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Adding metadata

Adding metadata to your webpages means that you're enhancing the chances of search engines finding your pages. It's also known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Metadata, or SEO, enhances accessibility, whilst also enhancing usability for everyone.

View a presentation about about Search Engines, Metadata and Accessibility (how to make your webpages prominent) (Powerpoint 456kb)

If you want more comprehensive information then Google's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) starter guide is very useful.


Page title

The page title of an HTML document is a descriptive name that appears in the title bar of the web browser (eg Internet Explorer) when the browser is displaying that page. It also appears in bookmarks, your history file listed in 'go' or 'history' menus, and is used by search engines. It is essential therefore that each page has a clear, meaningful title indicating its contents. Start noticing the titles of webpages you view for ideas.

Example: School of Computer and Information Science, UniSA

Creating a page title for a file (webpage)

  1. Open your webpage in SharePoint Designer 2002
  2. Go to File then select Properties...
  3. On the General tab type your page title in the 'Title' text box
  4. Click OK


  1. Open your webpage in SharePoint Designer
  2. Right click on page
  3. Select Properties…

Page Properties screen in FrontPage showing Title feature


Keywords and description metadata

The Keywords field should convey the subject matter of the webpage or resource. Keywords should be expressed as words or phrases that describe the theme or content of the webpage or resource. Try to imagine the terms someone outside your area would use in a search engine to find information on your webpages. As a guide

Example: SWSP, School of Social Work and Social Policy, swsp, social work and social policy

The Description field should contain a brief textual description of the content of the webpage or resource. This may include abstracts or summaries, or content descriptions. Use complete sentences and good grammar; some search engines will use this summary in your displayed search results.

Example: home page for University of South Australia, located in Adelaide, South Australia

Creating metadata for a file (webpage)

  1. Open your webpage in SharePoint Designer 2002
  2. Go to File then select Properties... (or right click your mouse on the page)
  3. In the Page Properties dialogue box, change to the Custom tab
  4. Under User Variables, click Add
  5. In the User Variable dialogue box, in the Name box type 'keywords'
  6. In the Value box, type the keywords that will help users find your site
  7. Click OK to add the keywords


If at step 4 'keywords' is already listed in the User Variable dialogue box

  1. Select 'Keywords' from the User variables box then click the Modify... button
  2. Type in your keywords separated by commas in the 'Value' text box and click OK
  3. Back in the Custom tab select 'Description' then click the Modify... button
  4. Type in your description in the 'Value' text box and click OK

These changes will take place overnight in UniSA search so use a search engine the following day to see if your keywords and description give your site a higher ranking in search results. Note that external search engines do not re-index websites daily so changes will take longer.

Page Properties screen in FrontPage showing keywords metadata feature


Search results for password protected sites

The corporate web search engine does not currently search UniSA's password protected corporate websites. You may want users to find this information and there is a way of them being able to find it.

On the relevant open access page, provide a link to to the password protected information. On the password protected page add the relevant metadata using the steps above. This means if a user searches for a particular term they will hopefully get search results pointing to the open access page where they will see the link to the password protected site.

Examples on the corporate website are the stationery downloads, and the forms information in this Web Authoring Guide. View the source code of these pages to see the metadata at the top.