Metadata is an invisible, yet extremely important part of your webpages. Each webpage in OU Campus has a Page Title, Keywords, and a Meta Description section you fill out when you create a new webpage. These sections describe the webpage and the information it contains - helping search engines (like Google) determine if the webpage is relevant to search queries it is answering.
The better your metadata, the more likely your webpages will be displayed as a listing on relevant search queries.
About the different metadata sections
OU Campus allows users to fill in three metadata sections. Let's use a fictional page containing Financial Aid information relating to how to fill out the FAFSA as an example:
Page titles are used to tell search engines exactly what your page is about. This is also what shows up as the text in your web browser tab. It is recommended that you give your page an accurate page title to the content it will contain. Try not to be generic - specific is better than general.
Page Title Tips
- Use unique page titles. Reusing the same page title for different pages confuses search engines.
- Leave off "ATU" or "Arkansas Tech University". You don't have to put institutional identifiers in your meta page title. OU Campus will append " | Arkansas Tech University" automatically to every page title.
- Keep page titles short, but specific. "FAFSA Instructions" is better than "Financial Aid FAFSA Instructions". Alternately, "FAFSA" is the shortest, but does not include the specificity of "Instructions" and will not be as effective.
Meta Description text is displayed below the Page Title on search engine results. It is there to provide more details about the content that appears on the webpage.
Meta Description Tips
- Use enough words to accurately describe your content. One to two sentences describing the content on the webpage is ideal.
- Think like your audience. How would they describe the information on the web page? Use language your target audience uses.
- Don't bury the lead. Write your most important content into the beginning of your description. Google does not always show full meta descriptions, so help your audience find your content by front-loading your description sentences. Here's an example for our FAFSA page: "Here are instructions for filling out the FAFSA. ATU Financial Aid personnel can answer your questions about this process."
Keywords are the terms used to find and categorize website content. For search engines, these are the words users type in to search engine queries. If you boil your webpage content down to a handful of words - those are your primary keywords.
In the query string "2020 FAFSA Instructions", 2020, FAFSA, and Instructions are all keywords. Our fictional webpage, when boiled down, would contain the keywords "FAFSA" and "Instructions", making it relevant to this search query.
- Think like your audience. What does your audience call your content? In the case of Residence Life, many website users call it "Housing" and search that on Google. If you know your audiences call your office or content something other than what you call it, include those terms in your keywords.
- Get the right keyword mix. Singular keywords, like "FAFSA" from our example, is a singular keyword. Now think of all the other webpages on the internet that contain the keyword "FAFSA". That's what you're competing against in singular keywords. It is recommended that you use a mix of singular and long-tail keywords to help visitors find your content. Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases. Examples of long-tail keywords are, "when is the FAFSA due" or "how to fill out FAFSA".
How to edit metadata in OU Campus
- Open the page in OU Campus
- Click the lightbulb to check it out
- Click “Properties”
- Edit the Title and Description fields
- Publish the page