How Ignoring Website Metadata Best Practices Could Be Hurting Your Business

You may be winning the battle when it comes to optimizing content for search, but if you’ve neglected metadata best practices you’ve lost the war.


There’s little debate that optimizing online content for search engines has substantial return for B2B companies. The CMO Council research backs up this claim, reporting that 87 percent of B2B buyers say online content influences purchasing decisions. But for content to make an impression on buyers, it needs to be optimized for search and interesting enough to make people click.

Whether your web developer is a member of your internal team or you outsource web development to a third-party, there often seems to be debate over what’s “worth doing” to optimize your website for searches. One common casualty in this ongoing conflict is what constitutes website metadata best practices.

Why Following Website Metadata Best Practices Is Important

Moz explains that while metadata isn’t directly linked to websites’ rankings on search engines, these elements impact how your content looks on search engine result pages (SERPs).

You may be winning the battle when it comes to optimizing content for search, earning backlinks, and perfecting the technical details of your website so that your content ranks. But if you’ve neglected website metadata best practices, users may not choose to click on your link, and you’ve lost the war. You lose the chance to engage a prospect with your content — and you lose traffic, which you need to maintain search rankings.

Website Metadata Best Practices

Moz lists several metadata best practices you need to follow if engagement, not just ranking in search engine results, is your ultimate goal:

  • Unique Title: Each webpage should have its own title to help people and search engines find and index your pages.
  • Title length: It’s important not to make titles too long — Google or other search engines will cut them off if they exceed the character limit. On the other hand, don’t settle for titles that are too short. Make the best use of the characters you have to compel people to click.
  • Canonical tag: If you have duplicate content on multiple pages, this tag tells search engines which one you want to be indexed.
  • Meta Description: The meta description is the summary you see under the title on the SERP. The meta description should convey the subject of the page quickly — and in a way that entices the reader to click — and include keywords that readers would search for content on the topic of the page.
  • URL length: Shorter URLs are easier for your audience to copy and paste, share on social media, and use in their own blogs and other content. Also, Moz points out, the easier a URL is for people to read, the better it is for search engines.

Make Sure You and Your Web Developer Are on the Same Page

The clickability of your content on a SERP is too important to your business to ignore. Before you post more content, perform a site assessment that shows areas where you can improve SEO, and compare those results to the click rates of your content. The correlation between low click rates and missing or incorrectly configured metadata should be enough to convince your website developer that changes are necessary.

The Moz Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet

Website metadata best practices are just some of the mistakes a web developer can make that hinder the performance of your website. To help your web developer make sure all bases are covered, Moz offers the Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet.

“We created the Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet because cultivating an efficient working relationship with web developers is essential for SEO success,” says Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist at Moz. “This starts by understanding each other’s goals and creating clear communication channels that fuel productivity and trust. This Cheat Sheet can be extremely valuable in sparking those conversations. It’s been a go-to resource for professionals since 2008 and something we refreshed for 2020 to ensure we’re up on technical standards.”

Have the Conversation

Putting your website in another person’s hands without oversight is risky at best. Make sure your web developer is following website metadata best practices — as well as all website SEO best practices — to maximize the chances that prospects will engage with your content and find the B2B solutions you have to offer.

Bernadette Wilson

Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.

Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.