Make Friends with Metadata
Want to know how to improve your SEO by improving your metadata first, rather than adding copy or backlinks? You'll want to read this blog on how to make friends with mysterious metadata!
When I'm asked the question (as I am all the time), 'what can I do to improve my websites Google rankings which won't take much time', one of the tasks I usually suggest is to go through your website, page by page, and improve your metadata. The next question is usually 'what the heck is that'... and there is a simple answer.
Metadata is a set of data which gives information about other data. In less opaque terms, it's information that you input which tells Google more about the various pieces of content which comprise your website. Some metadata on your website is accessible and can be edited to reflect the topic or theme your page focuses on (which is also ideally your keyword).
A classic example of metadata of this kind that I often give is the 'alternative' or 'alt' text on a photo you're adding to your site. This field is used to tell Google what the image contains, so it can show it to browsers who are searching for images of that nature. Everything about that image - from its size to its name to the date it was created - is embedded in the file, and metadata tells this information to search engine bots when they're searching for appropriate content.
Other examples of metadata include meta tags, author (for blogs), date created, date modified, and file size. Metadata is also used for unstructured data such as images, video, web pages, spreadsheets.
The easiest way to make friends with metadata is via Yoast, the WordPress SEO plugin which essentially guides and teaches you how to improve your website's Google-friendliness as you add new pages and content.
If you don't have a WordPress site, you are best to adjust metadata of all elements BEFORE you add it to your website - again to use the photo or video example, ensure the size of the file is correct, the format is what you want and the title is as per your keyword for that page before you upload it. Then, once you upload it, simply adjust the caption and/or alt text to reflect this same keyword.
This simple step of adjusting your metadata page by page to reflect your keyword for that page will tell Google a lot of what it needs to know to return your website as a quality result to browsers looking for your kind of business.