For many projects, the route to success is in the detail. When you're building a website, those details are often the elements you don't see more than the ones that you do. It’s not difficult to make a site look good, just a few slick images and a premium template design will impress visitors. But they won't do any good at all if visitors never find your site. That’s where meta data comes in.
What is Meta Data?
If you use a music service like Spotify or Apple Music you’re seeing the results of meta data all the time. Artist names, track names, cover artwork and genre information are all forms of meta data that are embedded in modern music files.
For website pages there are many meta data objects that need to be delivered with every page. These will help your pages be found by search engines, understood by other services, and deliver the right preview images and text when shared on social media.
What Meta Data do I need?
To some extent this depends on what your website is delivering. All websites, at least those that need to be found by search engines, need basic HTML meta data that form a quick overview of each page. This includes the title, a brief description, the location of the company that owns the site, plus details of how the page was created and when the last update took place. All these elements help search engines and other services understand your page properly.
Next, assuming you want to make a great first impression when your pages are shared, you’ll need additional meta tags for services like Facebook and Twitter. This will tell the service which image and which text to show when your page is previewed on the service, normally when someone shares your webpage.
Is that it?
No, sorry! You’ll also need proper page ‘schema’. Schema is a set of meta data in an internationally standardised format that is used to describe companies, products, sports teams and any number of other things on the web. In some cases, a web page may have multiple sets of schemas. For example, a blog post that describes a product might have a set of schema data for the product, one for the brand that manufactures the product, another one for the article itself and a final set of company schema for the website owner. Phew, that’s a lot of additional data!
And it's all up to you!
If you’re now wondering if your website has a full set of meta data, then we have news for you - if you don't know for sure already, then it probably doesn’t. If your website was built by a professional web developer, then they may have already taken care of this for you, but many will not unless they have specifically agreed to do so. If not, then it may be time to get in touch with someone that can look at how you're doing and add any missing meta data.
If you'd like to know more about meta data, or to find out how well your website is delivering meta data, then please get in touch.