A metafilter is a rule you create for your content to make sure you’re sharing it with the right people. With metafilters, you can prevent certain pieces of content from getting delivered to certain people, using characteristics like creation date, geographical region, specific keywords, etc. There are tons of options!
Before we go further into the subject of metafilters, we’re going to review meta tags and business rules—two related (and important) topics. If you feel good about these topics, though, feel free to skip the next two sections.
Review: Meta Tags
The best way to make sure your metafilters work well is to have smart meta tags. To make sure we’re covering all our bases, here are some suggestions for organizing your meta tags:
- Be consistent. It’s important that every single piece of content be tagged using a standard that you’ve set. Of course, you’ll want to use internet best practices (like the ones outlined in this article), but the journey to a perfect tagging structure starts at home. Achieving consistency can be really difficult when several people are updating a site at once, but putting in upfront effort will save you a lot of headaches later. Some tips:
- Decide on format. Tags should have the same formatting throughout (“2016 Presidential Election” vs “2016_presidential_election” vs “2016-presidential-election”).
- Include a tag for the author. Fun fact: readers tend to read articles by the same author without even realizing it.
- Use the tags to specify content types (e.g. article, video, podcast, etc.).
- Run occasional content checks. Slips are bound to happen (it’s okay—you’re only human!). Check your tags every few months to make sure you’re following best practices and abiding by the standards you’ve set. Check them even more often if you’re producing lots of content every day.
- When you create a tag, make it really generic or really specific. Don’t waffle, and don’t forget rule number 1. It’s great to use a mix of generic and specific tags on any given piece of content.
- A good generic tag only needs one keyword, but it should fit in naturally with the rest of the tags. Example: a website that sells jewelry could have tags that define products in a very generic way (“rings,” “earrings,” “necklaces,” “bracelets,” “other,” etc.), making it easy to provide broad segmentation. It would be weird if the tags were “rings,” “earrings,” “bracelets,” and “bangles,” though, because a bangle is just a specific kind of bracelet.
- When using a more specific tagging structure, you’ll want to decide how many tags to put on each piece of content. For example, you may want to always tag articles with their authors, whereas if you’re tagging a recipe, it may be more important to specify the main ingredients or type of dish. Generally speaking, 5-7 tags per piece of content is enough. Using the jewellery example, a ring could have “ring,” “gold”, “claddaugh”, and “wedding.” (Take note of the mix of generic and specific tags!)