Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

SEO in the Age of Entities: Using for Findability


Published on

How is SEO changing to support microdata like And why is this metadata good for information retrieval and organic search engine optimization?

In this introductory guest lecture for the University of Washington, I present some of the problems in information retrieval for unstructured content ("blobs") and how to solve for these challenges using microdata to define "entities".

There's a simple markup exercise to expose students to the basics as well as jokes about horror movies, The Simpsons, Keanu Reeves, and even Joss Whedon just to keep things light-hearted and fun.

You can learn more about Jonathon Colman at

Published in: Technology, Education

SEO in the Age of Entities: Using for Findability

  1. INFO 498: Content Strategy (week #7)From Blobs to Structured DataSEO in the Age of Entities Jonathon Colman, @jcolman In-House SEO for REI
  2. What is content? If you boil away all the formatting, what’s left? Just text? If so, then why isn’t full text search good enough to find what you’re looking for? What could work better than that? Any what can we do to content to support its findability?
  4. Huh? Wikipedia is a source?
  5. Oh, it’s via a synonym redirect to… t_Couldn%27t_Slow_Down&redirect=no
  6. Joss Whedon was a co-writer? WTF?!
  7. What is a document? How can you tell what a document is about? How can you tell one document from another? What sort of signals do documents give us that help us derive their meaning? Do you know them when you see them?
  8. veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lommodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feu os et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praes augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Nam liber temd option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim p Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in em. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere mes. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur m tudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothicaus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas human decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc noant sollemnes in futurum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, cing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut lam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo conm iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feuber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihid mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent cl This is a Blob.gentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes de s legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mittera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, antep humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima
  9. Lorem ipsum: A Study in Dolor Sit AmetAuthor: Melissa WeaverDate: February 18, 2012Language: Latin, EnglishPublisher: UW Husky PressKeywords: consectetuer, adipiscing, elit, sed, diamAbstract: Nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam eratvolutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipitlobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.Chapter 1: Hendrerit in VulputateDuis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit essemolestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis atvero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent This uses Entities.luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihilimperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum...
  10. The Problem with Blobs Unstructured content is useful, but only to a point It’s hard to scan, skim, and easily make sense of – both for humans and robots It’s hard to search against, particularly in a crowded collection with lots of competing content containing similar information What should a search engine pay attention to in order to help the user?
  11. HTML metadata Metadata is “data about data”, right? In HTML, we can express metadata like:  <title>The Problem With Blobs</title>  <meta name=“description” content=“An overview of why blobs are tricky things to deal with.” />  <meta name="keywords" content=“blob, entity, seo, content strategy, inf0498" /> Unfortunately, that’s not going to be good enough. But why not? Let’s see…
  12. 2.2M results! Where are the movies?
  13. How can we do better?Real metadata – in this case, “microdata”.
  14. What is Microdata standard agreed upon by Google, Bing, and Yahoo Uses relatively simple on-page code to turn blobs of content into structured data Once structured, this content become interoperable in other systems – you can display that data wherever the standards are accepted Here’s an example…
  15. This can increase clicks by +30%.
  16. Controlled entities help searchers Documents can be documents, authors can be authors, products can be products, and prices can be prices.  Each of these entities has a definition in and markup that you can use to define a blob as being actual data. So if Homer doesn’t know the name of the movie “Speed”, he can still find it with searches for its subject, the actors, the year it came out, the director, etc.
  17. Exercise: Use the “Article” schema Go to Look at the entities and the code sample at the bottom Pick appropriate content from the IAI Library, such as _simplified_model_for_facet_analysis.php “View Source” and try marking it up with microdata
  18. Partial potential results<div itemscope itemtype=“”> <h1 itemprop="name">A Simplified Model for Facet Analysis</h1> <div itemscope itemtype=“”> <h2 itemprop=“name">Dr. Louise Spiteri</h2><br /> <spanitemprop=“URL"></span><br> <div itemscope itemtype=“”> Faculty of Management<br /> School of Library and Information Studies<br /> <span itemprop=“Organization”>Dalhousie University</span><br /> <div itemscope itemtype=""> <span itemprop=“addressLocality”>Halifax</span><br /> <span itemprop="addressRegion">Nova Scotia</span> <spanitemprop="postalCode">NS B3H 3J5</span><br /> <span itemprop="addressCountry">Canada</span></div><br /> Voice: <span itemprop=“telephone”>(902) 494-2473</span><br /> Fax: <span itemprop=“faxNumber”>(902) 494-2451</span></div><br /> </div></div>
  19. How to testUse Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool:
  20. Sample test output For this example blog post: blogger-schemaorg-examples.html The Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool shows this output, which includes some use of pets? 2F2011%2F11%2Fmarkup-blogger-schemaorg- examples.html&view=
  21. What did we just learn? is frakkin’ verbose. Entities can cascade poly-hierarchically There are many “right” approaches Not all entities need to be expressed Not all entities provide value Still, it’s hard to know when to stop  In your case, you’re done when the quarter’s over. 
  22. Common entities Thing > Person Thing > Organization Thing > CreativeWork > Article See also: Blog, BlogPosting, NewsArticle, ScholarlyArticle Thing > CreativeWork > MediaObject See also: AudioObject, ImageObject, VideoObject Thing > Place See full list at
  23. Constraints to consider Helping more people find more things is great, right? But in the Real World™:  Assume that there’s a cost to do this  Assume that there’s a cost for maintenance  Assume that the standards will change  Assume that there are other priorities  Assume that conflicts, dependencies exist
  24. Takeaways Jon likes horror movies and The Simpsons Blobs aren’t evil, just misunderstood! Structured data entities help define blobs  Structured data entities make blobs easier to understand, learn from, index, and find  Metadata, microdata, and other methods can be used to create these entities SEO standards (such as are emerging to support entities in popular search engines.
  25. Many thanks! Jonathon Colman In-House SEO for REI Home: Twitter: @jcolman Pssssst! So you wanna learn more about SEO? See ners-guide-to-seo