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Under the Hood: Advanced Semantic Markup for SEO

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This deck covers both the abstract principles and tactical nitty-gritty of Schema.org semantic markup to help site content be better understood by search engines. …

This deck covers both the abstract principles and tactical nitty-gritty of Schema.org semantic markup to help site content be better understood by search engines.

It was presented at an SEMpdx event on February 11, 2014.

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Design

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  • 1. Under the Hood Advanced Semantic Markup for SEO Will Hattman Organic Search Specialist will@anvilmediainc.com
  • 2. The Information Superhighway Remember this? This was the dominant metaphor for the wondrous information-rich future that we were promised by the TV talking heads back in the 90s.
  • 3. The Information Superhighway Remember this? This was the dominant metaphor for the wondrous information-rich future that we were promised by the TV talking heads back in the 90s. [TV is this thing that we had before we had the internet.]
  • 4. Try Information Heaven The internet is not a physical space, so the idea of being slave to the limitations of the physical world while exploring it is unacceptable. The internet is a space without distances. Therefore, it’s a space where you get what you want the instant you want it, even if you don’t know where it’s going to come from. That’s not any kind of highway. That’s heaven.
  • 5. The Hive Mind The internet is where we decided to build our collective mind. But it’s not enough that it simply stores information, like our individual minds do… we also want it to function the way our minds function: non-linearly. Associatively.
  • 6. Search Is What Makes This Possible The power and availability of search engines is the reason we can navigate the hive mind in much the way we navigate our own minds. Search makes the process of retrieving content from the web as easy as retrieving one of our own memories. In theory.
  • 7. Why Do We Search? All search depends on a fundamental premise…
  • 8. Why Do We Search? All search depends on a fundamental premise…
  • 9. The Content Is Out There …and not only is it a search engine’s job to find it, but because of our love for the hive mind model, we increasingly can’t get to the content we seek without their help. You are here, the content you seek is there, and search paves the road between. With each passing year, search is less and less just one internet tool among many, and more and more how we do the internet.
  • 10. The Content Is Out There …and not only is it a search engine’s job to find it, but because of our love for the hive mind model, we increasingly can’t get to the content we seek without their help. You are here, the content you seek is there, and search paves the road between. With each passing year, search is less and less just one internet tool among many, and more and more how we do the internet. SO WHY DOES SEARCH EVER FAIL?
  • 11. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for?
  • 12. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served
  • 13. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling)
  • 14. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives
  • 15. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation)
  • 16. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation) they need to know which sources to trust
  • 17. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation) they need to know which sources to trust (ranking factors)
  • 18. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation) they need to know which sources to trust (ranking factors) they need to understand which of all the pages on the web would best satisfy your query.
  • 19. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation) they need to know which sources to trust (ranking factors) they need to understand which of all the pages on the web would best satisfy your query. (the tricky part)
  • 20. Information Retrieval What do search engines need in order to be able to give you what you’re looking for? they need to know what’s out there to be served (crawling) they need to remember where it all lives (indexation) they need to know which sources to trust (ranking factors) they need to understand which of all the pages on the web would best satisfy your query. (the tricky part) The evolution of the search engine is the evolution of machine understanding.
  • 21. Search Engines Need Help Search engines have always sought to discover the meaning of webpages. There is a difference between knowing the names of foods and knowing what they are.
  • 22. Search Engines Need Help Search engines have always sought to discover the meaning of webpages. The problem is, for most of the web’s life, they’ve had very little to go on. There is a difference between knowing the names of foods and knowing what they are.
  • 23. Search Engines Need Help Search engines have always sought to discover the meaning of webpages. The problem is, for most of the web’s life, they’ve had very little to go on. Page copy Headings Metadata URLs Anchor text of inbound links No matter what your webpage is about, these elements are fundamentally the same. Traditionally, everything rests on how well you populate these fields, and how well a search engine can interpret their contents. There is a difference between knowing the names of foods and knowing what they are.
  • 24. Making Machines Understand If machines only know what you tell them, how can they be made to understand meaning? We have to input not just data, but connections between data. We have to program not just values, but relationships. We have to show them how to associate.
  • 25. Triples The concept of the knowledge “triple” is the basis for conveying meaning to machines. It designates three elements: subject predicate object and arranges them to describe a relationship. The subject has a relationship with the object. The nature of the relationship is described by the predicate. Thus, though a machine cannot actually learn or experience meaning the way a person can, it can simulate an understanding of meaning by reference to an ever-expanding web of relational context. courtesy of http://www.rdfabout.com/intro
  • 26. Enter Semantic Markup Semantic markup uses this relational model, based in triples, to designate various types of pages on the web based on their content, as well as various properties within that content, in ways that search engines can understand concretely and unambiguously.
  • 27. The Emergence of The groundwork for the semantic web was laid years ago, and several different, competing standards arose in a short period of time. Schema.org, arriving in 2011, was the first semantic markup vocabulary with ambitions of universal adoption.
  • 28. The Emergence of The groundwork for the semantic web was laid years ago, and several different, competing standards arose in a short period of time. Schema.org, arriving in 2011, was the first semantic markup vocabulary with ambitions of universal adoption. The fact that it was launched, funded, and developed by these guys probably is reason enough to believe that it will become the standard.
  • 29. The Emergence of The groundwork for the semantic web was laid years ago, and several different, competing standards arose in a short period of time. Schema.org, arriving in 2011, was the first semantic markup vocabulary with ambitions of universal adoption. The fact that it was launched, funded, and developed by these guys probably is reason enough to believe that it will become the standard.
  • 30. The Emergence of The groundwork for the semantic web was laid years ago, and several different, competing standards arose in a short period of time. Schema.org, arriving in 2011, was the first semantic markup vocabulary with ambitions of universal adoption. The fact that it was launched, funded, and developed by these guys probably is reason enough to believe that it will become the standard. Actually, it kind of already has.
  • 31. Let’s Get Practical How does it work? As with most of the world’s best things, this question is best answered with food. Recipes constitute the most visible semantic search showcase on the web. Search Google for any dish by name and behold the wonder. rich snippets galore bipartite knowledge graph entry
  • 32. Let’s Get Practical How does it work? As with most of the world’s best things, this question is best answered with food. Recipes constitute the most visible semantic search showcase on the web. Search Google for any dish by name and behold the wonder. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS? rich snippets galore bipartite knowledge graph entry
  • 33. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup.
  • 34. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. specifies class of item
  • 35. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. specifies class of item names property
  • 36. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. specifies class of item names property Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. Then, you assign a value to each property. specifies value of item
  • 37. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. specifies class of item names property Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. Then, you assign a value to each property. specifies value of item
  • 38. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. specifies class of item names property Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. Then, you assign a value to each property. specifies value of item
  • 39. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. SUBJECT PREDICATE Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. Then, you assign a value to each property. These are just glorified triples. OBJECT
  • 40. What Sorcery Is This? In most cases, rich snippets are generated from site-side markup. First, you specify an itemtype: a basic class type for your item. SUBJECT PREDICATE Then, you indicate which properties of the item you’re going to designate. Then, you assign a value to each property. These are just glorified triples. OBJECT (as long as you’re comfortable with something like “has property” as a universal verb)
  • 41. But I Don’t Have a Recipe Site Schema.org semantic markup can also generate rich snippets on searches for: Events supported properties include — — — — location (including geographical coordinates) event type & description start date, end date, duration ticket purchase CTA Products supported properties include — — — — — — — — image description brand category reviews & ratings price SKU offer details
  • 42. Other Schema Types People supported properties include — — — — — — name & nickname photo title/role affiliations social relationship to searcher, if any address Organizations and Local Businesses supported properties include — — — — name address (and/or geographical coordinates) telephone number logo
  • 43. Schema.org Is Ever-Growing All of these are supported for at least some properties, and more types are added to the list every year.
  • 44. Specialized Search Pages bearing semantic markup can qualify for certain specialized searches on Google as well.
  • 45. Specialized Search Pages bearing semantic markup can qualify for certain specialized searches on Google as well. This feature allows for search results to be filtered
  • 46. Specialized Search Pages bearing semantic markup can qualify for certain specialized searches on Google as well. This feature allows for search results to be filtered according to as many properties
  • 47. Specialized Search Pages bearing semantic markup can qualify for certain specialized searches on Google as well. This feature allows for search results to be filtered according to as many properties as the item class in question
  • 48. Specialized Search Pages bearing semantic markup can qualify for certain specialized searches on Google as well. This feature allows for search results to be filtered according to as many properties as the item class in question allows.
  • 49. The Knowledge Graph What about the stuff on the right? rich snippets galore bipartite knowledge graph entry
  • 50. The Knowledge Graph What about the stuff on the right? rich snippets galore bipartite knowledge graph entry
  • 51. The Knowledge Graph This is Google’s Knowledge Graph. It launched in 2012 and at the time constituted Google’s largest leap yet toward the semantic web. It is: — gathered from trusted sources, defined by Google in familiarly vague terms — *the sources most commonly cited are Wikipedia, Freebase, and the CIA World Factbook — not dependent on site-side work — aka impervious to your overtures — designed to limit the world’s need for click-through altogether — if Google feels equipped to answer the question directly on the search results page, it’s not going to waste your time making you perform an extra click — based entirely on a relational model of understanding — i.e. a thicket of triples in the billions
  • 52. What Should I Do? For Rich Snippets: — determine which Schema.org itemtypes your content qualifies for — determine whether your CMS will allow you to implement via a plugin, or whether you need to hard-code — test your code using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets — keep an eye out for evidence of new Schema.org support — propose your own expansions to the vocabulary For the Knowledge Graph: — there is no direct path to earning a spot in the Knowledge Graph — the long game involves getting yourself, your site, or your brand noticed and respected — build trust over time via good acts (i.e. #RCS), good site content, and good SEO — Google’s trust in you will increase with every forward-facing SEO measure your site adopts — Schema.org — Google Authorship — Full Google+ brand verification and community participation
  • 53. Thank you!

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