PSA! The "Scary" SEO Thing You've Probably Been Avoiding
Ahhh.... Metadata. (Wait! Don't go! Hear me out!) That 8 letter word that causes some of the most confusion, frustration and irritation among business owners when it comes to SEO. Often times, when working with clients, I will bring up working on their "back end data" and they immediately shut down. Either it's something that seems super overwhelming to them, or it's something they've been burned on in the past. Let me explain...
A lot of SEO "companies" know that some of the more technical aspects of SEO can be confusing to business owners. And why wouldn't it be? Your expertise is in running your business, NOT optimizing your website for search. Unfortunately, there are some people who take advantage of that lack of knowledge (or lack of interest in learning), and will either overcharge, or claim their doing "something" to your website that isn't really getting you any results.
So today, I'm breaking down Metadata. Now, don't shut down - it's really not that scary, I PROMISE! So before you invest a ton of money in an SEO company (or a ton of time researching how to do SEO yourself), let's dive into some of the terminology when it comes to "back end SEO" and whether or not you should be wasting your time, money and energy on it.
Meta Titles, or Title Tags, are the titles you give each of your pages. These title tags are displayed in search as the clickable title in search results, as well as the title that appears up on the tab in a web browser.
Meta Titles are really important not just for Google to get an idea of what your page is about it, but are used for social sharing (they're what populates automatically when you paste a link in Facebook), and should encourage clicks to your site. Updating your Meta Titles on every one of your website's pages should be a top priority.
Meta Descriptions, like Meta Titles, are full sentence descriptions placed on the backend of each page in your website, that utilize keywords to appeal to search engines, and draw in potential website traffic. Like their Title counterpart, these should also be updated to include important keywords on each and every page.
Ok, here's a good sign if the SEO company you're looking to hire is legit. Meta Keywords used to be Google's jam, and it was the main focus of almost every SEO company's strategy for a long time. However, Google realized that people were just stuffing random keywords into the section, and that it wasn't helping them serve relevant results to people. So a few years ago they completely eliminated any authority behind meta keywords. If you find an SEO company that is still touting them as part of their strategy, you may want to think twice.
Alt Tags, or Alternative Text Tags, are descriptions put on the back of images, that describe what the image is, or the function of it. It's used mostly by screen readers (for those that are blind or visually impaired), but also hold weight with Google, who use them to tell what the image and it's surrounding text is about. Adding Alt Tags to your images are a great way to add even MORE keywords to your site, plus ensures your site is accessible to those who are visually impaired.
A lot of people believe that Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 (and so on), tags are strictly used for design purposes, as they often change the style of text. Not true! They are actually great ways to layout your page, and quickly and easily showcase your page content to Google. Make sure you have descriptive H1 titles, and try to include H2 tags throughout the page to break up walls of text, and give people (and Google) an idea of what each section is about.
See!? It's not that scary. It's all about just knowing the terms and what your focus should be when it comes to optimizing the backend of your website. Whether you end up doing it yourself, or hiring a company to manage it for you, we always believe that knowledge is power!