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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Is Your Website a Semantic Search Engine Friendly?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
There is a ton of post we see on semantic SEO. Many of us even blindly fall prey to these pieces without even realizing whether or not a website we build is a semantic search engine friendly (SSEF). I don’t see any logic for a semantic SEO if a website lacks all the nuts and bolts required for a semantic search engine. This is analogous to people riding bullock carts and aim high at winning against the super racing vehicle riders. Verily, stupidity has no bounds!   

We go behind some industry stalwarts’ tips and tricks to bait the search engine. Nevertheless, we don’t see the demigod - Google flourishing its blessings onto us. To make life harder, Google’s wrath comes in the form of some new updates thwarting our previous SEO tricks. This makes many of us even more desperate. SEO’s desperation is the dark reality, isn't it? :)  
Image credit: The High Performance Marketer
Google has been very vocal about user experience for a long time. Since beginning, the search engine has been conducting many experiments to fine tune its search results. On and off, we are astounded to see some awesome results for our queries. We even get direct answers, but sometimes we also get frustrated with crappy blue links on the top of SERP.

These days, we have a “mixed” search experience. Apparently this is a “transition phase” (from a traditional to a semantic search) Google is passing through.   

We voice the search engine, and it gets us what we ask for. It also sets an alarm for us, and heads up with a variety of information needed for our daily life. The magic of ‘OK’ is really whoopee and riveting.  All these changes in bits and pieces, we see, make us belief that Google is metamorphosing from a traditional to a semantic search engine. We follow Google, and we do almost everything to get in there in semantic search results, don’t we? Yes, we do. The biggest question, however, is - are we applying a semantic logic to our websites/apps? Yes, a semantic friendly website for a semantic search engine!

Image credit: Mit Edu
As the adage goes, beauty hides ugly truth.  We are spellbound by a beautiful interface of a fully functional website, but fail to see a complex and technically flawed code hidden behind the HTML. Humans may not see this, but Google never misses to see it.   

Image credit: Layout Sparks
Let’s get back to find out where the search giant is heading towards. Certainly, it’s riding high on semantic and contextual searches. In fact, Google is becoming our virtual robot/assistant to help or guide us in our day to day life. Despite these changes, we see the same boring Google interface every day, right? Yes, we do see it, but one can also observe a sea change in Google’s search behavior over a decade behind the same bland interface.  

Google’s “smart algorithms” are being written over behind its “boring interface” that drives the key initiatives of a semantic search.  If we really want Google to extract information of our websites as much as possible, we need to build a SSEF website for a semantic search engine and for our own audience. It’s therefore important to lay emphasis on both aspects of a website –front end and back end for a seamless execution of functionality that pleases both user and user-agents. 

In my money, a search engine may not prefer a website merely based on its beautiful interface, which is technically flawed and not all a semantic friendly . Obviously, a legacy template model fit in all sizes does not work. With depreciated codes and ready template, one cannot aim too high with some superficial touch on addressing a site's compliance issues. 

A website must have “entities” for a clean structured data. Unfortunately, we see people are less trained of developing and auditing code compliance and performance testing of a website, and more trained of functional testing to ensure the "outer beauty" should not suffer. Sorry guys, but such workflow/delivery certainly gives an undue liberty to a developer to create all mess without any accountability. Dare not trespassing their obfuscating territory, you'd be 'SHUT UP'! After all, they are the bread and butter of a company they work, aren't they?

Who do we pin the blame on- people, process, technical expertise, or all? Think!!

Image credit:  Wpmudev
Example: We see rich snippets, a wonderful application of RDF or micro-format. Intuitively, Google shows it on search result that surely gets a higher CTR. Nevertheless, I believe this would be a bit riskier to go with it down the years due to spams. Semantic search engine demands a fine tune approach to add more contexts to rich snippets. And I must say JSON-LD best fits in here to fulfill this need. It is a lightweight data-interchange format that provides additional mappings from JSON to an RDF model. With this notation, it is easier for both users to read and write, and for machines to parse and generate. This will certainly make a website more semantic. By default, JSON is the language of the new semantic web and is becoming an integral part of the web for a generation of developers. Google has endorsed JSON-LD as a way of providing information. It has now become an official recommendation of the W3C.

Image credit: Groups Drupal
Not only for developers, but for digital marketers too, a SSEF website opens lot of new avenues. Mike on Swell Path has written – “Google is using JSON-LD structured data to create Event-based rich snippets in SERPs and Knowledge Graph features; products, people, recipes, breadcrumbs, etc.”   Thanks to GTM, a platform or tool Google has already provided to marketers to push JSON-LD data to track the effectiveness of semantic analytics. I certainly see a growing use of this tool in near future that may help Google index a website’s info more semantically.  

As search is going more semantic way, search experience optimization (SEO) and analytics too must adapt to keep a good pace. Therefore, it is indispensable for us to decipher - a semantic website structure, a semantic SEO, a semantic analytics, and finally a semantic search engine.  

Closing Thoughts:

UX is a key, but it lacks glitz to go for a long from a search engine perspective as long as serious technical flaws are hidden behind the obfuscating HTML codes. Making a website user friendly or mobile friendly is a basic and minimal requirement today, but one should not bet high on its sustainability going forward. It’s high time all stakeholders (marketing, development, and analytics et al.) must align themselves in a process to get the hang of building a SSEF website for the next generation search engine. Alas, lack of technical expertise and legacy process thwart our attempt for a sustainable and consistent organizational growth.      


  1. Great post and thank you so much for your information. I really enjoy reading this post. keep writing and give informative post...!


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