Anybody who has read anything about SEO, has probably heard about Meta Data. But what is it, and what should you be using it for?
Let’s go from the start, what is metadata?
For those who don’t, these are little pieces of extra info that you give Google to help rank your page and improve your CTR (Click-through rate).
A good SEO practice is to have an optimised title for your page – this tells Google what your page is about and helps the user decide whether your page is relevant to their search.
You know when you search on Google and get a little snippet of text underneath the title? That’s called the Meta Description. Making this as captivating as possible is a good SEO practice. It’s important to know that directly, meta descriptions don’t impact SEO so it is possible a web page with no description could outrank one with one. However, having a well crafted Meta description can increase the CTR (Click-through rate, aka someone clicking on your website), and as a consequence, this does improve your SEO, so pages with high CTR = better SEO.
Now, back in the day, you could also add what we call meta keywords to your page. Meta keywords were a list of words you wanted to tell Google you should rank for. These could be (and still can) viewed in the page source of your website. It’s been the case for some time now, that these do nothing for your ranking, CTR or any other SEO indicator.
If they do nothing why should I bother to remove them?
Because your meta keywords are listed in the page source, they can be seen by everybody – your competitors included. Often, the meta keywords are the same keywords your SEO team are trying desperately to rank for. Now, if you’re telling everyone in your page source what they are, your competitors can steal your strategy and attempt to outrank you. This is really important and can be a disaster for clients running Google Ads because if you’re bidding on your meta keywords, you’re giving away your strategy to the competition. Your competitors could use your list, bid on all your meta keywords which increases how much you spend per click as well as decreasing your visibility, average position & the overall conversion rate.
So what’s the takeaway?
My advice is to remove those meta keywords. If you or your developer are still using them, you’re playing a risky game. However, if you find your competitors have left theirs in, use them to your advantage. Spy on their strategy and do it better!