Google is smart, however there is 20% of the website that it cannot figure out on its own. To fix this, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex got together to define a vocabulary – called schema.org, so that you could close this 20% gap by telling them what your website is about. The result, the birth of semantic markup or rather semantic search marketing.
Semantic markup is part of onpage SEO and compliments pay per click, and off page SEO. The markup is added to a page’s HTML but is not seen by users. Where you see the results, are in search results, more specifically as rich snippets (see image below).
What else uses structured data? Google’s Knowledge Graph (where all information is linked for the web), Facebook Open Graph, and also SIRI, Google NOW, and more.
Is it widely adopted? We are seeing adoption increasing year over year. Today schema.org markup is found across millions of domains (~31% of websites use it) as savvy web properties take advantage of Google’s 37 features powered by structured data.
Semantic marketing is an opportunity for businesses to do organic search engine optimization that has been defined and recommended by the search engines. No guesswork. No gaming. Just code that speaks to search engines.
Why do you care? Think about it. If a search engine understands your content, it can then present your content to users who are searching for it as well as in a more attractive way. This results in higher clickthrough rate for pages where structured data is implemented, and often higher ranking in results. One of the ways search engines show results differently for people who have implemented structured data is through Rich Snippets:
You know the thumbnail pictures, or the rating stars that show up with search results? They are called ‘Rich Snippets’. They give the customer additional information and attract more attention than other search results. Here are some examples of Software Product, Recipe, Event and Product with their Rich Snippets.
Semantic search marketing also transforms how your clients can interact with you in their email. By doing semantic markup in your emails, you can enable Highlights In Inbox, Actions to Email, Answers in Search, and Now Cards. Actions can include any number of buttons for users including RSVP, Provide Reviews, Track a Package or other custom actions.
Depending on your role and desire to learn the standard, there are a couple of different ways you can start adopting structured data. Some example approaches include:
If you have a WordPress website, you can start by adding the Schema App plugin. This plugin, developed by Hunch Manifest, automatically adds structured data to your pages and posts. It also connect with the Schema App, a tool that allows you to easily add structured data.
Every business should add semantic search markup to their website homepage, team/about page and services/products with a goal of getting rich snippets or a knowledge panel.
The home page or organization markup outlines your business name, description, social media accounts, contact numbers, logo, and website. This contributes to the Knowledge Panel in Google Search Results.
If you own or consult to a ecommerce company, start by marking up your business and your products. This can be done really efficiently by adding structured data to your product template. Five underutilized Rich Snippets in Ecommerce.
By using structured data you can make your content topics explicitly clear to search engines resulting in matching your page with users who are trying to find it. Start by selecting the content that gets the most traffic today, and add structured data to increase your traffic even further.
An approach Hunch Manifest likes to take is to consult to add semantic markup to the top pages, and then teach the organization on how to add it on their own using our tools.
The Google Knowledge Graph is a system that Google launched in May 2012 that understands facts about people, places and things and how these entities are all connected. The technology displays popular facts about people, places and things alongside Google’s traditional search results.
When the search engine recognizes a query related to an entity in its knowledge base, a panel to the right of the search results presents information about the subject including images, important facts, and related searches, with links to explore the subject further.
Rich snippets are extra lines of information shown to users in the search results. Rich snippets are created by the search engines for some types of structured data, like microdata, RDFa or Schema.org markup. The extra line of information is meant to provide extra information to the user to help them decide to go to that website. It could the 5 star rating, the price or dates of events. Google shows this extra information for approximately 10 different types of objects. Rich snippets are an informative visual design cue that increases click-through rates. Here are some samples.
When users search for a song, movie, or TV show, they may be interested in not only reading information about that item, but actually taking action — for example, to play the song or watch the movie on the device. If your site or app can handle such actions, then structured data markup can tell the search engine which actions you handle and on exactly which items. The search engine can then send such users along to your site or app, creating a smoother user experience.
Microdata and RDFa is a form of semantic mark-up designed to describe elements on a web page e.g. review, person, event etc. This mark-up can be combined with typical HTML properties in-line, to define each item type through the use of associated attributes.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Google.org (GOOG)</span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>38 avenue de l’Opera</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Paris, France</span>
Tel:<span itemprop=”telephone”>( 33 1) 42 68 53 00 </span>,
Fax:<span itemprop=”faxNumber”>( 33 1) 42 68 53 01 </span>,
E-mail: <span itemprop=”email”>secretariat(at)google.org</span>
<div vocab=”http://schema.org/” typeof=”Organization”>
<span property=”name”>Google.org (GOOG)</span>
<div property=”address” typeof=”PostalAddress”>
<span property=”streetAddress”>38 avenue de l’Opera</span>
<span property=”addressLocality”>Paris, France</span>
Tel:<span property=”telephone”>( 33 1) 42 68 53 00 </span>,
Fax:<span property=”faxNumber”>( 33 1) 42 68 53 01 </span>,
E-mail: <span property=”email”>secretariat(at)google.org</span>
“addressLocality”: “Paris, France”,
“streetAddress”: “38 avenue de l’Opera”
“faxNumber”: “( 33 1) 42 68 53 01”,
“name”: “Google.org (GOOG)”,
“telephone”: “( 33 1) 42 68 53 00”