COVID-19 metadata creation primer for news products

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Your accurate completion of metadata fields will contribute to the:

  • improved performance of your pages in search results
  • creation of a news inventory of all Government of Canada web pages related to COVID-19

This document gives basic instruction on completion of the following metadata fields as they appear in the news product templates.

Content type (required)

  • Select the correct template for the type of media product you are creating: backgrounder, media advisory, news release, speech, statement.

Institution (required)

  • Select the source department or agency for the news product.

Joint Institutions (as applicable)

  • Select any other institution(s) associated with the news product.

Subjects (required)

  • Drill down through the pick list to select the following value:
  • Next select from the pick list any additional subjects relevant to the non-disease context of the page content.

Ministers (required)

  • Select all ministers relevant to the content of the release.

Themes and topics (required) / Additional themes and topics (required if applicable)

The following value has been added to the pick lists for both the Themes and topics and Additional themes and topics fields: Health/Diseases and conditions/Diseases/Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • For one of the two Themes and topics fields (Themes and topics or Additional themes and topics) you must drill down through the pick list to select the Coronavirus (COVID-19) value if a page is directly or indirectly related to COVID-19
  • For the other Themes and topics field (Themes and topics or Additional themes and topics), select additional values as directly relevant to the subject matter of the page.

Audience (required)

The audience value represents for whom the page is intended or for whom it may be particularly useful.

  • Select relevant values from the pick list. Pay close attention to assigning values for pages of interest to Indigenous people, veterans and/or youth.
  • Though it is a required field, if there is no appropriate audience value, do not select one. Do not select values from the pick list if content is about an audience group but not intended for them.

Media advisory additional recommendation

  • Always select “media” from the pick list. Select additional audience groups as necessary.

Geographic region (required)

  • Select “Canada” as the first value.
  • Select additional values from the pick list which are relevant to the geospatial coverage of the content of the news product. Include foreign country values.

Teaser/Description (required)

Use this field to provide a clear, short, precise summary of the content of the page beyond the title.

  • Create unique descriptions using the first sentence of the product if it accurately summarizes content. Remove unnecessary words and details addressed in the body of the product.
  • Mention both coronavirus and COVID-19 in the description. This is particularly important where neither coronavirus nor COVID-19 are included in the title.
  • Attempt to keep English language descriptions to 130 characters (including spaces) to allow for longer French texts.

Media advisory additional recommendation

  • Do not repeat the title in the description. If you cannot create a unique teaser/ description as outlined above, create a new description standard based on the first sentence of the media advisory and include the date (e.g. Coronavirus (COVID-19) update to be given by Ministers and Government of Canada officials at May 6, 2020 news conference).

Article title (required)

The title is the most important piece of metadata you can assign to your page. It is your page’s elevator pitch amongst all search results displayed on the News page, in and in external search engines results. The title is also displayed in social media and used for performance measurement. It must be unique, accurately summarize, and distinguish the page content. Title is an important page-ranking feature in Google. Google search display is limited to 600 pixels (60-70 characters). Titles longer than this length are truncated in search display results. Test how your title will appear in Google search results at:

  • Create unique titles relevant to page content.
  • Mention coronavirus or COVID-19 in in first 60 characters of the title (to address character pixel width variation) if relevant to content or directly relevant to context. This will allow for the COVID-19 context of the page to be visible in external search results display.

Media advisory additional recommendation

  • If unique titles will not be created for Media advisories, create a new titling standard for COVID-19-related media advisories which is shorter, include “COVID-19” in the first 60 characters and include a date to distinguish from others with the same title (e.g. COVID-19: Government of Canada news conference -- May 6, 2020). This will have benefits for search and performance measurement.

Version note: COVID-19 metadata creation primer for Government of Canada news products V2.3 2020-06-17