Modern SharePoint metadata

Metadata – What is it?

Metadata is compromised of meta tags which are short snippets of text that describe the page’s content. With accurate metadata, search engines locate and find pages of content that are relevant to the search criteria that was inputted by reading the metadata on the pages. Metadata is key in search engine optimization (SEO), a term which you may or may or may not be familiar with. With SharePoint and Office 365, metadata is now used to bring accurate, relevant, and targeted pages to its audience.

Why use Metadata in SharePoint and Office 365?

SharePoint and Office 365 are all about collaboration and keeping your teams informed of the latest news. By applying the concept of SEO with metadata in the internet world to the world of collaborative intranets, SharePoint and Office 365 can curate and provide accurate and relative content to targeted audiences.

In addition to the metadata, the ability to custom Pages library columns to filter information and to target the pages results in more accurate, specific, and powerful information to the right audience.

How to Define and Decide the Metadata

It is easy to go overboard with metadata but by following 4 simple steps, this can be avoided. To begin defining the metadata, review the naming convention that is followed for the folders as the logic of sorting and organizing begins here for the data. The top-level folders indicate the first custom column in your Pages library. The second level folders may indicate the second customized column. You now have the first two metadata columns. For the next step, review and analyze the naming convention for the document files. Users will name their documents with built-in search criteria that make it easy for them to find it. Perhaps, the naming convention would include the year, month, date, project name, and version control. By reviewing the naming convention carefully, you can determine the hierarchy of terms which become searchable. For example, the metadata that can be defined is the year or the project name. An important step is to think like your users: how will they search for that information? The words or phrases (the criteria) that you arrive at can be also defined and added as another customized column.  Finally, reach out to your users and ask them what their criteria for searching would be. By doing this, you will arrive at enterprise keywords.  The responses elicited maybe extremely varied but by filtering, one could arrive at the most common phrases/search criteria to develop and define the metadata.


How to Add Custom Meta Tags to SharePoint Pages

By using the Page details edit pane, you can create custom columns which contain your metadata information. Located within the Pages library of your site, these custom columns can be used to filter, organize, and target pages when the metadata is used with web parts like Highlighted Content and News.

Adding Custom Metadata to SharePoint Pages

In the Pages library, add a new custom property to a page. Then create a column for that property. This column contains the metadata or searchable properties of that Page. This is now available on the Pages detail edit pane for each page of that site. In edit mode on a page, open the edit pane by clicking Page details. If you are an author, then you will have the permissions to edit or add values to any of the metadata columns in that corresponding pages library.

Viewing, Editing, and Adding Page Properties

Page properties can be viewed and edited. To do so, follow these steps:

1. Click Page Details at the top of the page;

2. Under the property name, click the value of the property that is to be edited. Type in the new vale and press Enter. To edit multiple properties at a time, click Edit All. Edit the properties that are to be revised. When done, click Save.

At the bottom of the pane, click More Details to view additional information about the page.

Adding Page Properties

Adding a property to the page can be done by creating a customized column in the pages library. The customized column contains the metadata, the searchable properties, that the search engines use to locate and curate the content. Not only can the metadata be seen and edited in the pages library, it is also available in the Page details pane for each page.

1. In the Pages library, click Pages on the left navigation pane. If you do not see Pages, then click Settings which is located on the top right. Next, choose Site Contents and then from Site Contents, choose Site Pages;

2. Click Add Column+ to the right of the last column name at the top of the library or list;

3. Choose the type of column you want from the dropdown list. The dropdown list includes Single Line of Text, Multiple Lines of Text, Number, Yes/No, Person, Date, Choice, Hyperlink, Picture, Currency, and More…;

4.  In the Name field that comes up in the dialogue box, type in the title or the column heading;

5. Click Create.

Adding More Column Types

1. Click Pages on the left navigation pane in the pages library. If you do not see Pages, click Settings located on the top right and then choose Site Contents. From Site Contents, choose Site Pages;

2. In the library that you want to add a column, from the All Items or All Documents view of the list, select Add Column+ at the end of the heading row. Then, select More….

3. In the Name and Type section, key in the name that you want for the column in the Column Name box;

4. From the dialogue box titled The Type of information in this column is, select the type of information that you want to appear;

5. There is a Description Box in the Additional Column Settings which provides the opportunity to add a description. Though optional, it is highly recommended to provide the descriptor to assist users in understanding the purpose of the customized column. Depending upon the type of column that was selected, additional options may appear in the Additional Column Settings section.

Filtering, Targeting, and Organizing SharePoint Pages

Organizing and grouping individual pages can be achieved by using the properties (metadata) set for each page. Web parts and pages dynamically display if the source in the Highlighted Content or News web part is changed to “The page library on this site” along with setting the filter option to “Page properties”

Display Page Metadata for Your Audience

Greater context can be provided to your readers by exposing some of the metadata on the page with the use of the Page Properties web part. First, add the Page Properties web part to the page. Next, add the page properties that are to be displayed. Then, choose different information to be displayed across different pages. The Page Properties web part supports managed metadata columns, which can be entered in manually or by choosing the icon from the available terms.

By determining, deciding and implementing metadata into your pages, the most relevant and current information can be delivered to your readers based on their search criteria and on the parameters/filters that you set.

Rollout to Targeted Release customers will be completed shortly with a worldwide rollout beginning at the end of July 2018.