Barbara Starr of Search Engine Land recently wrote, “Search engines are evolving. Search is not only becoming faster, it’s becoming more predictive and conversational — more like a personal assistant. In the old days, search engine results pages (SERPs) presented little more than a collection of 10 blue links — the results of a search over web documents. These listings typically consisted of the URL along with a “snippet” of text and perhaps some other information. Search engines became quite adept at determining and displaying relevant and readable snippets.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘rich snippets’
Among the mainstream content management systems, you could make the case that Drupal was the first open source semantic CMS out there. At next week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference, software engineer Stéphane Corlosquet of Acquia, which provides enterprise-level services around Drupal, and Bock & Co. principal Geoffrey Bock will discuss in this session Drupal’s role as a semantic CMS and how it can help organizations and institutions that are yearning to enrich their data with more semantics – for search engine optimization, yes, but also for more advanced use cases.
“It’s very easy to embed semantics in Drupal,” says Bock, who analyses and consults on digital strategies for content and collaboration. At its core it has the capability to manage semantic entities, and in the upcoming version 8 it takes things to a new level by including schema.org as a foundational data type. “It will become increasingly easier for developers to build and deliver semantically enriched environments,” he says, which can drive a better experience both for clients and stakeholders.
Corlosquet, who has taken a leadership role in building semantic web capabilities into Drupal’s core and maintains the RDF module in Drupal 7 and 8, explains that the closer embrace of schema.org in Drupal is of course a help when it comes to SEO and user engagement, for starters. Google uses content marked up using schema.org to power products like Rich Snippets and Google Now, too.
A couple of weeks back The Semantic Web Blog reported on research from SEO optimization vendor Searchmetrics about the virtues of semantic markup. Now the 2014 Content Search Marketers Survey, which recently came out from enterprise SEO platform vendor Brightedge, adds some more interesting statistics to show about what matters to optimized search.
Among them: Half of the respondents consider a page/content-based approach to driving page traffic, conversions and revenue as being much more important for SEO in 2014 than in 2013. Another 50 percent said it would be more or as important this year than last.
“The page-based approach to SEO in the world of secure search is important for 100 percent of SEOs, and 85 percent stated that it would be more or much more important for them in 2014,” the report states. “SEOs are also still focused on the business impact of the keyword (90 percent), though the shift in focus to the page leaves only 50% percent stating that measuring the business impact of the keyword will be more important in 2014.”
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.
Rich snippets – yep, they were a nice start, but Russian search engine Yandex thinks it’s time for something more powerful. Something it’s calling interactive snippets and a feature it’s branding as Islands for its search results pages.
Yandex says the new feature evolves from rich snippets, which CTO Ilya Segalovich refers to in the press release as “mere decoration.” Interactive snippets, in contrast, are actionable, letting users do things like book movie tickets, make reservations or pay bills right from the search page. Webmasters can choose to add this functionality to their web sites if they want to, and while it may get their business customers – especially those using smartphones and tablets – who want to make their transactions as seamless as possible, it does mean those users won’t be making the journey to the business’ own web site.
How will webpage data be interpreted in the next few years? The Semantic Web community has high hopes for ever evolving semantic standards to help systems identify and extract rich data found on the web, ultimately making it more useful. With the announcement of Schema.org support for GoodRelations in November, it seems clear semantic progress is now being made on the e-commerce front, and at an accelerated rate. Martin Hepp, founder of GoodRelations, estimates the rate of adoption of rich, structured e-commerce data to significantly increase this year.
However, Mike Tung, founder and CEO of a data parsing service called DiffBot, has less faith that the standards necessary for a true Semantic Web will ever be completely and effectively implemented. In an interview on Xconomy he states that for semantic standards to work correctly content owners must markup the content once for the web and a second time for the semantic standards. This requires extra work, and affords them the opportunity to perform content stuffing (SEO spam).
Structured data makes the Web go around. Search engines love it when webmasters mark up page content. Google’s rich snippets, for instance, leverages sites’ use of microdata (preferred format), or RDFa or microformats: It makes it possible to highlight in a few lines specific types of content in search results, to give users some insight about what’s on the page and its relationship to their queries – prep time for a recipe, for instance.
Plenty of web sites generated from structured data haven’t added HTML markup to their pages, though, so they aren’t getting the benefits that come with search engines understanding the information on those web pages.
Maybe that will change, now that Google has introduced Data Highlighter, an easy way to tell its search engine about the structured data behind their web pages. A video posted by Google product management director Jack Menzel gives the snapshot: “Data Highlighter is a point- and-click tool that allows any webmaster to show Google the patterns of structured data on their pages without modifying the pages themselves,” he says.
It’s time to get semantic with your Thanksgiving meal – or what’s left of it. To that end, we toured some semantically-powered foodie services to get some ideas about what to serve up for the big day. Maybe you’ll even find some things you just may never have considered without some semantic web services making it easy to pinpoint to your tastes (literally) or nutritional concerns, or that let you bring to the table the latest delicacies getting high-fives on the social web sentiment scene.
Here we go:
- Google. For some Thanksgiving-ers, it’s simply off “to the Google,” as the dear family member in charge of our celebration says, to suss out recipes that have been marked up with rich snippets or schema.org microdata. Tired of the same old green bean casserole and plain mashed potatoes each year? Narrow the search engine to its recipes focus and you’ll find a few choice nuggets of Thanksgiving’s best vegetable side dishes – the traditional ones are there, like Martha Stewart’s garlic mashed potatoes (for a bit of a twist) and, yup, the tried-and-true green bean casserole. But you’re not likely to have thought of a pickled root vegetable salad before, courtesy of Cooking Channel TV, are you? Be prepared to set aside an hour and thirty minutes, though, to make it happen. Read more
Google has released the structured data testing tool, a new and renamed version of its rich snippet testing tool. According to a blog by Yong Zhu, on behalf of the rich snippets testing tool team, improvements include:
- How rich snippets are displayed in the testing tool to better match how they appear in search results;
- A new visual design to make it clearer what structured data it can extract from the page, and how that may be shown in search results;
- And the availability of the tool in languages other than English (French, Spanish, Arabic, for example) to help webmasters from around the world build structured-data-enabled websites.
Are you wondering why your product pages don’t stand out in search results like those from Amazon (shown below) or other competing e-commerce websites? These expanded results are commonly known as Rich Snippets (as named by Google) and are the result of having your HTML structured correctly with semantic markup. Whether you’re savvy to HTML5 and the latest design trends, or you haven’t updated your website code in years, this is article will explain why it’s important you structure your data properly utilizing semantic standards.
There are a number of ways to structure your data to make it more relevant to search engines, as well as social media sites. As an e-commerce retailer it is important to understand which of these standards you should consider including in your website. You should take some time to ensure you are implementing semantic markup, and doing it correctly. It has the power to better inform potential customers with upfront knowledge prior to landing on your site. Customers can see product reviews, pricing and stock information, and even images before clicking through to your website. This can lead to increased click-through rates, improve conversions, and generally enhance your SEO objectives.
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