Semantic Markup and Your Rankings

Semantic markup, also known as schema or rich snippets, refers to structured data that works as a companion to HTML. The idea behind semantic markup is to define a website’s content so a search engine is able to understand what information a particular page has to offer an online user. If this is already way out of your league, then you might want to think about hiring some help from an online marketing specialist, but if you are ready to get stuck in by yourself, them here is some further information on what Semantic Markup does ad how it works. Even if it is something you won’t be trying to address by yourself, it will give you a really good understanding of what you need and why when you start to discuss your plans with a digital agency.

How Can Semantic Markup Improve a Site’s Ranking?

Firstly, it’s important to note that semantic markup is not an easy way to get your website ranked, it must be used with a number of other strategies to ensure that the site is fully optimised. However, ensuring that your semantic markup clearly describes the content of your web page can ensure that your website’s visibility is increased. So while sites such as Google infer that semantic markup may not be used as a ranking signal, it does help your website appear more prominent within search engine results.

Semantic markup can also help with a website’s click-through rate, as online users will be able to see a synopsis of what information the website contains. Ensuring this information is correct will greatly increase your CTR, as online visitors are evidently interested in your content because your website has been put before them within their search results.

How Does Semantic Markup Work?

Like many factors in the world of search engine optimisation, semantic markup can be deemed a little tricky when faced for the first time, but when looking at how semantic markup works, it’s best to take a simplified view in the first instance. Semantic markup uses microdata and data classification that communicates with search engines. Just like HTML and CSS communicate with the web browser as to how your website should be displayed, microdata and data classification will talk to search engines and tell them what your content is and how it should be indexed.

What Kind of Sites Benefit from Semantic Markup?

Semantic markup is a common practice used for SEO, so generally all sites can benefit from it. However, there are a number of different types of semantic markup that can be used, depending on your target audience and website niche.

  • Facebook Open Graph

Facebook plays a large part in promoting online content. Although it’s not unusual to see online stores and service providers advertise on Facebook, you generally find that the majority of posts containing website content will be based on an interest. Think movies, music and humour and you get the general idea. Facebook Open Graph allows users to define how a website will be displayed in Facebook, as well as other social networks. In this regard, it is important that a social-specific headline is used so content can be shared successfully via social networks, and acquire the right kind of engagement.

  • Products and Ratings

This type of markup will benefit those with an e-commerce store, as it allows you to specify products and their related data to search engines. This means that when online users enter the relevant keywords and your content is put in front of them, not only will they be greeted with a clear and concise description, but they will also be able to see recent reviews of your products. This again will improve your CTR dramatically.

  •  Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumb navigation is often neglected, but breadcrumbs can be very useful to those who have a website with a lot of information. Ensuring you implement breadcrumb navigation will give online users the option of where to begin their search on your site. Not only does this provide the user with relevant information, but it can also lead to more activity on your website.

Overall, semantic markup alone won’t be a major factor as to how your website is displayed within search engine result. However, if used correctly with other SEO strategies it can help your page rank well, as well as providing your audience with clear information which in turn will help increase your CTR.

Has SEO Become A Dirty Word?

metaThere is no question that the world of SEO is and always has been one of the most rapidly changing area of digital marketing going. Today however it seems that the SEO landscape has changed irrevocably, at least that’s what some website owners believe, with many now arguing that SEO may be a thing of the past.

So, is SEO dead?

Recently a growing number of webmasters have declared SEO’s passing; they say that ranking factors have taken on such a mysterious make up that it’s no longer possible to estimate, manipulate or work towards ranking and it has reached a level of sophistication that means it’s just best to create great content and leave the internet to decide what its value is and where it should rank.

However, this actually isn’t the first time that SEO has been declared ‘dead’ or changed beyond all recognition. This relatively recent announcement is usually a sign of mild panic and misunderstanding as to what the latest Google guidelines or ranking patterns mean.

One thing will always endure: Great Content deserves great SEO

The old adage of ‘Content is King’ is a pretty simple yet overly accurate phrase to summarise the world of SEO. So what role then does SEO serve? If we were to imagine the longest, most enlightening and engaging pieces of writing that was enhanced with videos and images, is it true to say that this would still benefit from SEO?

To answer this question we must regard the content as an attraction and the optimisation of such content as the marketing and tickets to such an attraction. Promoting your content through social media, content marketing and through relationships within industry networks are all invaluable tasks that should, but sometimes are misunderstood not to fall under the umbrella of ‘SEO’.

Black hat SEO: Letting the team down

SEO has never had as bad a reputation as it does today. Unfortunately there has been many cowboys within this industry since day dot, today however they have become more and more apparent as the Google algorithm is now blacklisting websites that have previously used (sometimes unwittingly) black hat SEO techniques. Mass spam commenting, hiding links, cloaking, keyword stuffing and duplicate content are just a few examples of the out and out SEO no no’s in 2014 and beyond. If you’ve suffered and are still suffering the effects from such techniques then all is not lost. You should contact an SEO professional who can advise you on how you can turn your fortunes around with remedial SEO work.

SEO is not dead. Whilst searching algorithms continue to change (and arguably sometimes not always for the better) a concerted effort to be SEO friendly is and always will be valuable. A perfect end example would be the product or service that you’re selling: it could be the best out there and unlike anything else on the market, however without advertising to get the word out there, you’ll likely see only limited results.