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The value of metadata to your content and business

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If content is king, then your metadata is the lifeblood that gives it its eminence.

Without its metadata, your content would just be passed over and anonymous.

Yet despite its significance, metadata can easily be an afterthought during the publishing process. But it plays an essential function in your content creation and marketing. It is key both in helping you create content to work within your marketing ecosystem, and in helping your audience find and consume your content.

Let’s take a look at why metadata is so important to your content and your business, and how you can ensure you’re using it most effectively.

What is metadata?

Metadata is information that you attach to content to signify what it's about. It is largely invisible to those consuming your content—this is, it’s behind-the-scenes data hidden in code.

But it’s helpful to those engaging with the back end of content, both the human and the non-human kind—your content-marketing staff and search engine robots. They will be able to instantly get a picture of what the content is about and how it can be used.

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There are various types of metadata that apply to different elements and have different functions:

  • Title tags are meta tags specifically about a page’s or asset’s title. These are what you see as page links in search-results pages (SERPs).
  • Meta descriptions are succinct blocks of text that describe a webpage or an asset. This is the descriptive you see beneath the page titles in SERPs.
  • Alt attributes are tags that specify information about an image. They are intended to provide context about a visual asset for visually-impaired users as well as information in case the visual asset is missing.
  • Schema markup is specific data syntax that gives search engines more information about what each piece of data means.

Metadata is typically associated with websites, but it’s used in many other places too—it can provide robots and users information about data, documents, images, permissions and classifications, among other things. Metadata can be created and accessed manually or automatically via tools that use AI and machine learning.

How Brightspot enhances your metadata
Brightspot is built to ensure content producers can easily add, edit and find metadata for any piece of content. This extends to a dedicated SEO tab for creating your all-important SEO titles and descriptions. To save editors time, the SEO information will default to main titles and descriptions but teams can always update to ensure uniqueness and relevancy. Additionally, configurable content forms and dashboards mean you can set up customized CMS views for different teams—say, your SEO editors—to ensure that all areas of your content deliverables are getting the attention they need.

Metadata is all about discoverability

The ultimate goal of metadata is to make content discoverable—to allow people to find it by typing in various words and phrases, or to allow software to find it by identifying, classifying and parsing its tags.

This discoverability is essential because the amount of content any given Web user or content creator is dealing with is astronomical. "Best hotel in Vegas" returns over 480 million results. Of course, we need a way to catalog a meaningful and consumable subset of relevant information.

There are two ways that discoverability is essential in both creating and consuming content. First, those creating content can easily assess the assets they have to work with and the previously created content that will surround anything new they make. Second, SEO robots can discover what is what on the Web so we can all find what we’re looking for.

The importance of metadata for internal discoverability

Metadata lets content creators know what is contained in their inventory of content. Like the searchable catalog that lists every book in the library, digital-asset management solutions use metadata to keep all your internal assets organized and help you find the ones you want quickly.

In addition to knowing how to find things, you’ll also find it helpful to know what content is already in your system. You can see where you need a piece of content to fill a gap or where coverage is already complete. And seeing the complete picture of your content inventory allows you to deliver and monetize your content more effectively.

How Brightspot uses metadata to power CMS productivity
The most obvious area where you can see the time-saving power of internal metadata is through Brightspot’s persistent—and powerful—search feature, which allows you to rapidly find any asset or content you need wherever you are in the CMS. Once you’ve found your item, real-time references show you all the places where any given asset is in use as well as pull back other insights like who edited it most recently, numbers of views and more. All these metadata insights combined help content teams make informed decisions about where to invest their valuable time and resources.

Your business depends on external discoverability

Allowing external audiences to find your content is essential to growing your customer base—and to building your business.

The most commonly known use for metadata is search engine optimization. The tags and other metadata are the essential handles that allow an SEO crawler to grab onto your content and categorize it properly so that those using search engines can find it.

This same search function can allow visitors to your website to find the specific topic or product they’re interested in among all the content on your site.

How Brightspot helps content businesses win at search
With search being the online currency of any successful digital entity, Brightspot is built to power your content to the top of search rankings. Out-of-the-box search features include in-CMS SEO editing tools, the ability to manage permalinks and redirects, create and manage sitemaps, and integrations with SEO tools like SEMrush to drive data intelligence and insights. Our team is also constantly developing solutions to help keep our customers ahead of the competition such as our built-in rich-results markup.

Tools for leveraging metadata

The already-extensive universe of software designed to assist content creators with applying and using metadata continues to grow all the time. Not only are new products always entering the market, but AI and machine learning are making them more and more powerful.

These tools can automatically suggest tags for content, identify items in photos and recognize faces.

Tools for analyzing text and suggesting tags:

  • Open Calais provides tag suggestions for content.
  • Amazon Comprehend recommends tags for content.
  • MeaningCloud Text Analytics extracts meaning from unstructured content.
  • Amazon Textract extracts text from objects like PDFs and makes it into metadata.
  • Azure Text Analytics draws insight from text using natural language processing.

Tools for recognizing and tagging images and faces:

  • Amazon Rekognition autotags images and video.
  • Azure Custom Vision Service builds custom image classifiers.
  • Google Cloud Vision API derives insight from images.
  • IBM Watson Visual Recognition identifies subjects and objects in images.
  • DeepFace provides facial recognition and facial attribute analysis.
How Brightspot uses metadata to power modular content
The combination of user-added metadata with machine-generated insights like autotagging or translations not only mean you can present the most relevant and contextual experiences to your audiences; it allows you to create modular-content packages that can be delivered in the most relevant ways built out of the individual blocks that inform every content asset.

For example, an email can be triggered using different subject lines and messages—in many different languages—based on what you know about the individual reader’s demographics, location, interests and more. With Brightspot, you start with each piece of content made from many individual blocks—including its metadata—and add the definition to your respective pictures using different combinations of those blocks.

How Brightspot can help

Brightspot is set up to help content creators apply the right metadata. This ensures that content is discoverable as well as organized, creating a clean inventory of all your assets.

Brightspot’s top-tier content-management system gives marketers easy and immediate access to assets using metadata tags and persistent search functionality. Integrations with a number of tools that can automatically apply metadata to text and images allow users to automatically tag their content and assets, and to maintain an up-to-date index of what content and assets are in the system.

Start building in a free trial environment, see a demo, or talk to an expert—select one of these paths and start however you would like to!

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