Metadata and Folder Structure

What is metadata?

Metadata is information about a web page that search engines, like Google, use to serve up the best web pages relevant to a user's search terms.  You want to provide metadata that best describes the content on each web page so that search engines will find your pages. Given this, it's extremely important that metadat fields be completed. 

Metadata in CMS

Display Name: a short name of the page or folder.  Should be concise (4-5 words max).  If possible, do not use the same phrase as the folder's display name.  Do not use "homepage", "welcome", "website", or "webpage" unless it is relevant to the content of the page.

Title: the title of the page (for folders, Title will be the same as the Display Name).  Should not exceed 65 characters.  Page titles should be unique for every page.  If it the page is a news article, use the article title only.

Page example:

Display Name: Name of Page (ie: "Research" or "Faculty and Staff" )
Title: (academic) Research: Biology Department: The University of Scranton
(non-academic) Reunion: Alumni: The University of Scranton

It is important to ensure your Page Title isn't too long, if you have a page that is buried within your department website, use the following model: (Page Title): (Department Name): The University of Scranton

News Articles can break this rule and merely use the article's title as the Page Title.

Folder example:

Display Name: Electrical Enginnering
Title:  Electrical Engineering

Description: description of the page.  Usually one or two sentences from the beginning of an article or a brief summary of what the page contains.

: 4-5 unique words or phrases about the page content. DO NOT use "University of Scranton", "Scranton", or any variations or misspelled versions of them.

System Name
: system/file name of the page or folder, used in the page URL.  Letters, numbers and dashes only.  NO spaces or punctuation.

Uses for Metadata

Page and folder metadata is used throughout the website and the CMS.  Here are the most important areas that utilize metadata:


Breadcrumb Figure

Breadcrumbs show the user their location in the website structure.  Breadcrumbs use the Display Name of the current page and its ancestral folders.  "Press Releases" is the parent folder of "May 2009", which is the parent folder of the page "Twelve to Receive O'Hara Award" article.

Example:  University Ministries main page

The University Ministries main page belongs in the (parent) folder “ministries”, which has a display name of “University Ministries.”  The folder, “ministries,” belongs in the folder “studentlife,” which has a display name of “Student Life.”

Without the display name, the breadcrumbs may not complete the page’s folder “trail”.

Page Title

Page Title Figure

The page title is literally the title of the page that appears at the top of your web browser.  Search engines use this to caption pages in their search results.

Without the title, the page title would be “Untitled” or “New Page” which would appear in internal or external searches.  This is undesirable because it obviously does not describe the page content and the page will not rank high on search results.

News Feeds

Some departments will be creating RSS feeds, which provide up-to-the-minute news for users subscribing via email client, RSS reader, etc.  Display name and Title of pages and folders, as well as the description of pages, are used to populate the news feeds.  Leaving the display name, title, or description blank could lead to an invalid (broken) RSS feed and missing information.