2015 SEO, Structured Data, Schema, & Common Sense
The Semantic Web & Emergent SEO Technologies: Part I
From Mark Twain to Maya Angelou we’ve heard the phrase “common sense is terribly uncommon”.
It’s one of those expressions that’s adorably cute or even insightful at first, but might seem entirely too true after a few moments of thought. That’s why Yahoo (an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”) first showed websites in a structured directory hierarchy tree, back in 1994, because search technologies at the time couldn’t make sense of the web — so it was the job of humans to decide each website’s meaning. Yet, this approach to “search” just didn’t make any sense and would never “scale”.
The Internet of 2015 will witness an enormous amount of applied common sense, as businesses, government agencies and organizations leverage developing and emerging web technologies, within various aspects of both digital publishing and e-commerce initiatives, to transform how their digital investments perform.
We enter keywords into search engines, asking questions in order to get answers. We easily type to ask search engines, “When will Stephen Colbert take over for David Letterman“, or “When are we going to Mars?“.
Google, as it turns out, is making sense of these sorts of common questions, delivering answers inside of boxes (termed “Knowledge Graph” from Google’s Knowledge Vault) along with the usual search results. What if we asked a more practical question, such as “What’s the cost of a 2015 Toyota“? Now, with this search query, we get a list of search results (surrounded by ads). These results reflect that the search engine understands the meaning of the question asked, and the answers to the question are exactly what the “Semantic Web” is all about, i.e., the search results reflect that the search engine really knows the meaning of the question and knows the best answers to that question. And, while all of those search results have many things in common (well, that’d make sense, since they’re all on page #1), nine out of ten of the Google search results have something else in common:
Schema (Structured Data) was integrated to greatly enhance each website’s SEO. That’s but one example of “Emergent SEO” technologies — and in subsequent blog posts we’ll discuss other disciplines within Emergent SEO, such as JSON-LD, RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes), LOD (Linked Open Data), LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) & SVD (Singular Value Decomposition), FIBO (Financial Industry Business Ontology), even LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation), and more.
When architects and engineers start to build a building they have plans or schematics for that structure, to make sense of what goes where. Major search engines decided just a few years ago that they had problems trying to exactly figure out what goes where, so they got together to start Schema.org, a centralized library of a web data architecture intended to offer structure, behind-the-scenes, for online stores and for online publishers. This repository of structured data, or Schema, is simply intended to be used by publishers and e-commerce websites so that the search engines can more precisely make sense of what each website publishes or sells.
Caliber & SEO
Last November Caliber Media Group delivered a presentation introducing Schema — Schema’s recent history and how Caliber Media Group has been at the forefront of managing Schema for SEO purposes, to greatly enhance strategic and tactical SEO for Caliber’s clients. The conference, ProductCamp Southern California 2014, describes itself as a “user-driven, collaborative” conference for Product Managers and Product Marketers. The presentation, below, is entitled: “Products, Product Schema & SEO: The Product Manager’s Schema Toolkit“.
For the full product Schema.org and Emergent SEO deck please view our Emergent SEO and Schema.org/Product presentation at Product Camp, 2014.
We’ll continue this extensive digital marketing blog post in Parts II & III, over upcoming months.
Please do note that these subsequent SEO blog posts will grow increasingly technical in substance, which makes sense.