Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Schema.org Introduction to structured data

HTML5, Google Hummingbird Semantic Search, Linked Data, and Structured Markup -- how the web is moving from web page to data set as the atomic unit.

This is the path to competitive superiority, via enriched SERP snippets.

Enriched SERP snippets -- that's where your SEO focus should be now. Schema.org structured markup in your HTML5 website code is how to get there.

Google Webmasters explains "snippets":


Snippets—the few lines of text that appear under every search result—are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.

If Google understands the content on your pages, we can create rich snippets—detailed information intended to help users with specific queries.

For example, the snippet for a restaurant might show the average review and price range; the snippet for a recipe page might show the total preparation time, a photo, and the recipe’s review rating; and the snippet for a music album could list songs along with a link to play each song. 

These rich snippets help users recognize when your site is relevant to their search, and may result in more clicks to your pages.


The web is evolving from being a system of interconnected documents (web pages) to a set of linked data.

Web pages have been linking to each other from the beginning. Now data sets within web pages, and in other types of content, are being linked. So they will benefit from detailed instructions to search engines, code that will further explain the data set embedded in, or converted into, HTML.

Microdata, semantic web, structured data, it all relates to  more specifically identifying, and differentiating, the information found on a web page. The end goal is for people to more quickly and accurately find the information they seek on the internet.

This will help clear up any confusion about a name being the name of a record label, or the name of a fruit, or the name of a company in any particular usage of "apple," for a simplistic example. It goes much deeper, into the intricate aspects of store hours, location, founder of company, product offer expiration date, types of payment accepted, and so forth.

One of the controversial issues regarding this markup is how some have figured out how to spam it, adding unverified glowing reviews from spurious review sites, thus adding 5 stars to the "aggregate rating."

This deconstruction of web content is a revision of Tim Berners-Lee's original idea of the web page as the atomic unit of the web. Microdata for semantic purposes means that the data set, as few as one word or an entire tome, is now the new atom in the web universe.

This fits in perfectly with the Google Hummingbird semantic search engine that was installed recently. Google is now paying more attention to the intention of a search query, than to the keywords used. 

Google wants to be able to correctly guess that a give instance of "silver apples" is referring to an early electronic band, not a decorative item sold at Hobby Lobby. Or that "place for Italian" means a restaurant that serves spaghetti, not a class teaching the Italian language.

So now SEOs, web content developers and internet marketers must think about not just the major theme and keyword density of a web page, but also the building blocks of that page content. 

How that web page content can be subdivided into individual questions and answers, like an FAQ, but beyond that -- into the realm of all the minutiae of corporate structure, product types, offer packages, date founded, logo, parent organization, and other small, precise details.

Even within the About Us page, for example, there can be subsections (or subpages) on Company History, Founder's Welcome, Annual Report, Mission Statement, Staff Bios, Financial Data, Community Engagement, Associations, Photo Gallery, TV Commercial Videos, and so on.

This is part of the semantic web, where search engines understand more deeply what you're looking for, and why you're looking for it, what your intentions are, rather than just what keywords are being used.

Think of it as your website having a heart-to-heart talk with Google, patiently and meticulously explaining what is content is and means and for what kinds of customers it's best suited.

Schema.org is the structural microdata that needs to be implemented in websites for eventual search ranking improvements, matching customer queries, and enriching SERP (search engine results page) snippets (bits of content describing the web page and motivating people to click on the link).

Add Schema.org structured markup to your top priority webpages, then all pages. Your list of major SEO values must now include micro data.

SEO HTML5 code optimization should include:

(1) title tags
(2) meta descriptions
(3) page download speed
(4) image titles and alt attributes
(5) H tag hierarchy
(6) robots protocols
(7) XML site maps
(8) Javascript minifying
(9) CSS compacting
(9) Google Analytics code
(10) viewport configuration
(11) resource compression
(12) tap target sizing
(13) browser cache leveraging
(14) font legibility
(15) Schema.org markup

Here is the Schema.org section for LocalBusiness.


Moz Blog "The Lowdown on Structured Data and Schema.org"

W3C "What is Linked Data?"

Google Webmasters "About Structured Data and Rich Snippets"

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