Let’s identify a reality of the Internet in 2020 (and really for the past decade+): Direct traffic doesn’t exist. So how do you drive people to your content? Search and social drive a vast majority of referrals across the web, and both are driven by metadata. Therefore, developing strong metadata best practices will go a long way in helping you maximize what you get from these massive traffic sources.
Metadata is an intimidating concept. Where do you start? What should you include? How much is too much? And… what even is it?
Here’s a crash course: Metadata is the information that surrounds content and tells us what it contains. It consists of keywords, author information, dates, summaries – everything that provides us with a a description of the content beneath it. All of this is fundamental to the way that the web works: Metadata drives search, and that’s why understanding how to categorize, tag and keyword appropriately is an essential component of your online success.
These terms don’t have to be scary. Tons of tools are available to create, structure, and analyze your metadata. Use the right tools for your needs and you’ll be able to formulate a solid, data-driven approach to content creation. There’s a lot to consider, however, so let’s break it down and look at some tools that can help.
MetaData elements and tools to amplify them
Getting below the surface
Once you’ve created all your metadata best practices and started collecting data, the next step is to analyze it so that you understand the content you’re creating. Strong data gives you a foundation for good content and sharp execution. Understanding the affinity of your audience is a critical guideline for your team and how they create going forward.
It’s easy to see huge traffic or engagement numbers on a story and deem it a success, and then repeat it. But what is the value of the sharing and liking after the fact? Do some work on the front end and figure out what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
First, here are some important questions to ask:
- Does the data you’re creating give you the information that you need?
- How can you use this information to evaluate your content?
- What is it that you’re trying to accomplish with your successful content? Are you looking for conversions, to educate, or something else? Make sure you know what your end game is.
- What is your most valuable KPI? Is it simply eyeballs on your content? Engagement? Sales? Ensure that you’re measuring the KPI that is most valuable to you, and look at those specific numbers when you’re evaluating success.
Here are some tools that can help you gather, structure, analyze, and organize your metadata on a deeper level:
True Anthem uses data to remove subjectivity from your social posting. Content scores predict social media success, and are then used to schedule the right content at the right time. The more data that exists, the more rules can be created surrounding posting and the more detailed distribution strategies can be.
True Anthem takes away the daily load of social media posting and uses AI to ensure that you’re getting excellent 24/7 social media content coverage. The first step is developing strategic metadata best practices and collecting meticulous data that gives us a foundation for an in-depth custom analysis. From there, the data will be used to autonomously deliver the top content you have to your engaged audience and to circulate your best content 24/7.
Facebook launched open graph meta tags back in 2010, and they have become essential for success in a social-platform referral world. Essentially, Open Graph tags were designed to promote integration between Facebook and destination websites by allowing them the same functionality as Facebook posts.
Now, though, Open Graph tags are recognized by all major social platforms and have a massive impact on click-through. Given that a huge percentage of traffic comes from social platforms, it isn’t really optional anymore. Here is a good place to start.
JetPack is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize your content. You are able to customize your site, automate posting, secure your logins, etc. With the upgrade, you’ll be able to enhance your SEO, schedule daily backups and protect your site from spam.
They provide simple, mobile-friendly stats to give you a deeper look at your content and audience. You can explore detailed insights on your most successful posts, or identify missing content your site visitors are already searching for.
Yoast is an SEO scoring tool to help you ensure optimization of keywords within WordPress. It’s an easy to use tool that provides some important metadata fields and allows you to fill them out as you create content. Yoast makes it easy for you to do things like control titles and meta descriptions, set your targeted keywords and track how often you’re using them, manage sitemaps, and so much more.
Twitter created its own system, allowing content creators to enhance their content on Twitter. You can attach rich photos, videos, and media components, allowing a consistent and improved experience for every link tweeted to your content. Very easy to implement and provide a robust experience off-platform.
In the event that you do not have Twitter Cards activated, you can use Open Graph to create essential metadata on Twitter.
Refining your system: How to set up metadata fields and when it’s too much
As essential as it is to have well organized and robust metadata, more is not always better. As you create your metadata best practices, check that you aren’t duplicating in multiple fields. It isn’t worth clogging up your server with a bunch of junk. Only include what you need to give greater insight and be better at your day-to-day.
It is also important to take your platform and audience into consideration. If you’re optimized for a Twitter card, for example, it won’t pull properly into Facebook. It’s worth spending some extra time to customize your metadata for SEO and Open Graph and Twitter separately. Driving engagement on social platforms is preferable for most, because website engagement is generally a much more difficult user experience. You’re going to benefit from platform specific content.
Images are also a key entry point for people who are discovering you on other platforms. You’ll want to make sure that each platform has its own image and that it meets the specifications for the platform. Your Facebook image isn’t going to work on Pinterest or Instagram.
It’s worth it!
Invest time and effort on the front end to set up your metadata best practices and analysis. You’ll end up with a deep understanding of your content and your audience, and that can take you wherever you want to go.