Meta-data is information about a document that is hidden from the user in the HTML code that underlies most Web pages. Users can’t see meta-data on the actual Web page, but search engines can, and the metatags embedded in the code provide search engines with information about the content of each page, thus guiding the way to your site.
Each page's HTML code provides space for metatags dealing with the page's Title, Keywords, Author, and Description.
Some metatags also show up in the resulting listings from a search. Below is Google listing for a page from our site. The first line, “Center for Aging and Health Home Page,” was created from the Title metatag. The blurb below the title is from the Description metatag.
You can create these tags in Site Executive when you make a new page. You can also go back and revise metatags later.
The title you choose for a page will appear above the page in the reverse tone line at the top of your screen. It will also appear as the first line of what shows up after you run a query in a search engine. The first line of the Google listing shown at the top of this page, “Center for Aging and Health Home Page,” was created from the Title metatag.
Follow these guidelines for good title megatags:
- as you can get them.
- (makes it harder to read).
Follow Step 1 to devise good keywords. Then follow these rules when entering them into the Keywords metatag field in Site Executive.
- When typing keywords into the keyword field in Site Executive, To save characters–you are only allowed 255 characters and spaces—you may butt keywords up against the commas: “public health,Johns Hopkins,biochemistry.”
- When constructing a list of keywords, the most important ones (“Bloomberg,” “SPH,” “epidemiology”) should appear three times in your list, but no more than three times. You may not, however, simply type in “public health, public health, public health”; there must be other words separating the three instances: “public health courses,epidemiology,public health research,microbiology,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.” It's like a puzzle—using only 255 letters and spaces, you must try to get three repeats of all your important keywords.
- If you enter a keyword such as “Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,” you do not need to re-enter “Johns Hopkins,” “Bloomberg School,” or “public health” (except to satisfy the Rule of Three).
- Make sure all the keywords you've entered appear somewhere on the actual webpage itself. Phrases needn't be worded exactly the same unless they are very important.
For most pages on the School's website, the “Author” line will be “Hopkins Bloomberg Sch. of Public Health.”
The description—the thumbnail blurb that appears under the title in a search engine's query results—should display the most important information at its beginning. Keep your description simple but as interesting as possible, and include some of your keywords if possible. Some search engines cut off the description after 150 characters
Follow these guidelines for good description megatags:
- if possible.
- Try to lure the user.
- Some engines will cut off the description after 150 characters.
Three Examples of Metadata Entered in Site Executive