November 27th, 2011 | Add a Comment
As part of our SEO recommendations for the Chicago Reporter, we have suggested that they make their content easier to find via search engines by including metadata. For someone who’s not well-versed in HTML, however, this might sound a little confusing. What is metadata anyway, and why should you take the time to include it on your website?
Metadata is basically data about data, according to the HTML educational database w3schools.com. In the HTML for your site, <meta> tags go in the head element of the page and provide information about its content. Readers visiting your website don’t see this data; only browsers and search engines pick up on it.
So, why should the Reporter and other news sites include metadata with their content? The main reason is that it makes it more likely that people will find your site through a search engine, whether they are searching for one of your articles specifically or just looking up a general news topic. You can let search engines know what a page/article is about by adding keywords and descriptions with meta tags.
<meta name=”keywords” content=”corps, spillway, flood, st. louis beacon, mary delach leonard, anthony ohmes, agronomist, mississippi county, mcivan jones, birds point-new madrid, floodway” />
<meta name=”title” content=”Back to the spillway: Getting the harvest in” />
<meta name=”author” content=”Donna Korando, Features and commentary editor” />
<meta name=”description” content=”Cleaning up the flood debris has been left for winter, as farmers focused on business; planting and tending to crops. The blessing has been the farmland. As one farmer said, "The crops that were in did well … but, of course, we didn’t get it all planted." (Second of three articles)” />
This means that if someone types any of the keywords, the author’s name, or the title of the article into a search engine, it will come up in the results. You can view the metadata for any page by right clicking on it and selecting the option “View Page Source.”
Drupal, the CMS the Reporter uses, allows users to include metadata without even having to touch the HTML for the page. The settings for every piece of published content include a “Meta tags” option. Simply type the description and keywords into the designated fields, and you’ve made your article more search engine friendly.
For more information on metadata, visit w3schools.com.
Written by Helen Adamopoulos
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