My job at large Fortune 100 company involves the optimization of web collaboration and knowledge sharing. One primary task I have is trying to help my users find relevant information on our intranet. Thus, it's 10 pm ... where is your metadata?
Seriously, how many of you use standard corporate templates for Powerpoint or Word documents? Have you ever stopped to see what is contained in the document properties? or do you just re-save your work with a new file name? In that case, many of your files have exactly the same name as far as a search engine is concerned ... such as <IBM Template> or <Motorola Template>. You get the idea. Imagine how hard it is for a dumb robot (i.e. the search engine) to determine what content is most relevant.
Search engines look primarily at two document elements, title and subject. Here is an excerpt from John Webb Consulting's overview on office metadata:
Titles appear as the caption for documents in search results and give users an idea what the document is about. Titles are searchable and contribute greatly to search engine rankings.
- Use the title as it appears in the document.
- If you have to cut the title short, end the title with complete words, not in the middle of words.
- Search engines will generally display the first 90 or so characters of the title, so make sure the first 90 characters contain the most meaningful and important information.
Subject Field (Summary)
Information in this field appears as the document summary in search results and can also help contribute to ranking in the search engine.
- Include terms used in the document - this enhances the ranking in search results.
- Summaries should not exceed 200 characters.
- Keep it simple.
- Make each description unique.
Ignore all the other document properties fields. If you follow this advice, what you create may actually be found on your intranet!