

1. Backlinko, Google CTR Stats

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