There are many components to search engine optimization. While it’s important to focus on keyword research, building backlinks, mobile optimization, site structure, and internal linking, there is another factor that may need your attention. Metadata should be an integral part of your SEO.
Metadata is defined as data that refers to other data. In the case of web page metadata, this helps search engines determine what type of content is contained in your web page. The following metadata is among the most important:
- Structured data
The Title and Description of Your Web Page
The first set of metadata to pay attention to is the title and description of your web page. If you don’t specify this data, then search engines will pull the description from the first line of text that appears on your web page.
You should write your title and description for people first and search engines second. Write a title that grabs attention. Use the same techniques that you would use for creating an effective headline for your landing pages.
The description shouldn’t be exactly the same as the title. Instead, consider this an opportunity to provide a little more detail about the content of your web page.
Include Your Target Keyword in Your Title and Description
After writing your title and description, work your target keyword into the title and description. But, only use your keyword once in the title and up to two times in your description.
You should review your title and description to make sure that they’re easy to read. Also, make sure that they remain within the character limits set by Google. The title should be less than 65 characters and the description should be between 150 and 160 characters.
Find Structured Data to Include on Your Web Pages
The use of structured data is increasing. More internet marketers are starting to use structured data to improve the way that search engines read their content. This gives you the opportunity to include additional relevant information, some of which may appear in search results.
There are several types of structured data markup. Though, the one that receives the most use is the structured data outlined and promoted by schema.org. This is an open community dedicated to increasing the use of structured markup on web pages.
With structured data, you have the ability to describe the type of web page. For example, you can identify your web page as a blog post, a product page, a business directory, or any other type of web page.
You can also identify the author of the page, the name of your business, your primary web address, contact information, and other beneficial details.
Add and Test Your Structured Data
Where can you find this structured data? As mentioned, Schema is an organization dedicated to increasing the use of this markup. If you visit their website, you will find instructions for including this data on your web pages along with a complete list of all recognized data.
Structured data can be implemented using plugins if you use a website builder. Though, it can also be added directly to the HTML or PHP of your web page.
After you’ve added structured data to your web pages, you can test your web pages using Google Webmaster Tools and other online tools. This lets you know whether or not a search engine will recognize the data that you’ve included while also adding relevant data to their listings.
The use of structured data, titles, and descriptions is a necessary step in increasing your search rankings. While titles and descriptions are easy to edit, you may need help with the structured data. There are plenty of online resources that will walk you through each step of the process.
If your pages are not ranking in search results, then take a look at your metadata.