To begin with, know that we leave data trails wherever we go online. These can be created by machines (cookies, search history, GPS or ATM transactions) or by the content we ourselves create (social media posts, Amazon reviews, etc.). These data can be open (anyone can access) or can be held in databases (for example, we can pay to access a database to buy Facebook ads by region).
We can think of data in four ways:
- volume (measured in terrabytes)
- variety (type and content)
- structured (GPS, apps, stats)
- unstructured (content, SM posts, etc.)
- velocity (how fast)
- veracity (how authentic/credible it is)
"Metadata" is just data about data, and it can include things like time stamps, geotags, or file size. Search engines use this data to find and rank information. Ms. Fay told us that "good content plus good metadata practices and good web practices equals SEO."
Good metadata practices include using keywords, including a description, time and place, and telling who owns the content -- especially photos. Other types of metadata are automatically generated, such as file format.
If you're going to post a PDF, Ms. Fay said you can use MS Office as a sneaky place to add metadata. When you save your content, whether under document save or properties, include authors and tags, which will then save in the PDF.