Monday, September 29, 2008

Introduction to quality of website metadata

We know, and it's said so many times earlier by many experts, website popularity relies mostly on inbound links. Still, the content is the king. Metadata is part of the content. Very ofter metadata fields are empty and not optimized at all.

SEO-relevant metadata fields
  • Title
  • Descriprion
  • Keywords
  • Headings (H1, H2 ...)
Metadata is describe in HTML code in the beginning of each web page. Usually it's filled by web page designer, but they do nothing, until told exactly what to put there. If You write web pages using WYSIWYG editors, You also might not find these fields, but they are there in page properties etc.

Title
Title data is shown on web browser title bar and in search engine results. Its good to have few relevant keywords in the title. As title is short, don't use over 60 characters, be focused. Title is very inportant meta element from SEO prospective.

Description
Description is max 200 characters long abstract descriprion of the page/website and is shown in SERPS right after the title. Description should correlate strongly with Title, Headings and page content.

Keywords
Keywords are not so important, as people tend to think, Still, add some 5-20 keywords or phrases, not more. Some sources say, that overall keyword's size can't exceed 800 bytes. Using too much keywords seems like keyword stuffing and Google does not like it. Good trick is to add some specific and original, not so universal keywords. Some keywords can be so-called "poison words", You may check them using metadata tools below.

Headings
Every page may have many H1 - H3 headings. It's important, that headings contain relevant information, containing keywords and professional words from pafe content.

Google advises -- if Your page is well written for human, focused and using good professional language, the is no need to look further. It's kind of true, but still, check meta-tags.

There is 2 ways to check meta tags:

Easy - use web tool like:

Complex
Look Your web page HTML source. All browsers enable to "view source".

Meta tags builder
Meta tag builder automates HTML code writing