schema.org

Schema.org Takes Action

actionstatusThis week saw schema.org introduce vocabulary that enables websites to describe the actions they enable and how these actions can be invoked, in the hope that these additions will help unleash new categories of applications, according to a new post by Dan Brickley.

This represents an expansion of the vocabulary’s focus point from describing entities to taking action on these entities. The work has been in progress, Brickley explains here, for the last couple of years, building on the http://schema.org/Action types added last August by providing a way of describing the capability to perform actions in the future.

The three action status type now includes PotentialActionStatus for a description of an action that is supported, ActiveActionStatus for an in-progress action, and CompletedActionStatus, for an action that has already taken place.

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Semantic Markup Pays Off But For Whom?

schemapix1 Many eyes are turning to research being done by SEO optimization vendor Searchmetrics about the virtues of semantic markup. Exploring the enrichment of search results through microdata integration, it says it has analyzed “tens of thousands of representative keywords, and rankings for over half a million domains from our comprehensive database, for the effect of the use of schema.org markup in terms of dissemination and integration type.”

Its study is still underway but so far its initial findings include good news – that is, that semantic markup succeeds:

  • Larger domains are more likely to embrace structured data markup, and the most popular markups relate to movies, offers, and reviews.  That said, overall, domains aren’t flocking to integrate Schema HTML tags.

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Google’s Structured Data Dashboard Now Offers Markup Error Reports

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According to a new post by Mariya Moeva on the Google Webmaster Blog, “Since we launched the Structured Data dashboard last year, it has quickly become one of the most popular features in Webmaster Tools. We’ve been working to expand it and make it even easier to debug issues so that you can see how Google understands the marked-up content on your site. Starting today, you can see items with errors in the Structured Data dashboard. This new feature is a result of a collaboration with webmasters, whom we invited in June to>register as early testers of markup error reporting in Webmaster Tools. We’ve incorporated their feedback to improve the functionality of the Structured Data dashboard.” Read more

Welcome Schema.org v1.0e

rsz_shema-org-logoWord has come from Dan Brickley that Schema.org Version 1.0e has been published.

He notes in a posting that the release includes a schema for describing Orders and Accessibility properties applied to the CreativeWork type. The latter draws upon the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Access For All specification and the work of the Accessibility Metadata Project. The inclusion of accessibility metadata in the Schema.org collection is designed to help people to easily find content that meets their individual needs and preferences.

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Where Schema.org Is At: A Chat With Google’s R.V. Guha

 

rvg Interested in how schema.org has trended in the last couple of years since its birth? If you were at The International Semantic Web Conference event in Sydney a couple of weeks back, you may have caught Google Fellow Ramanathan V. Guha — the mind behind schema.org — present a keynote address about the initiative.

Of course, Australia’s a far way to go for a lot of people, so The Semantic Web Blog is happy to catch everyone up on Guha’s thoughts on the topic.

We caught up with him when he was back stateside:

The Semantic Web Blog: Tell us a little bit about the main focus of your keynote.

Guha: The basic discussion was a progress report on schema.org – its history and why it came about a couple of years ago. Other than a couple of panels at SemTech we’ve maintained a rather low profile and figured it might be a good time to talk more about it, and to a crowd that is different from the SemTech crowd.

The short version is that the goal, of course, is to make it easier for mainstream webmasters to add structured data markup to web pages, so that they wouldn’t have to track down many different vocabularies, or think about what Yahoo or Microsoft or Google understands. Before webmasters had to champion internally which vocabularies to use and how to mark up a site, but we have reduced that and also now it’s not an issue of which search engine to cater to.

It’s now a little over two years since launch and we are seeing adoption way beyond what we expected. The aggregate search engines see about 15 percent of the pages we crawl have schema.org markup. This is the first time we see markup approximately on the order of the scale of the web….Now over 5 million sites are using it.  That’s helped by the mainstream platforms like Drupal and WordPress adopting it so that it becomes part of the regular workflow. Read more

The Future of SEO: Panelists At SemTechBiz Weigh In

SEO is dead. Long Live SEO. A panel discussion.Where is SEO going? A panel hosted by Aaron Bradley, Internet marketing manager at InfoMine, Inc. at this week’s Semantic Technology & Business Conference in NYC took on the issue at full force. The session, featuring Bing senior product manager Duane Forrester,  semantic web strategist and independent consultant Barbara H. Starr, Swellpath SEO Team Manager Mike Arnesen, and author and analyst David Amerland (see our Q&A with him here), provided some insight into why it’s an exciting time to be working in both semantic technology and search – and why that’s also a scary proposition for some in the SEO set who’ve lived by keywords and links.

On the exciting side of things, Arnesen pointed out that it was always a somewhat unnatural process to have to advise clients to craft content so that it can match to specific keywords to get traction. “Now we can tell them to just write good content, put what you need to put on the web and it will be easier find because of semantic markup and semantic search,” he said.

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Helping Citizen Searches For Government Services

Photo courtesy: Flickr/Arjan Richter

By 2016, ABI Research has it, as much as $114 billion could be saved worldwide through the implementation of online e-government services. It predicted that investment in these services is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and that the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period.

Here in the states, according to a 2012 survey by GovLoop, 83 percent of respondents say that they can access government-oriented customer service efforts via a website. And the number of people who are taking advantage of the ability to access information and services on government web sites is pretty significant, even going back to 2010, when the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that 82 percent of American Internet users – 62 percent of adults – were doing so. Among its findings at the time were that 46 percent have looked up what services a government agency provides; 33 percent  have renewed a driver’s license or auto registration; 23 percent have gotten information about or applied for government benefits; and 11 percent have applied for a recreational license, such as a fishing or hunting license.

Given the interest in accessing information via the Internet about government services by the citizenry — not to mention accessing the services themselves, and not only in the US but abroad — it makes sense for governments to put an emphasis on customer service online. The Govloop survey finds that there’s room for some improvement, with the majority of respondents rating service a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1 to 5. Perhaps additional help will come from some efforts in the semantic web space, like a vocabulary for describing civic services that government organizations can use to help citizens using search engines hone in on the service that’s their true interest from the start.

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New From Google: Search for “In-Depth” Articles on Broad Subjects

The Official Google Search Blog reports, “To understand a broad topic, sometimes you need more than a quick answer. Our research indicates perhaps 10% of people’s daily information needs fit this category — topics like stem cell research, happiness, and love, to name just a few. That’s why over the next few days we’ll be rolling out a new feature to help you find relevant in-depth articles in the main Google Search results.  Now sometimes when you’re searching for a broad topic (on google.com in English to start), you’ll find a new block of results like the [above.]” Read more

Schema.Org Intros Vocabulary Changes And Other Fixes

What’s new at schema.org?

According to Dan Brickley (here), changes start with two issues at the vocabulary level. The first is the addition of http://schema.org/sameAs, for disambiguating entities in structured markup, indicating when a single real-world entity is being described. The W3C proposal for the property, which essentially has the same semantics as owl:sameAs and which began life as sameThingAs, adds a property to Thing that makes it easier to indicate identifying URLs for entities being described. Reports Freebase, “This lets webmasters declare how their structured data should connect to the Knowledge Graph and opens up a lot of possibilities for mashups with the Freebase APIs.” Read more

Dakick Wants To Kick Event Recommendations Into High Gear

What’s the only and biggest startup in Istanbul, Turkey that’s working on the semantic web? The answer is Dakick, says co-founder and general manager Serkan Ünsal, a service for more than 100,000 members in Turkey so far that is focused on event ontologies and creating an events recommendation engine.

Users can follow people such as celebrities, venues, movies or other performing arts, and, based on the relations it’s building among entities in its growing database, be directed to shows that a followed actor is in that night on TV, for instance, or an upcoming concert featuring the work of a followed composer.

Users can select entities to follow on its service or Dakick can collect data from Facebook and Twitter accounts, too. An issue with getting people connected with the events that matter to the entities they’re interested in, however, starts with the fact that the providers sending their movie showtimes, tv schedules, exhibition, sports, trade show, conferences, performing art, and concert information Dakick’s way don’t always have a uniform perspective on data structure, if any at all, which makes interoperability a challenge.

“In Turkey content providers typically don’t know much about data structure,” says Ünsal, so Dakick is trying to educate them to move the needle here. “We are saying to all our content providers that if you agree on a data structure it will make search engines more meaningful to list some event data.”

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