Coding ExampleIn the course of your travels throughout the many exotic locations on the Internet, you may have heard the term “metadata” thrown around. It sounds impressive, doesn’t it?

Well, one thing that’s more impressive than how the word sounds is understanding what metadata is and what things are most important to know about it. Here are five basic facts about metadata.

  • The Definition of Metadata – If you’re looking for a brief, pithy definition, metadata is defined as “data about data”. It’s the summing up of data’s basic information. So for instance that nifty image you have on your company’s website may feature the resolution, when it was created, when it was modified, and image size, and all of that is classified as metadata. In other words, metadata is information embedded in a file that gives you some idea of its vital statistics.
  • Web Pages Usually Present Metadata As Meta Tags – Meta tags are special HTML tags that store information about any given web page, but are not visible to visitors. They are inserted into the header at the top of a web page. A meta tag tells you what program was used to make the page, a brief description of said page, how often it’s updated, and the page’s relevant keywords. So meta tags are a form of meta data, and it’s a form that is absolutely important if your business is trying to increase its web presence, because …
  • Meta Tag Information Is A Component Of Web Marketing – Many search engines use certain meta tags when adding web pages to their search indices. Webmasters can therefore use meta tags to share information with search engines. So yes, meta tags are part of the whole Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, although their overall importance has somewhat diminished (see below). Still, they should be incorporated in a web page’s code.
  • Black Hat SEOs Killed The Keyword Star – Meta tags actually predate search engines. In the early days of search engines, keyword meta tags were utilized to judge search results. However, those days are gone. The big search engines, Google for instance, no longer use meta data keywords. The reason for this is the abuse of keyword meta data, where black hat SEO practitioners could cram in all kinds of keywords in the hopes of getting better search result ranking. So, rather than perpetuate the abuse, Google stopped using them.
  • Smart Use of Meta Tags Can Still Lead To Better Search Results – Meta data in the form of meta tags can still play a role in your e-commerce efforts. Search engines haven’t abandoned meta tags completely. It is a good idea to incorporate these three tags: the title, the meta description, and the meta robots. The latter tag, incidentally, is used to prevent duplicate content from being indexed, and manage the accessibility of single web pages in a search engine.

If your business relies on web searches to drive customers to your site, make sure that your web pages have meta tags. This will help improve the odds of being placed higher on a page of search results.

 John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He never meta data he didn’t like. When he’s not making bad puns, he writes about everything from running 5K’s to maintaining a good online image by using