What is Metadata?

By Jason Eichner

You may have heard of metadata from a variety of different sources, and in very different lights. Some will tell you metadata is a security breach waiting to happen, whereas others may espouse how useful metadata is for SEO.

So what’s going on here? I tend to find security breaches and SEO aren’t especially compatible; and that holds true here. Part of the problem is there are two very distinct forms of metadata, both of which can impact your business – I’ll be covering both in this article.

The word metadata simply implies data that refers to other data, or specifically data that is appended to something to provide additional info about said thing, without impacting the look or function of the thing itself.

There are two important forms of metadata in the digital world; document metadata and web page metadata, often called web meta or meta content.