Metadata plays a crucial role in on-page optimisation and particular attention needs to be paid to the title-tags and the description-tags. Although often overlooked by marketers and web designers, metadata actually helps search engines when it comes to establishing where in the search results your website appears.
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The “title” of a webpage is displayed in the top left corner of the browser and can also be seen in the tab of each browser page. This so-called “page-title” provides visitors and search engines with information about what a website – and webpage – is about. The page title should explain exactly what information the page contains with relevant keywords placed at the beginning of each title. Generally, you should use a unique title for every subpage featured on your website. So, if your page provides details about budget accommodation in Barcelona, this information should be reflected in the title tag. Ensuring keywords area used within the title, as well as your company’s name can help improve your metadata relevance.
A descriptive page title is not just helpful for visitors, but also search engines as they read the information in the title and use it to assess the content of the website. If a Google user, for example, searches for words or phrases that appear in the title of a website (budget accommodation Barcelona, for example), these words will be displayed in bold in the Google search results. This helps Google users determine how relevant a website is according to their search request.
The title of the homepage should display the primary keyword at the beginning, and only after that the name of the website or company. Optionally, you can add secondary information about the respective website or content.
The “description” of a page is similar to the page title in that it provides visitors and search engines with information about the content of a website. This description is of huge importance and is used by Google as the page summary that can be found underneath each link on its search result page. A good description is not only useful for search engines, but also persuades the visitor to visit the website. If a Google user searches terms which also appear in the description of the website, these are shown in bold in the Google search results. This helps users decide how relevant the website is to their search request.
“Generally, each subpage of a website should have its own individual description (over 4,000 hotels available in Barcelona at yourcompanyname.com), each containing relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Each description should explain exactly what the (sub) page is about. Google only uses the description as snippet if the description matches the actual content of the website and ranks it accordingly, so it is important be as accurate as possible. As with the title tags, the master keywords should be placed at the beginning of the description while a call to action should be placed at the end.
The meta-keywords are also used to describe the content of a webpage. However, unlike the title and description tags, keyword tags are not visible to users and not currently used by Google to determine page ranking. It is still recommended that you keep up to date with your keyword-tags as they could be used again in future algorithm updates. Additionally, other search engines besides Google currently use meta-keywords when calculating their search results.