The Dublin Core is a relatively up and coming metadata standard that assists with describing a digital document or resource. By providing a set of standard elements that to accurately describe the contents of a webpage, the Dublin Core is a valuable asset for anyone interested in SEO.

However, working with the standard is anything but straight forward. Let’s explore ways to use the Dublin Core standard to further optimize a webpage or website for search engines.

Elements & Properties

The Dublin Core provides a set of 15 elements and subelements that can be used to describe a resource or document to search engines and third-party services. Each element exists to describe a specific and unique aspect of the resource. The elements are deliberately broad and generic in nature, usable for describing a wide range of resources.

Below is a reference of Dublin Core elements that are most commonly associated with web-based resources and documents.

Contributor

An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource.

<meta name="DC.Contributor" content="Kevin Leary" />

Creator

An entity primarily responsible for making the resource.

<meta name="DC.Creator" content="Kevin Leary" />

Date

A point or period of time associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource. Recommended format for a date value is YYYY-MM-DD.

<meta name="DC.Date" content="2014-01-31" />

Description

An account of the resource.

<meta name="DC.Description" content="A tutorial and reference manual for using the Dublin Core metadata on HTML websites." />

Format

The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource.

<meta name="DC.Format" content="text/html" />

Identifier

An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.

<meta name="DC.Identifier" content="http://www.kevinleary.net/dublin-core-metadata/" />

Language

A language of the resource.

<meta name="DC.Language" content="en" />

Publisher

An entity responsible for making the resource available.

<meta name="DC.Publisher" content="kevinleary.net" />

Relation

A related resource.

<meta name="DC.Relation" content="http://dublincore.org/" />

Rights

Information about rights held in and over the resource.

<meta name="DC.Rights" content="Copyright Kevin Leary 2014 - All rights reserved." />

Source

A related resource from which the described resource is derived.

<meta name="DC.Source" content="http://www.kevinleary.net/dublin-core-metadata/" />

Subject

The topic of the resource.

<meta name="DC.Subject" content="Dublin Core Metadata" />

Title

A name given to the resource.

<meta name="DC.Title" content="Working With Dublin Core Metadata" />

Type

The nature or genre of the resource.

<meta name="DC.Type" content="web tutorial" />

Full Example

Dublin Core metadata can be added to HTML documents using <meta> tags within the <head> section a document. As a working example, here’s what a set of Dublin Core meta tags could look like for this blog article.

<meta name="DC.Language" content="en">
<meta name="DC.Title" content="Working With Dublin Core Metadata">
<meta name="DC.Description" content="A tutorial and reference manual for using the Dublin Core metadata on HTML websites.">
<meta name="DC.Type" content="web tutorial">
<meta name="DC.Subject" content="Dublin Core Metadata">
<meta name="DC.Source" content="http://www.kevinleary.net/dublin-core-metadata/" />
<meta name="DC.Rights" content="Copyright Kevin Leary 2014 - All rights reserved." />
<meta name="DC.Relation" content="http://dublincore.org/" />
<meta name="DC.Creator" content="Kevin Leary">
<meta name="DC.Publisher" content="kevinleary.net">
<meta name="DC.Format" content="text/html">
<meta name="DC.Identifier" content="http://www.kevinleary.net/dublin-core-metadata/" />
<meta name="DC.Date.Created" content="2014-01-25">
<meta name="DC.Date.Lastmodified" content="2014-01-31">

Taking it Further

To extend the abilities of the tags, the Dublin Core standard allows subelements to be used for furthuer explaining a specific element property. In the full example above you may notice that I’ve used subelements to extend the Date element (Date.Created and Date.Lastmodified). This ability to extend the details for a given resources makes the Dublin Core standard a powerful way to describe the contents of a document for search and indexing engines.