Authorship markup and web search

Today we’re beginning to support authorship markup – a way to connect authors with their content on the web. We are experimenting with using this data to help people find content from great authors in our search results.

We now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page. An author page describes and identifies the author, and can include things like the author’s bio, photo, articles and other links. Continue reading Authorship markup and web search

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Schema.org: Google, Bing & Yahoo Unite To Make Search Listings Richer Through Structured Data

Today, “in the spirit of sitemaps.org”, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have announced the joint alliance of schema.org. This alliance provides a common foundation of support for a set of microdata types – some that previously existed and some that have been created as part of this initiative.

Microdata is a type of structured mark up that can be used to provide semantic meaning to content on web pages. The microdata types currently supported are documented at schema.og. You can also take a look at the announcements from each search engine on their blogs:

  • Google: Introducing schema.org: Search engines come together for a richer web
  • Microsoft Bing: Introducing Schema.org: Bing, Google and Yahoo Unite to Build the Web of Objects
  • Yahoo: Introducing schema.org: A Collaboration on Structured Data

It appears as though the three search engines will be using this meta data solely to enhance the search results display for now, much like is already done with Google’s rich snippets and was done with Yahoo’s SearchMonkey.

This makes sense for Yahoo, as they control only the user experience of their search results now that the indexing and ranking of their search results now come from Bing. But Google and Microsoft could use the data in many other ways -such as metadata about what queries a page is relevant for and to obtain more accurate and detailed information about business listings for Google Places.

Google is, in fact, using the structured markup from microdata in certain instances, such as with its recently released recipe search. Google uses metadata about recipes (cook time, number of ingredients…) to provide a faceted navigational search.

You can see a complete list of currently supported microdata types and the syntax for them on the Schema.org website.

Once you’ve marked up your pages, you can use Google’s rich snippet testing tool to make sure that the markup is correct and can be read by the engines.

What About Microformats & RDFa?

While Google and Yahoo both have supported their use with their rich snippets and SearchMonkey programs, respectively, neither format is supported as part of schema.org. However, the engines say that the existing support for these formats will continue (even though they imply they’d like you to switch. From the FAQ:

“If you have already done markup and it is already being used by Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, the markup format will continue to be supported. Changing to the new markup format could be helpful over time because you will be switching to a standard that is accepted across all three companies, but you don’t have to do it.”

Should you go through the trouble of marking up your pages?

The answer is entirely dependent on your situation. If you’re building out a new site structure and want to have support built in, especially as the engines use microdata in other ways, then it makes sense to include it. However, if you are prioritizing work on your site and have other items to tackle, such as canonical URL issues or a need to invest in creating quality content, those items should probably come first.

As with sitemaps.org, actual implementation may take sometime. The engines will likely want to see how the markup is being used on sites and will test the data internally.

News Source: http://searchengineland.com

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Being bad to your customers is bad for business

A recent article by the New York Times related a disturbing story. By treating your customers badly, one merchant told the paper, you can generate complaints and negative reviews that translate to more links to your site; which, in turn, make it more prominent in search engines. The main premise of the article was that being bad on the web can be good for business.

We were horrified to read about Ms. Rodriguez’s dreadful experience. Even though our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem in our search results, we immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live. I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results. Continue reading Being bad to your customers is bad for business

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Beyond Instant results: Instant Previews

With Google Instant you get results as fast as you type, but your search doesn’t stop there. Once you get results back, you choose a site to visit based on the information in each result-like the title, a snippet of text and the URL. Over time we’ve made steady improvements to our search results and snippets to help you pick a great page. Now we’re making a leap to image-based snapshots—a new kind of visual search result we call “Instant Previews” which makes it even faster to choose the right result. Continue reading Beyond Instant results: Instant Previews

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