Training Google’s Robots to Work for You

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Metadata—delicious, tasty and digestible snacks for Google, Bing and other search engine's robots that make them sit up and beg for more!

When a web page's metadata is coordinated with great copy, it provides Google, Bing and others with delicious, digestible content that can change the way pages show up in search results.

There are 2 parts to getting attention from search results:

  1. Create compelling, stop them in their tracks titles and first paragraphs that are designed for people
  2. Use metadata designed to work for the robots that crawl and index web site pages

This article is about the second item; Metadata.

Metadata is food for robots; it’s information hidden deep in the source code of web pages. Web site systems such as Wordpress and Joomla provide places where metadata can easily be added but it can be ignored by writers, at their peril!

When a web page presents in a browser, its metadata is invisible, and that’s because it’s food for robots and not for people. Here’s an example from a previous post, of the metadata included in a page’s source code; notice the “description” and <title> tag:

Metadata in a web page's source code

And here is an image of the blog post, “How Does Google Actually See You?” presented in Google’s search results; what do you notice?

Google search results

You can see that the metadata has influenced what Google presents. When you view the actual post (see link at top) you will also see the metadata “description” is a refinement of the post’s first paragraph, which is emphasized to draw attention to it—your attention and Google’s!

In its search results, Google displays about 70 characters of the Title and 156 characters of the “description” including spaces; a writer has to craft these two elements with great skill to ensure they get attention. If a searcher is not compelled by these two brief pieces of copy, they will not click to find out more and read the full post.

Would you like to get more attention in Google’s search results? Well, feed its robots with what they enjoy and make them your loyal pets!

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