Does Meta Data Impact SEO?
This has been a long-term debate among the SEO specialists all around the world. Does Metadata have any impact on your organic rankings? Or does it not?
Before getting into the technical aspects of it, Let’s understand what metadata actually means.
What is Meta Data?
According to Richard Smiraglia “, Meta Data describe information resources such as websites, electronic arts, digital artefacts etc through the compilation of descriptors that are structured to a specific framework, and are placed together to serve an indexing functioning information retrieval”
That’s quite technical, right? Let us simplify it for you. In the world of SEO, metadata is simply a snippet that appears on the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc and gives you the information about a particular web page or a website. See the picture below to understand it better.
If you search for metadata, the above search result comes up on google and that right there is your metadata. it can be further broken down into 3 different categories which are:
1- Meta Titles
2- Meta Descriptions
3- Alt text for images.
What are Meta Titles?
Meta Titles are basically the title of a web page. These titles allow a business to explain what the webpage is all about. For example, if you are a business that provides digital marketing services, these titles would allow the users to see that you are offering digital marketing services when they search for it on google. You would want to keep in mind that Google only allows you to write these titles in a 60-character limit, if you go beyond this limit the text will get truncated and it will create a title too long issue in most of the SEO tools. You can use tools like SEMrush, MOZ or Ahrefs to see if you have this issue on your website.
Next up in line are Meta Descriptions.
So, what are Meta Descriptions?
Meta Descriptions are the elongated version of Meta titles that appear right below them. Meta descriptions are written between the HTML code. These descriptions allow you to explain more about your business. As you can see in the picture above, it is important to make sure you have the targeted keyword in the meta description as it gets highlighted and grabs the attention of the user. The character limit for writing meta description is between 160-320 characters. Anything more or less can create a Metadata issue.
Alt Text for Images?
Alt text which is also known as alt descriptions is used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. These texts help search engines to crawl and index an image. Also, these texts help visually impaired users to understand an image better with the help of a screen reader.
So now that we have explained what metadata is and its different categories, Let’s dive down and find out if Metadata impacts organic rankings/ SEO or not?
The answer is Yes. Metadata does have an impact on SEO. Although, not in the same way it used to have 10 years back. With Google’s ever-evolving algorithms and updates, the impact of metadata has become less important but it has not disappeared completely
A well-written metadata with a strategy of primary keyword, secondary keyword and the location always has a chance for a better click-through rate.
You have a better click-through rate but how does it impact your rankings?
In simple words, a better click-through rate on a SERP’s is an indication to Google that a page with better CTR is more useful to the users and thus become a strong factor in determining rankings.
Rand Fishkin, who is a former Moz employee has tweeted this image and confirmed that Google does take CTR into consideration while determining rankings.
In simple words, if a page is ranking number 4 in SERP’s but has a better CTR, Google may decide to put that page higher simply for the fact that people are much more interested in that page.
So now that we have addressed the elephant in the room. It is time to learn how to maximise the click-through rate on your organic listings.
1- Keywords in the Titles– Do the keyword research find out which keyword is apt for your page and make sure to use that in the titles.
According to a research by MOZ, titles that start with a keyword tend to do better than titles without a keyword.
You can use tools like Google AdWords keyword planner, Moz keywords explorer and Ahrefs keyword explorer for keywords research.
2- Keywords in Description – According to Google, the meta description is not a direct ranking signal to Google, however putting a keyword in the description is always a good idea as it gets highlighted in the description and gathers the attention of the user. This may result in better click-through rates.
3- Title Tag Starts with Keyword: According to Moz, title tags that start with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.
4- Create Unique Tags – Make sure to create a unique Meta Data, similar metadata for all pages may get flagged as duplicate titles or duplicate descriptions.
5- Click-bait – A simple way of attracting users to click on your link is to use words like “latest, 2018, best, reviews” in the titles. People like to see updated content and these words assure them that they are clicking on the right link.
You may also want to read: 8 Latest SEO techniques to rank better in 2018