Banner

Follow Along

RSS Feed Join Us on Twitter On Facebook

Get Engaged

Banner

Featured Article

Google Reconsideration Requests & Replies; understanding the evolutionGoogle Reconsideration Requests & Replies; understanding the evolutionHas anyone else noticed that there seems to be some changes to the replies one receives when filing a...
Read More >>

Latest Comments

Latest Articles

Ranting can be Therapeutic Ranting can be Therapeutic
We all have our hot buttons - things that just drive us up the...
Read More >>
Avoiding Search Strategy PitfallsAvoiding Search Strategy Pitfalls
Building a digital and search strategy isn’t the easiest thing in the world to...
Read More >>
What Google Knows & The War Against SEOsWhat Google Knows & The...
I don’t know how many marketers know about Google Think. Essentially, Google Think is the...
Read More >>

Our Sponsors

Banner
Banner
Banner

Latest Search Videos

Join Us

Banner
Banner
My Changed Perspective on Structured Data
Written by Barry Adams
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 14:00

Up to quite recently I was a bit of a structured data skeptic. I thought schema.org markup was just an admission of defeat from Google, an implication that they'd given up the fight to try and understand web content properly and instead left it up to webmasters to do Google's hard work for them.

However, my opinion on structured data has changed over the past few months, to the point where now I'm an active proponent of its implementation.

structured data

I can't quite pin my conversion from a schema-hater to a schema-rater to a specific moment in time. I think it was a gradual shift in perspective as I was made aware of many other different uses that structured data might have in the future (aside from making Google's job easier).

I've now come to believe that structured data is, in fact, the future of the internet. At some stage all websites will be made up of structured data, and this will make every bit of information published online an active node that can be tapped in to by other applications.

For example, right now an ecommerce site needs to supply product feeds to third party sites such as shopping comparison engines. With widespread adoption of structured data, the burden of effort can be shifted and shopping comparison systems can crawl ecommerce sites and retrieve all the product information they need. (Or, more likely, a third party product indexer will sit in the middle and do the product discovery & indexing for the shopping sites.)

In his comment on a Search Engine Land post, Aaron Bradley explains it perfectly:

"One of the principles of the semantic web - of which structured data is the, um, structural foundation - is the separation of the data layer from the presentation layer. The benefits of this are that data can be provided for machine consumption without impacting the display of information to humans, and that richer and more precise data can be offered for machine consumption.

This is the reason why the HTML standard was actually NOT sufficient, and why XML has become utterly indispensable in the web ecosystem.

HTML5 notwithstanding (which itself recognizes the insufficiency of earlier HTML), structured data markup leverages the power of HTML to enrich web documents without the need to come up with new HTML tags; from a data standpoint, it provides HTML with almost limitless extensibility.

[...] People have been labeling things from the beginning of recorded history, and computer technology doesn't magically free us from the necessity of classification, though it does enhance and extend the benefits of doing so.

A public library card catalog in 1970 was produced by people who classified books by the use of formal data fields and controlled vocabularies, exactly as catalogers of books continue to do so today using computers, and this procedure is fully analogous to publishers marking up web pages with structured data today. Organized information is more useful information. [emphasis added]

Google and other data consumers do not seek structured data solely because it "will make things so much easier for us." In numerous realms structured data makes the discovery, classification and linkage of information not only "easier" but possible in the first place."

I genuinely believe that making information widely available online in a structured format that will allow third party systems to engage with it has more benefits than drawbacks. Yes, you will see some scrapers find ways to make malicious use of structured data.

But on the whole I believe it will be a good thing, as it will facilitate exchange of information across many different online platforms. And that, in turn, allows for all kinds of cool technology to be developed that will make all our lives a lot easier.

Barry Adams -

Barry is the Senior Digital Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications in Belfast , where he works for a wide range of clients in the UK and Ireland. Since starting his career in the mid-'90s as an intranet content manager, Barry has worked in a wide variety of positions including corporate webmaster, in-house SEO specialist for a large regional newspaper, and web consultant for SMEs.

You can also hook up via

Read More >>


More articles by this author

Two Great SEO Tips for Large-Scale Ecommerce SitesTwo Great SEO Tips for Large-Scale Ecommerce Sites
When it comes to large scale ecommerce sites, many of...
Read More >>
The Death of SEOThe Death of SEO
Yes, I'm going there. Bear with me, this is not...
Read More >>
 

Comments  

 
+1 #1 Doc Sheldon 2012-11-13 15:16
Ah,Barry.... so pleased to see you come in from the cold! ;)

Yes, Aaron did a nice job on that. I think the most telling of all was:

"... not only "easier" but possible in the first place."

And of course, learning algorithms, like any other student, won't get far without some teaching to steer them.
Quote
 
 
+1 #2 Justin Parks 2012-11-13 16:08
Took you long enough. Have loved the idea of structured data for a long time and am hoping schema keeps growing from strength to strength.
Quote
 
 
+1 #3 Dean Cruddace 2012-11-13 16:23
Welcome aboard Barry, you will love it over here. Also great to see Schema extending and giving more capability for growth in recent months.
Quote
 
 
0 #4 درب اتوماتیک 2014-04-29 12:14
This site is very great and indispensable to my thank you to expect continued success with the authorities there are millions of people come easy memlunkalan but I guess I did not bring the language
Quote
 
 
0 #5 کرکره برقی 2014-06-18 14:06
Training SEO should not be that really hard but to think of a good SEO method that everyone will like even Google is something really hard. No matter how long we study and practice SEO if Google don't like how we handle SEO, no good results will be found.
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Getting Around the Site

Home - all the latest on SNC
SEO - our collection of SEO articles
Technical SEO - for the geeks
Latest News - latest news in search
Analytics - measure up and convert
RSS Rack - feeds from around the industry
Search - looking for something specific?
Authors - Author Login
SEO Training - Our sister site
Contact Us - get in touch with SNC

What's New?