In my last post, I talked about SEO (Search Engine Optimization); what it is, how it works, and a couple of basic tips for starting out. This week, I’m going to talk about a more in-depth SEO necessity: meta-data. Now, don’t get too excited! There’s a lot more to SEO than just meta-data, but it is one of the core steps in improving your website’s SEO.
Meta-data is typically defined as “data about data”, and for SEO, consists of keywords, page descriptions, and page titles. First things first, I’ll explain what each of those items are. (1) Page titles are found in a couple different places: at the top of a browser window, and in search engine results as the title link to different sites. (2) Page descriptions show up under the title in search results, typically with search terms presented in bold. (3) Keywords are used to target specific sets of search terms.
Are you still with me? I know this is all pretty riveting information, but if you bear with me, hopefully you’ll have a better understanding of how to best develop this content to give you optimal search results for your website.
Search terms produce results based on all three of these items (keywords, page descriptions, and page titles), as well as actual content from a website’s pages. These items need to be customized for each page of your website, and the more keywords and phrases you have repeated throughout them, the better. Integrating the terms and phrases you think are most likely to be searched into your meta-data and page content (whether it be text or image alternate text tags) wherever possible will yield the best results.
Make sure to incorporate locations into meta-data and page content when it makes sense to as well. People are a lot more likely to search “River Falls restaurants” than just “restaurants”.
If you had a chance to check out Website Grader last week, you’ll also notice that there is a standard for how many words/characters one should use when composing meta-data. Typically, I stick to 10 words for keywords (2-3, 2-3 word phrases); 70 characters or less for page titles; and 150 characters or less for page descriptions. Keep in mind that these are loose standards, and a few more or a few less of any is definitely okay.
Hopefully this brief introduction (What? You call this BRIEF??) has given you a better understanding into the world of SEO. I will be sharing some more tips & tools in the following weeks.