Approaches to Structured Data for SEO

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Information about Approaches to Structured Data for SEO

Published on March 11, 2014

Author: aaranged



... and the emergence of digital presence optimization.

In other words (alternate title), "how to say stuff about things that everybody gets."

My presentation at the structured data markup session for Portland's SearchFest 2014, in which I look at the emergence of optimization activities that cross traditional marketing boundaries - activities that I lump together under the umbrella of "digital presence optmization."

APPROACHES TO STRUCTURED DATA FOR SEO … and the emergence of digital presence optimization OR… Aaron Bradley / @aaranged #SearchFest 2014

SAYING STUFF ABOUT THINGS … that everybody gets

Semantic SEO anyone? StructureddatahasbeenintegralinshiftingthefocusofSEOfromstringstothings #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Identifying and interlinking entities is core semantic SEO work Butcanonereallycallthetaskofconnectingthingsoutsideofsearch–evenifforsearch-“SEO”? #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Yes … and no While many tasks remain discreetly in the “search,” “social” or some other camp, semantic SEO does not suggest this cross- disciplinary data optimization effort be made, it demands it. At the end of the day that ever-growing intersection of things is the representation of a brand’s presence in the digital world as a whole. #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

This change in the digital landscape is exceptional, and recent Searchresultslikethesespeaktoafundamentalshiftinhowsearchenginesoperate. Howdidwegethere? #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Flight search, 1958 Finding a flight required looking up data in a printed table – the same requirement made of Victorian train travelers #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Flight search, 1970 Early flight search was conducted by trained specialists using controlled a query language, and was conducted against a single airline’s dataset #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Flight search, just as the web was taking shape Search interfaces improved and data for many airlines became available - but not to the general public #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Flight search, 2000 Form-based web search provided everyone with the means to find flight information electronically themselves, but required the use of travel-specific search engines #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

From strings to things … like airports, and airlines, and dates Ahostoftechnologicaldevelopments–manyofthem“semantic”–havefinallyfacilitated“naturallanguage”search #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Some things remain elusive Forairtravel,searchrefinementsmuststillbestructuredbytheuser… #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

They won’t be elusive for long Voice search already permits users to refine searches without explicit reference to the preceding query, and advances in this area have been rapid. Much innovation in search has been driven by the challenges of mobile devices, where refining searches by hand is arduous, and navigating to external websites from search often proves to be a poor user experience. #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

From airmail to email But here, as with so many areas impacted by advances in structured data, search serves as a jumping point off for more complex user interactions, many of which don’t involve websites or search at all. Gmail makes flight information available to its users by employing the same vocabulary designed to aid Google in producing richer and more relevant search results – #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Athree-letter acronym and a three-letter abbreviation is now enough Googlecanreturnaccurateandcomplexresultsforverythinqueries: Hummingbird'sroleinthissuccessisobvious #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Depth in the SERPs Even with one-word queries, structured data and semantic technologies allow Google to return a rich variety of search results referencing chiefly real- life things, rather than only web pages. More and more, useful information about products, people and organizations is being presented by Google directly in the search results. #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Connecting the dots with structured data Differentdataconsumersusesimilartechnologiestobuildacohesivepictureofbrandsintheirownnetworksandbeyond #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Thinking like a contemporary data consumer Thebroadbenefitofstructureddataisthatitprovidespreciseinformationaboutthingsintheformofproperty-valuepairs #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Determining what things you’re working with is a critical first step Organizinginformationbyresourcetypeiscrucialindeterminingwhichpropertiescanbemeaningfullydescribed #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Structured data can also refer to web representations of things Asidefromhavingpropertiesoftheirown,webresourcesmayalsodescribereal-lifethingsandtheirproperties #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Enumerate once, declare properties multiple times Byapproachingresourcesastypesthefocusisonthedataandtowhomitisuseful,ratherthanonanygivenprotocol #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Methods of declaring your stuff What specific protocol you should employ depends (again) on the type of resource you’re describing and the potential benefit of the effort. This approach brings to bear both protocols that aren’t specifically designed for search but may benefit from it, and older search technologies that aren’t thought of as “structured data” but perform that role. #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Structured data’s little helpers (they might include you) These three sites provide SEOs with a way of directly influencing Knowledge Graph/Snapshot results #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Google owns Metaweb But because Freebase is freely available for non-commercial and commercial use under a Creative Commons Attribution License, and because it has offered an RDF service since 2008, it’s a go-to source for enterprise data consumers – including Bing. If you’re ambitious you can use it to create your own personal Knowledge Graph: #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged is a vocabulary in progress Domainspecialistscanhelpproperlyextendit,andanyoneknowledgeableanddeterminedcanhelpshapeitsfuture #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Providing consistent data is important for connected entities Approachingresourcesasthingswithpropertieshelpstoensureconsistencyforalldataconsumers #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Test your markup and other structured data across platforms Oneoftheadvantagesofapproachingdataholisticallyisthatonevalidatorcancatcherrorsthatanothermightmiss #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged List of testing tools:

Verification precedes trust in your data Formallyverifyingyourcorporateorpersonalidentityisatrust-buildingmeasurefordataconsumers #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Merging keyword and entity research covers more bases Keywordsareessentialfordescribingpropertiesthatcan’tbequantified #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Remember, shopping feeds are a type of structured data too ProperlyencodedandmanagedfeedsarecriticalforROIonadvertising,andimpactotherareasaswell #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Identify and embrace new data optimization opportunities Andifyou’resavvyenoughtorecognizetheseasoptimizationopportunitiesyou’llbeaheadofthepackdowntheroad #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

The revolution may not be evident at first blush Semantictechnologiestendtoflyundertheradarbecausethey,bydesign,rarelyimpactthepresentationlayer #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

But structured data is, for the web, fairly revolutionary Andtheimpactofathoughtfulstructureddatastrategyisgreaterthanthesumofitsconstituentbenefits #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

Thanks! Drop by my blog, say hello over on my Google+ Community, Semantic Search Marketing, or follow me on Twitter: @aaranged #SearchFest Aaron Bradley - @aaranged

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