Optimizing for Semantic Search

From Metadata to Microdata

Search queries are often imprecise, clunky and awkward in some scenarios.

This can make the challenge of finding and presenting users the right information, at the right time, difficult for the search engines (not to mention for those optimizing a website). While expert at solving large and generic classes of queries, search engines continue to struggle with queries that are more, well, complicated in nature. Just think of the variety of long tail, often ambiguous searches conducted by those users visiting your website; now multiply that by several million instances per minute and you start to see the scope of the problem from the vantage point of a search engine. Fear not, the tech world is in control.

Search engines have taken the lead in solving the problem with the introduction several years ago of semantic search. What is interesting about the ongoing digital conundrum is that many Web workers are being forced to rethink their SEO strategies entirely as semantic search matures (Google's Knowledge Graph consequently will be the subject of
Why pay attention to metadata? Despite the major technical advancements that come with semantic search (addressed momentarily), most engines currently use a combination of factors to determine where pages are placed on the search return list. And what's still carrying most of the weight? You guessed it, metadata - particularly relevant data within the title tag.

Structured Data Optimization: Metadata optimization has provided a proven method (historically) to move up or shore up search result positions. The same holds true for links, but it is within structured data that we're able to differentiate our listings on the search results.

Integrating and optimizing structured data provides another, very valuable data layer for search engines that, once processed, is attractive and appealing to search engine users. How and why? Providing details on the data being published within a Web document shows users exactly what they'll find upon click-through which offers search engine users a better experience on the results pages overall.

Search engines' support of Schema.org provides the single best opportunity enhance the listings that are returned with data and information useful to the searcher. When encountered, the click-through rate of these listings is higher and their capacity to shorten the distance to a conversion is much higher. Read