Metadata: Implementation, Best Practices, and Benefits

There is no denying the importance of metadata. Right from page title and Meta description tags to Twitter card, schema org, and open graph all are equally important. Getting all this important information into your code can make the difference to your SEO and propel your brand to great heights. Let’s look at individual elements and understand their significance.

Titles & descriptions

Facebook and other social media platforms pull these values when your URL is shared on social media, therefore for great SEO HTML title tag and description tag are indispensible.

Schema.org

Schema.org was created by the coming together of the world’s biggest search providers. It is a structured data protocol and it is a comprehensive set of values of all that is relevant to the human experience.

Google uses schema.org to provide snippets to users and gives users a fair idea of the type of content, images, and videos that are present. It is therefore essential, as a responsible SEO, that you focus on your code and use several testing tools to make sure you are doing things right.

Open graph

This was first started by the social media site Facebook. However, it is now universally adopted. This is a protocol used by Facebook internally and externally by other websites to provide semantic information about websites/webpages. Google has taken note of this now and uses open graph tags to show video play icons next to video results.

Twitter card

This is a relatively new phenomenon. It is also a metadata protocol very much like Open Graph. Using this protocol you can enrich your content and decide how your content appears when it is tweeted. Implementing this protocol is fairly easy. All you need to do is put the HTML Tags and test them with a Validator tool and request Twitter to accept it. All this is done via Twitter Developers site. Acceptance does not happen instantly and you may have to wait a few weeks for it.

Google Metadata

Google has a range of custom meta tags. However, the two most important are Publisher meta tags and authorship.

Publisher meta tag is similar to author meta tag and it does not generate rich snipped, but it indicates which Google+ page is connected to the website.

Authorship meta tag is responsible for generating rich snippets about your content and puts a picture of you next to the search results.

Implementing metadata is not too difficult if you have a good CMS like WordPress. Most plug-ins will get schema.org and authorship into the webpages. Other plug-ins like SEO Ultimate allows you to create and edit schema.org, Open graph, Twitter card, and other HTML metadata values.

If you are not on WordPress, you need not worry, other CMS platforms like Drupal and Joomla also offer solutions, but they are not as user friendly.

As people begin to see the advantages of adding metadata its acceptance, adoption, and expansion is definite. Metadata gives structure to the otherwise chaotic web and helps people find content that is most relevant. It is going to be here for a very long time, therefore acquaint yourself and get going.

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