As the manager of a Web-based business, staying on top of your SEO game can mean the difference between success or failure.
That's because SEO is the primary way to gain more online visibility, attract more traffic to your business websites and sell more of your products and services - it's a ‘no-brainer’, right?
But, like most things tech-related, SEO changes very rapidly, so staying on top of your game means you have to keep up with any rule changes.
If you've never heard the words “Semantic Markup” before, you're probably already noticing a decline in your SERP rankings, click-through rates and crucially, your revenue numbers.
Maybe you find the technicalities of it all a bit daunting? Don't worry; that's all about to change … Welcome to the first part of our Lingo Love series. It will help you to:
- Gain a basic understanding of Semantic Markup/Structured Data
- Learn why it's vital to the future of your online presence See the many benefits of employing a Semantic SEO strategy
- Learn and understand the lingo
And, give you a free insight into the huge difference Semantic Markup and Structured Data can make to your online visibility – site traffic – and those all-important sales figures.
“Lingo Love” Tidbit #1 : Semantic Markup
“Semantics - The study of “sentence structure” (what makes up a sentence, and the rules for combining the component parts of a sentence).”
Computer Science Definition:
“Markup - Any language convention that makes a document, object, or process understandable to a computer ('markup' can also be thought of as a 'programming language').”
HTML (HyperText Markup Language), is the primary language of web documents. This is the default markup language.
Now that we understand the concepts of “Semantics” and“Markup”, let's try cracking the puzzle of “Semantic Markup”.
Semantic Markup tells a computer about the structure of a web document, the component parts of that web document, and how those components relate together.
If that was all a bit complex, try this: Semantic Markup simply tells a computer agent exactly what's on your website and what to do with it.
What are the Benefits of Semantic Markup?
» Faster indexing of your website and contents by Google and other major search engines
» Search engines gain vast amounts of more useful information about your website, for your customers to 'see'.
» Your website becomes available for “Rich Snippets” (transforming how your information shows up in a search).This has a significant positive impact over your click-through rates (CTR)
» Search engines compare and relate information provided by your web documents to others in the same 'domain', contributing to the Knowledge Graph, (we'll demystify this essential part of The Semantic Web in a future Lingo Love series)
» Your web 'assets' show up as related items in an original search for another item - increasing your visibility, CTR, and also impacting on your bottom-line.
While using structured data is not a requirement,
eBay heavily encourages its sellers to adhere to its terms.
As of Q1 2016, 60% of listed items on the marketplace used its structured data rules, according to eBay's earnings report. This is up from 37% in Q4 2015.
After a disappointing earnings report in the first quarter, eBay announced its intentions to completely revamp its marketplace experience with Structured Data reflecting new user experiences and product categories to draw in shoppers.
Here are two reasons why your old SEO strategy must change to 'future proof' your online business presence:
» Google's “Caffeine update” of 2010
» Google's 2013 “Hummingbird update”
These rule changes mean the search giants have changed their focus from 'Keyword search' to 'Semantic search' (from “Strings to Things”). Structured Data and Semantic Markup are now core parts of the indexing and authority building process. Without them - your trusted SEO strategies of the past are now outdated and ineffective. (Just saying.)
“Lingo Love” Tidbit #2 : Ontologies
Don't we just love “big” words? Well, it's not intentional, it comes with the territory, buddy.
So, what's an ontology?
Do you remember biology class in high school? How we were told there are two classes of living things: plants and animals? Sure you do.Now, if you paid attention, you'll also remember being told that animals can also be classed into vertebrates(with a backbone) and invertebrates (no backbone).
That's exactly what an ontology is: a classification system for a knowledge concept.
In other words, before you can describe things, you must have an ontology (classification system) describing them.
A simple ontology is:
Let's put this into practice and try describing a car with the simple ontology. It would look like this:
What are the Benefits of Semantic Markup?
» Search engines use them to understand what type of content your website contains
» Structured data specialists (like us!) use them to create Semantic Markup.
Basically, without ontologies, you wouldn't be able to create semantic markup for your sites.
Examples of real-world Ontologies you should know about
One of the best examples of real-world ontologies you should get to grips with is Schema.org - it is supported by all the major search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex. (Getting it wrong can have an adverse effect on your website, so unless you know exactly what you're doing -talk to a markup specialist first.)
“Lingo Love” Tidbit #3 : Common Data Formats
» Semantic Markup is a way of describing web documents so that search engines know exactly what they are
» Ontologies describe a classification scheme that can be used to create semantic markup
Becoming clearer? Great. Moving on …
Now that you understand the importance of allowing search engines know exactly what type of content you're submitting for indexing (by creating semantic markup), and how ontologies help us create that semantic markup at a high level - it's time to demystify the low-level details of semantic markup: common data formats…
The ontology we described in the previous section(fast cars) can be described in any language, not just English. That means the arrangement could differ from our example.
This creates ‘ambiguity’ and that would be a big, big problem for search engines (in fact, it would make life hell for them).
To combat this, we help them out - How? - by using an ‘agreed’ single language (a.k.a common data format). This is called ‘disambiguation’ and makes things a lot easier for the search engines.
(You could call them 'creole' or 'mashup' languages that have been made into a standard and are used by everyone.)
Microdata, RFDa, and JSON-LD are great examples of common data formats used to ‘talk to’ search engines. (We'll simplify these further in an upcoming “episode” of Lingo Love.)
We hope the first part of 'Demystifying Semantic Markup Terms' has helped you to understand a few basics of The Semantic Web a.k.a. “The Future of the Internet”.
At SemanticSEOSolutions.com, we're all about building structured data for the web, and our Semantic Markup Specialists (Ph.D. 'rock star' team, and all) are always here and ready to help.
For a bespoke, detailed projection of how your traffic, CTR and revenue will increase when you apply Semantic Markup to your website … click the button below!
Talk to us now to ensure that your business is getting all the advantages of Google's advancing search techniques.
Are you ready to 'future-proof' your SEO strategy for the Semantic Web?
Stay tuned for more exciting and informative content from us!
With our 2-step strategy of applying both Semantic Markup and Structured Data to your website, you will experience between 5% to 10% monthly growth in traffic and sales.
Take action now - every second you wait – is hurting your online revenue …
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