Sep 8, 2011 at 9:44am ET by Mark Sprague
If you are in the search engine business, the functionality in the Microdata specification sponsored by Google, Yahoo and Bing is a very attractive way to theoretically improve search results.
Enterprise search engines are well-versed with named entity extraction tools and techniques, which is how this information has been generated in the past decade.
The major search engines are essentially telling content providers that if they name all their entities in their content, they can do a better job of extracting meaning from them to help improve search results. This is a win-win proposition, right? Maybe!
Other similar initiatives known as the Semantic Web and RDFa have not made much inroads in the mind share of business owners yet. In fact, business owners have a hard time staying on top of current SEO markup practices associated with standard HTML tags.
Will this format gain traction among businesses? I hope so, but there are a number of hurdles that stand in the way at the moment.
Here are some challenges for moving this technology forward. Some are technical, some are not.
- This technology represents a real cost to implement, and the decision to spend those dollars are usually made by the senior marketing executive. In fact, it is very likely that most marketers at any level do not understand the relationship between the various micro-tag technologies and improved search results. There is no real educational strategy in place to promote this specification, and the PR machine is not going to get the job done.
- A second hurdle is the enormous amount of content that is currently deployed on the Web. It would be a herculean task to go back and reprocess this content. Since the value proposition is not well understood by marketing executives, this reprocessing is not going to happen in any meaningful way for some time. In fact, even if the value proposition was well understood, it’s not clear that the cost of processing hundreds of millions of documents is worth the cost.
- The presentation of information at Schema.Org was written by technologist for technologists. Nowhere is there a clear statement of benefits, or a call to action targeted at the real decision maker who happens to be the CMO – not the CTO.
- The hierarchical presentation of entities and related information is hard to review at Schema.org – it’s not apparent that there are only two parent nodes (level-1) with seven child nodes (level-2) at first glance. This information really needs to be repurposed to make it easy to access, and understood by non-technologist decision makers.
- The sale of products and services is at the heart of every B2B/B2C website doing business on Internet. I was surprised at how few product properties there are and that there are no sub-categories at all for the Products category. Maybe this is being worked on, but it is a serious flaw in the MicroData specification. There is a well-developed set of business categories, but in most cases these will be too high-level.
Find Out More
Find out more send me (Mark Sprague) an email at: Mark@MSprague.com, or call me now at: 781-862-3126
About Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience, which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your websites performance by:
- Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
- Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
- Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
- Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
- Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.
Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague, CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420