There many opportunities in Internet marketing to show search engines exactly what they need to see in order to deliver the best search returns for their users. A popular topic in past months has been semantic markup, or language that defines specific sections of a page. This gives you the ability to make an engine understand what you’re doing, rather than leaving everything open to interpretation.
Semantic Markup for E-commerce
If you have an e-commerce site, you want searchers to see your product reviews before they even visit the page. Semantic markup allows you to define reviews and ratings in search results and communicate the number of people who reviewed that product. This can increase click-through rates dramatically, and a recent study indicates that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s huge! And, your site needs to be poised to take advantage of this.
Semantic Markup for Local Pages
Another recent change in Google’s algorithm adjusts how organic and local results are ranked and displayed:
“Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
“Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”
This essentially means that things just got a lot more crowded. If someone in your area is searching for a service you offer, you need to be sure the engines understand that you offer that service in that area. Semantic markup to the rescue! With special markup, you can identify your address on the site to let crawlers know the location of your office and signal them to send local traffic your way.
This also means that if you’re operating out of multiple cities, you need stronger unique content on each localized page. This can be as simple as writing out the directions as you’d say them face to face – “Go down Broadway for 2 miles, take a left on 15th Street, and you’ll see our building on the right”. That’s a condensed example, but it counts as unique content, and it serves the reader with easy to follow directions.
Semantic Markup for Multiple Languages
Do you have content in multiple languages? You can either hope the content isn’t identified as duplicate content, or you can use semantic markup to let the engines understand that you’re purposefully providing multiple languages and show the engines where the other content resides.
Semantic Markup for Authors
Are you a writer who wants to get more exposure and more work? Consider marking up your articles with the author tag so search engines get to know you and associate your content with your name. With this markup, any time your article shows up in the search results your name will show up on the results page (along with your picture, if it’s in your About page).
There are a lot of ways to improve your communication with the search engines, but these opportunities are great ways to begin harnessing semantic markup. New tags are added continuously. If your competition is using them, and you’re not, you’re at a disadvantage with search engines. If you’re using them, and the competition isn’t, you’ve got a huge leg up in the results pages.