Using metadata to improve SEO, enhance content sharing, and support responsive design

Hidden information in HTML files has several important uses, from search engine optimization (SEO) to content management and responsive design.

Text by Scott DeLoach


Image: ©JuSun/

What is metadata?

Metadata is defined as “data that describes data.” In an HTML file, metadata is non-displayed (“hidden”) content that provides information about the visible content. For example, the head section of an HTML file contains topic-level metadata such as the title tag. The head section can also contain meta tags that provide additional information about the file, such as a description. HTML tags can include content-specific metadata using data attributes. For example, responsive design frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation use data attributes to format content. Data attributes are also used to assign user groups for role-based dynamic content.

Metadata is most often used for SEO. However, metadata can also be used for content sharing and responsive design.

Improving SEO with metadata

The most important metadata information for SEO are the title tag and the ...