Metadata for social sharing

So meta

What is metadata? Metadata is information about a piece of content. Metadata is used to describe a blog or a website, or give information about a piece of content within it. For example, information contained in a page’s metadata frequently is used to generate the snippets that are used when other sites are taking excerpts of a blog post or a website page. Other types of metadata may describe the language a post is written in, or the length of a piece of content.

Metadata (literally “data about data”) tells search engines and other systems that consume content useful information about what that content contains.

When a user searches for specific keywords and phrases, the results typically also show descriptions related to the search inquiry. If your website is cool enough to show up in the search results, the viewer probably will see your site’s name embedded with a link to the site. Underneath that link is the site description. That’s an example of metadata, too.

Meta Description in SERP
Meta description in a search for “website design + miami”

Metadata + social media

When you share a link to your blog on Facebook and LinkedIn, a description pulled from your site’s metadata generally populates as a preview to the site. Facebook, in particular, uses highly structured metadata called “open graph tags” or “OG tags” so it knows what metadata to use when sharing a link to your blog or website.

To generate even more notice, it’s also a smart move to optimize social media pages with metadata related to your blog or website. In other words, add your meta description to your social profiles. How? Read on to find out.

How to optimize your social media profile pages with metadata

By now you know that social media is a great medium to get the word out about your website. Optimizing your social media profiles with metadata makes it easier for search engines to find those pages, too. Here’s what to think about.

Let’s say your blog is a fashion review site. Every one of your social media pages that is dedicated to your blog needs to have the words “fashion review” in the description. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn give you a description area to say what your page is about.

Facebook. You can add a description in the page’s “About”section. Copy and paste your page’s meta description in the area for a “short description.”

Instagram. You can post your meta description in the bio section. It will appear at the top of your profile.

Pro tip: Be sure to fill out the “website” portion of your profile, as this is currently the only spot on Instagram where you can post a clickable link to your site.

Kate Spade Instagram Bio

Twitter. You also add your meta description to the bio section of Twitter. Modify your description to fit if you run short on characters, but be sure to retain your keywords.

The more specific you are in the description, the better. General searches will always show the most popular and recent activities, but to really guarantee that the viewers you want on your page will see them, get a little more specific.

If you have a site dedicated to the hottest and newest Cadillacs, for example, you want to include the word “Cadillacs” in the meta description. “Car website”? That’s not going to cut it. “Car website devoted to Cadillacs” — much better.

Go public for greater visibility

It’s a fact that increased social engagement and sharing help your search engine rankings. The more people like the posts on your social media pages, the more likely they are to show up in search engines. Even better? If they actually click through to your posts.

Although it might feel like you have to have a popular page to get noticed, popularity is only one piece of the puzzle. Another important factor in optimizing your social media profile is to make the page public. If you have to “approve” a follower, you’re telling search engines you don’t really want to be found.

Most search engines won’t display results for private pages.


Tailgate on trends

You can gain even greater visibility by posting about trending topics. Let’s say you wrote a post about Taylor Swift. In a twist of fate (or luck), the media has been covering Taylor all day and sharing all those news articles and videos all over social media. Now’s a good time to post a link to your blog post so you can take advantage of that traffic. Popular references will draw potential followers to your pages.

It’s OK to post about trending topics even if your blog or website isn’t directly related to a particular subject — just don’t overdo it. No one likes posts that bait and switch, promising one thing and delivering something totally different.

Searching within social sites

Search isn’t limited to traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. You can search for topic-specific websites and blogs in various social media platforms. Remember that fashion review site I mentioned? If someone searches for “fashion review” in Facebook, they’ll get pages that contain the words “fashion review” in the description plus articles, blog posts and images that have those keywords in the metadata caption. This is a prime opportunity to get new viewers onto your site’s social media pages, and eventually onto your blog or website.

Now what?

Optimization of your social media pages isn’t difficult, but taking the time to do it for your pages will significantly improve the number of page views your site sees in a given month.

Now, I want to hear from you! Have you created social media profiles for your blog? Are they optimized? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!