Data informs decision making, and your business creates countless data throughout the course of its operations. However, metadata—or data about data—offers a unique opportunity to businesses that understand how it works, particularly in the realm of business intelligence (BI) or business analytics (BA). Let’s discuss the importance of metadata and what your company can glean from it.
What is Metadata Anyway?
Metadata can be broken into three different categories, including the following:
- Descriptive metadata – This is metadata that contains all descriptive information about the underlying data. Variables like title, description, and keywords.
- Structural metadata – This is metadata that describes how underlying data is related to other files.
- Administrative metadata – This is metadata that describes information that allows certain data to be managed. Data such as author or creator of data.
This information is attached to all of your files, and if used appropriately, it can be used to help promote business intelligence through analysis.
What Can You Use Metadata For?
Understanding how important metadata is first requires an understanding of how it can be used. There are five primary uses for metadata.
Metadata can aid in the retrieval of specific data and content. One example of this is a digital library which might include information like titles, authors, and subject keywords to make accessing books and articles easier.
Managing and Organizing Data
Metadata can also help you categorize and structure data, allowing you to find easier ways to manage and maintain it. Metadata aids in data governance and ensuring that your data has accurate labels for tracking purposes. All of this is paramount to data quality and compliance.
In regards to the Internet and search engines, metadata like meta tags and web pages provide information about what could be found on the web pages. All of this makes content more discoverable and accessible to search engines, a term known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Archiving and Preserving Data
When considering preservation and archival, metadata is essential. It helps users locate documents and hold information concerning the source, format, provenance, and history of any files in the archive, allowing for long-term storage in an efficient manner.
Managing Digital Rights
Digital media and publishing also see a lot of use out of metadata for the purposes of enforcing copyright and licensing. This helps to ensure that content is compliant with IP rights and licensing agreements.
Another Thing to Keep in Mind Regarding SEO Metadata
Of course, we can’t leave out website metadata, because it’s probably the type you’re most familiar with—at least on a surface level. Website metadata is a part of search engine optimization, but it helps to know how Google and other search engines use it.
Most experts, including those with insights from the staff at Google, claim that the description you provide to search engines is basically used to give that search engine the option to show a short excerpt of the content in the search result. It doesn’t truly make a difference for how the website ranks. However, a good meta description can improve click-through rates, which could play a part in closing deals. Meta keywords are also not of any use these days. In fact, most search engines can provide pretty good results even without relying on any data you provide. This is because the crawlers navigate the content on websites similar to how a human might.
How does technology factor into how you run your business? Don’t let a lack of knowledge or insight prevent you from making the most of these helpful assets. To learn more about technology and how you can use it to take your business to the next level, be sure to call us at 216.397.4080 today.