by Elizabeth Batty
What is Meta Data?
Search engines such as Google use page titles and the text contained in web pages when building their indexes and ranking search results. Some search engines will also use ‘meta data’ if it is present on a page.
The CMS templates automatically generate some meta data for all pages, so you do not need to manually add meta data at all. However, if you want to try to improve the ranking of some particularly important pages in your site, it could be worth your while spending some time and effort on meta data.
Adding keyword meta data to a page may help to improve the ranking of a page by some search engines by attaching additional words which do not appear in the actual text of the page e.g. a page about ‘training’ could have meta data including the keyword ’teaching’. The page might then be returned in the search results for a user searching for ‘teaching’ even though that word does not actually appear in the text for that page.
Another type of meta data is the description which is displayed in the list of search results by some search engines. An interesting description might encourage an internet user to visit your page rather than others returned in the results list.
Keywords and Description are added in the Edit content view of a content item, and apply to the whole page. The boxes to add them appear below the main editing window.
Notes on meta data
- The keywords and description form part of the meta data of the page and aid search engines (e.g. Google) in ranking pages.
- Keywords format: separate the words by a comma and a space (i.e. earth sciences, complex system modelling, cosmic).
- Description for new pages: if you do not fill in the description, the header1 on this page (if there is one) will be automatically inserted as the description.
- Sub-pages inherit keywords from their parent page when they are created but these can be changed/removed/added to as required.