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Meta Data Mini-Series Part 1

SEO is a crucial element to incorporate into your website. When used correctly it can drive more traffic to your site and give you the edge over your competitors.

We're going to cover a few basics on how best to promote your site when it appears on a search engine results page. Here we are going to look at Meta-Data – what it is and how to use it.

Over this series we’re going to look at the basics of Meta-Data, Meta-Titles, Meta-Descriptions as well as URLs. We’ll break them down for you so you have a better understanding of their meanings, what they can do for you, how to use them effectively and why they are needed to be able to reach more potential visitors to your site.

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So, what is Meta-Data?

Meta-Data is basically data that describes other data – for example when you take a photo, this will have Meta-Data that will tell you the file size, when it was taken, its resolution, etc.

Meta-Titles create the first impression for your users; they are the headline shown on search engine results. They need to be as simple, concise, and descriptive as you can make them so that users know exactly what to expect from your site.

Meta-Descriptions describe the content of the page, so they need to be relevant to what the user is going to find if they decide to choose you.

The URL – your web address – is displayed on a search engine to show the pathway to that particular page. It needs to show what the user is going to find and should be really specific. If it doesn’t relate to your other elements and shows as jargon it can look a little like spam, and this might lead people away from clicking on your site.

So, why do we need them and how are they used?

Each of these elements is an integral cog in the SEO wheel, both for the user, and to decide whether your site will make it to the search engine results pages (SERPs), so it’s important to put some effort into creating unique and relevant descriptions.

We need them so that search engines like Google can summarise the content of a page and decide whether it is relevant to what the user is looking for.

Google will supply the users with results for their searched-for phrase based on your title and descriptions. If what they have searched for is within your pages’ content and you have included it as a keyword in the description, it is likely to show up on the SERPs. Google will show them on the SERPs page, highlighting where in the description their searched-for phrase shows. It’s really important that your description, title and URL don’t all contain wildly different content as this might put the user off clicking through to your site. Users make a decision of whether you have ‘advertised’ yourself well enough to get their attention, so this is your chance to encourage them to visit your site.

Hopefully you now have a brief understanding of what Meta-Data is and how important it is to make the most of it to get on Google’s SERPs. Our next article in the series will focus more closely on Meta-Titles. We will look at how Google uses them, how to write them effectively, and we’ll give you some good examples to take a look at. The final instalment will cover Meta-Descriptions, so be sure to complete the series!

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