The web constantly plays a powerful role in shaping our world and is the result of an enlightened thinking. This is an article about the illuminating work of a Persian Sultan who lived in 1000 CE, the beauty of web decentralization and the magic of linked data for libraries and academics.
Tapping into the Magic of Linked Data for Libraries
It all started when Alasdair Watson posted a blog post about an illuminated manuscript that was recently made available online by the Bodleian Digital Library: the digital arm of the Bodleaian Libraries from the University of Oxford.
We have digitized our copy of The Shāhnāmah of Ibrāhīm Sulṭān, a beautifully illustrated, 60,000-verse poem that recounts an epic history of Greater Persia, from mythical beginnings until the 7th century. https://t.co/Ls4AWzi6t9pic.twitter.com/lBDxTV0hpw
At this point the conversation was becoming nerdish enough to resonate through my ears. 🤓 The noise online can be overwhelming sometimes but after so many years in the business, I am sure you, just like me, have angels by your side helping you focus the attention where it matters. Aaron is one my angels. Half librarian, half web developer, half SEO, Aaron Bradley is a dear friend and theDa Vinci of the Semantic SEO community. It was once again thanks to Aaron on Twitter that I intercepted the second blog post on how the content from the first academic was being translated into structured data using Wikidata. This means that all the findings about the illuminated manuscript, shared by Alasdair had been translated by poulterm in machine-readable form using Wikidata‘s ontology.
Just to give you an example Ibrahim Sultan was already represented in Wikidata with his own Machine ID Q3147516 but the manuscript was not when poulterm decided to add it. This gave to the persian poem a new identity in the world of data, precisely the Machine ID Q53676578.
So at this point we have:
1. a first academic reporting on a newly digitalized manuscript, 2. a second academic (from the same team) sharing the information from the first guy to 3. a broader community of geeky marketers like Aaron and myself and an army of computer robots (like WordLift), smart agents and search engine crawlers accessing the wealth of publicly available linked data published on Wikidata.
It’s already an interesting mix of linked people ready to share the epic poem of the Persian Sultan Abū l-Qāsim Firdawsī of Ṭūs – yes, the longest poem ever been written by a single person!
As Aaron was reporting the story about the blog post being turned into structured data I decided to prepare a web page on our blog about the manuscript and the sultan. I constantly run experiments to make sure we’re doing our very best to help bloggers and marketers create engaging new content that works well on Google Search.
Let's now re-use it for improving the structured data markup using @wordliftit 😀 When creating new entities we tap into @wikidata and can annotate Ibrahim Sultan. We then realized that to get to the manuscript we need to let WordLift fetch entities that are not yet on Wikipedia pic.twitter.com/rPG1WbaG2N
At that point, I realized that using WordLift (our AI to help content writers excel at SEO) it was still not possible to annotate the newly added entity of the manuscript created by poulterm. We had to get back “in the kitchen” and revise a parameter that was preventing WordLift to tap into newly created entities from Wikidata that did not have a page on Wikipedia. As unit tests where completed, we immediately released a new version of the WordLift Server (this is where the content analysis, in our semantic platform, really takes place) and finally David, our CTO, was able to show that WordLift was finally capable of detecting and interlinking Shahnamah of Ibrahim Sultan 🎉
Conclusion: the Linked Data Movement and the New Digital Disorder
The utopian dream of a curated global knowledge base where academics help us discovering and organizing new facts and where content creators, supported by agentive technologies like WordLift, share and debate about these findings is no longer a myth but an illuminating reality.
The combination of digitally savvy manual curation of experts combined with machine-generated ontologies and AIs that help us dive into this matrix is materializing in front of our eyes.
If you conduct research activities, if you believe in the open sharing of knowledge remember there is a “Linked Data Movement” there for you and the infrastructure to publish and re-use immediatly your research work.
The web is still is and will probably remain a huge mess but from this New Digital Disorder (as David Weinberger would say) so much is happening!
Digital marketing is expanding in a world of almost infinite possibilities, where every bit of strategy matters: there’s always the alternative that the one you chose a might not perform well on its own. In that scenario, content marketing and influencer marketing are two sides of the same coin and they could and must work together to build a strong strategy.
Everyone involved in the business can use marketing tools to reach greater success and higher interaction with their brand. So the question becomes, what kind of initiatives should be used? In 2018 there are many different types of marketing strategies so it can be hard to keep up with them all, let alone know which one would be best for you or your company. According to HubSpot, 55% of brands know they need a content distribution strategy, but only 26% are willing to pay to do that. There’s two kinds of marketing strategies that are showing great success right now; influencer marketing and content marketing. Although they have some similarities, they are actually quite different.
How great content can catch your targeted audience’s attention
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage an audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This kind of marketing is well known and well received. However, there are some limitations to what will work. The quality of your content plays a prominent role in the success – or the failure – of a marketing campaign. Customers want to experience informative content, rather than promotional. They don’t want to feel as though you are pushing a product on them. Besides, content must be authentic, engaging and, above all, useful. It is better to position your brand as a resource for your audience, in the fields that interest them.
Loyalty to your products will come once the initial relationship has been established.
To get a better understanding of what your audience wants to see, it’s always better to conduct some market research to determine what interests them. You can look at previously published content and compare what has been successful within your demographic. It’s important to know what your audience likes, dislikes, and responds to in general, not just about your company. Producing this kind of content will show that you care about the audience and understand what’s happening within your target community.
There are a number of different content marketing variations you can try. One of the simpler strategies is creating and maintaining a blog. With this platform, you allow yourself the opportunity to continuously post articles on subjects your community cares about. It’s a great place to position yourself as a resource or “go-to” spot for information on your industry. Other methods include different mediums of content such as video or podcasts. These forms of content are more popular than ever, and some consumers even prefer it to written content. According to Brightcove’s blog, “brands that use videos can expect to see an average increase of 157% in organic traffic from search engines.”
In addition to these content formats, the list goes on. There are more traditional forms such as infographics and interviews. You can also explore trendier types of content like GIFs, memes, and general social media.
Content marketing is beneficial for many reasons. It is relatively inexpensive, which means it can lead to a considerable ROI. This kind of marketing plan can also support other projects you’re working on. It proves to be efficient because it can blend into other strategies such as creating additional content for social media, and it may help to boost your SEO.
Influencer Marketing: find the right match for your brand
If you think you’ve never heard, witnessed, or been affected by influencer marketing, think again! This form of marketing is being used equally, if not more often than content marketing. First of all, to engage your audience with influencer marketing, you need to create an ideal influencer personathat fits your brand’s needs: once you find it/them, you can start working with your chosen personality and having them market your brand or product for you. Although many people assume this happens with big celebrities who have millions of followers, that’s not necessarily the most efficient or effective route. Depending on the influencer you want to work with, the price can vary. Thanks to micro-influencers, this might not be as expensive as you once thought.
The term micro-influencer has become a bigger topic within the past year, and for good reason. These are influencers with a smaller following of around 10,000 to 100,000 across social media. Because they aren’t as well known or a “big name” they often charge less, and might even accept some products or social shoutout in return for mentioning your brand.
Influencers with a smaller following tend to come across as more authentic than well-known celebrities, who clearly only talk about a product for the money. Most often micro-influencers share a product or brand because they truly like it, and want to share their honest thoughts and advice to followers. It’s an authentic way for influencers to connect with their followers and build trust in the long run.
These influencers share your product by creating video reviews, Instagram posts and stories, and tweets. With more than 700 million people using social media per month, these methods can be vital when trying to grow a business.
If you’re more concerned with getting your product or content to a larger number of people, influencer marketing is becoming the chosen strategy for this. It is almost guaranteed you will reach your intended target audience, as long as you choose the right influencer to work with. Choosing an influencer involves several steps: look at their social accounts, see if they’re interacting with followers and have a positive following. Be sure to check and see if their tone matches your brand and mission – it’s important to work with someone that seems like a natural fit.
Audiences can immediately tell if a product doesn’t match what other things the influencer is typically supporting. It’s imperative that the influencer’s message doesn’t seem forced and they’re genuinely happy to talk about your product.
Which kind of strategy should you use?
Both content and influencer marketing are successful strategies and have been proven to work. In the end, choosing one depends on what you are trying to promote.
For example, if you’re trying to spread the word about a new product launch, influencer marketing is a great way to go. If you’re just trying to promote your brand or message to a larger market, content marketing techniques such as blogging or interviews would be a good choice. If you can’t decide, try both! Marketing is an important tool for all companies, and it wouldn’t hurt to learn about all forms and incorporate each into your business plan.
Sara is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues on Enlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or a technology expert.
When I started blogging back in 2015, I thought I only had to produce the so-emphasized quality content to rank on Google.
Quality content seems almost a utopia in the digital marketing world. Everyone talks about it, we all agree on it. Yet we all think about different things.
So what do I mean when I say “quality content?”
In my mind quality content can be summarized in three simple ways: in-depth but essential, useful and well researched, educational yet actionable.
In short, you don’t need to write a 2000+ words article, just because Google is thirsty for content. You need to follow the length that is congenial to the article, based on the topic you’re covering.
Of course, quality content might mean – at least for me – something that is useful for an audience and well researched. Many small business owners are too busy focusing on keeping their enterprise profitable to spend time on researching SEO or other related topics.
Last but not least, you want to make sure people learn something they can apply quickly. However, it doesn’t have to be dull. In short, also a “how to” can be compelling if adequately written.
Long story short, when I started to write content that fit those guidelines, I didn’t get any traffic. Nothing at all! What was going on?
I simply missed the proper mindset. In this article, I want to show you the SEO hacking mindset. Based on continuous experimentation, curiosity and lack of preconceived ideas of what works and what not to compete against large publishing outlets!
A few weeks back in one of our daily conversations with Andrea Volpini, WordLift‘s CEO, we were discussing a few SEO strategies.
With Andrea, we often discuss at great length about SEO, the future of the internet and how search engines, Google, in particular, react to that.
Our conversations are a way to brainstorm ideas. That day we were walking through Via Giulia, an old street in the historic center of Rome; a road that runs parallel to the Tiber River.
One of the most famous streets in Rome during the Renaissance, Via Giulia became the home of antique dealers in the past decades. Yet today due to the crisis of antique trade, the street has become home of modern shops.
Among those shops there is WordLift. A small startup that operates at the cutting edge of semantic technologies applied to the web. That is where I work as a Head Of Business Development.
When we walk through Via Giulia, a feeling of being part of something greater permeates us, and it feels like you go back to the past, when Rome was the most powerful Empire ever existed. These feelings make ideas flow incessantly.
In that scenario, Andrea had just revealed to me a secret about Google.
I’ll summarize in this way: images have their own life in Google’s SERP, and if you take the time to produce original images and redirect them to your blog. That can become an effective SEO strategy to bring traffic back to your site.
It all started from there. When I heard that I began to run a few experiments.
This strategy is beginning to pay off. In this featured snippet on the keyword “cash conversion cycle” with a volume of 18,100 Google is picking the content from Investopedia and the image from my blog.
You’ll notice that the image redirects back to my blog. In this article, I show you what I did and how you can do it too.
Let’s take a few steps back.
It all starts with an editorial strategy
Many think of an editorial strategy as a calendar filled up with articles for the next year. That is not the way I see it.
An editorial strategy for me is about having clear in mind what are the 2-3 topics you want to cover at great length.
Based on that you need to be flexible, and opportunist. In short, you want to keep an eye open for opportunity windows that allow you to rank on large volume keywords.
Long story short I’ve implemented an editorial strategy on FourWeekMBA.com by creating content that targeted specific keywords around business modeling.
Yet those articles would hardly rank for those keywords as I was competing against large websites like Investopedia.
What to do then? Either I had to change my editorial strategy or be doomed to failure. Unless…
All you need is passion and an audience
I didn’t want to change my editorial strategy. In fact, I’m passionate about business modeling, and I know I can keep researching this topic for years.
Also, that is a topic with a broad audience. Thus, I had the two conditions I believe are critical to building a profitable website. I also needed a secret recipe to start ranking on those keywords though.
I began creating companion infographics with my articles, which had the size of a LinkedIn post. The aim was to provide a snapshot of business, quickly.
Those graphics would target the same keywords in the article.
Images have their own life on Google SERP, take advantage of that
If you look at the percentage of search results from Google there is one phenomenon to notice:
In this analysis by SparkToro in collaboration with jumpshot one thing is straightforward: images play a key role in Google search results.
As pointed out by Rand Fishkin, there are two things to take into account. Number one, “Google Images shrunk, but almost entirely because Google web search took that traffic for themselves (dropping the tabs to image search, embedding more image results in the web SERPs, etc.).”
Number two “given that Google Images is sending out an even more significant portion of traffic (due to their recent changes on “view image”), investing in visual content that can perform there (and appear in a web search) feels like a no-brainer for content creators.”
In other words, Google is integrating more and more images in the search results, thus making them part of the user experience. Therefore, you should be not surprised to see your pictures floating around the web, disjoined from your content and inserted in other contexts.
In fact, more and more often, images appear in the so-called featured snippets. Other times they are included in the knowledge panels.
That opens up an exciting opportunity: having original images might be a critical strategy to power up your SEO strategy. And I want to show you how to use them to gain featured snippets on very competitive keywords.
However that also opens up another challenge: as Google is thirsty for relevant content, be it text, image or video, it will happen more often than these contents will be stripped out from the context of your website to get offered in different formats.
From search results, featured snippets, knowledge panels, or voice assistants. It doesn’t matter how Google will serve that content; it will be Google to make the rules of the game unless you make sure to follow two strategies.
Number one, bring all the traffic generated through those graphics or infographics toward the original blog post that features them with a simple redirection.
Second, make sure to label your images with your brand, website or whatever can help you build awareness and help you build up search volume around the so-called “branded keyword.”
We’ll see those two aspects more in detail in a few paragraphs.
How to find featured snippet opportunities for your images
The first step I took when I was looking for featured snippet opportunities by using original graphics was to look at featured snippets where Google only had text. Some examples below:
As you can notice from this example, this featured snippet is very competitive as you might be going after Wikipedia, the same applies to the other examples:
One thing you might have noticed though is that this featured snippet only comprises text. There is no image in it. Why?
One possible reason might be that Google didn’t find relevant images to include in those featured snippets.
In short, even though Wikipedia is a trusted source of information, it doesn’t seem to provide original, and valuable images that Google can use within the featured snippet.
That is where the opportunity to get in that featured snippet comes in!
Let’s go back to our case study and what I did to get there.
Target a competitive keyword, but with your original infographic
When I was looking for featured snippet opportunities, I had identified a long-tail keyword with a large volume: amazon cash conversion.
That keyword, at the time of this writing, has an 18,100 in monthly volume. Even though that keyword was already taken and it looked like this:
In other words, Investopedia had a text featured snippet, but there was no image. The reason being they didn’t have any compelling infographic in the text, as you can see from below:
That is where I could have an opportunity even though there was no way Google would have taken my content in place of Investopedia. So I wrote the piece and worked on an original “companion” infographic.
Make your infographic relevant, compelling by targeting the featured snippet
The infographic is informative, it is quick, and it is branded.
I also picked a color that resembled The Economist infographics. Thus, making it more trusted at first glance (at least for people that know The Economist).
Structured data is the foundation of your featured snippet strategy
Structured data is about converting your content in a format that search engines can efficiently process. In other words, to make your content more sticky for the Google algorithms, structured data has become a must.
For instance, in this specific case, I used WordLift to mark up the content on my blog posts:
The significant part is the WordLift converts my content in structured data in a few clicks and with no coding so that Google can better process it. And it does that by using a format called JSON-LD that doesn’t affect the performance of the page:
WordLift passes up a set of metadata to search engines that describe the context of the page. That also includes relevant information about the infographic featured in the article!
Redirect traffic from your infographic back to your blog post
As I use WordPress as CMS, I used a simple plugin to have traffic redirected from the image – in case it ranked through Google – to the original blog post it belonged.
In short, when you have a website, you have a list of pages that you can prioritize based on a so-called sitemap. Put it shortly; the sitemap is the way you want Google and other search engines to look at your website.
That doesn’t mean Google will stick to it, but that is an indication that helps it understands a website.
Within the sitemap, you need to have also your images. In this way, you allow Google to more easily index, thus rank them (again Google will decide whether or not it makes sense, yet you give it an indication).
Once I had the images in the sitemap, I made sure those images would be redirected via Yoast Plugin:
Within the “Search Appearance” on Yoast, you need to go inside “Media” and set as “Yes” at the question “Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?”
Here you go:
When you click on the image of the featured snippet it will open it up:
If you click on that image, see where it goes:
Exactly, back to my blog post!
Create search volume for your branded keyword
Another critical aspect of your infographic is about generating search volume for your branded keyword. A branded keyword is merely a keyword that represents your brand.
For instance, in my case, that would be FourWeekMba, or four-week-mba and other possible variations.
Why is that important? A branded keyword is significant for several reasons.
First, gaining search volume on a branded keyword might tell Google that your brand/website is relevant.
Second, when you build up volume over time, you also start diversifying your marketing mix.
Thus, you’ll notice more direct traffic to your blog. That’s good as you don’t need to rely solely on Google for a consistent stream of traffic.
With those infographics I’ve been building a bit of search volume around my brand:
Of course, that is still very small. Yet when I look at my search console you can see some interesting findings:
For the sake of simplicity, I’m just showing you the main branded keyword. In fact, in my search console, I have other variations (like fourweekmba).
What’s interesting here is that on this branded keyword the click-through rate is pretty high (47,83%).
In fact, the click-through rate shows how many times, based on the number of impressions from the search results, the user clicks on my page.
That is critical as that points to Google that this is what the user was looking for. Thus, that – in theory – should make my website more trusted (this is wholly speculative).
There is also another aspect that is critical for this story.
SEO is not a short-term game
I published the article on February 26th, 2018 and for a while I just let it rank organically.
A few days ago, at the beginning of July I started to notice in the last days I was getting some organic traffic on the keyword “cash conversion cycle” yet I could not find it on the SERP:
In fact, I was on the third page. So that made me think, and I went to check right away what happened and that is what I saw:
In short, after about three months I managed to gain a half featured snippet with an image with my small blog by competing with Investopedia, one of the largest and most trusted sites when it comes to business.
If you’ll be implementing a strategy based on positioning your images on the featured snippet, how can you make sure you’re doing it right?
How to check the traffic coming from images
One way to keep track of this strategy is by using the Google search console. All you need is to go in Search Traffic > Search Analytics and filter it by images:
In this way, you can track your marketing effort in gaining organic traffic via original infographics.
As search engines evolve new opportunities arise. Thus, by keeping an open eye, you can take advantage of those opportunities even if you have a small blog.
In fact, in this case study, we saw how you can take advantage of existing text featured snippets by following this process:
look for featured snippet opportunities: when you see a featured snippet that has only text there is an excellent opportunity to position your infographic
create content on that featured snippet opportunity together with a compelling infographic targeting the same keyword
use structured data as the foundation for your featured snippet strategy
set up redirections from those images toward the blog post to which they belong
brand those infographics to generate search volume around your branded keyword
be patient and wait for it to be positioned in the featured snippet. SEO is not a short-term game!
By the time to time, you can check whether your effort is paying back by filtering the search traffic to see organic traffic from images
when that happens, double down on that strategy to gain more visibility
One key aspect to keep in mind. SEO hacking is not about finding the latest trick to win some traffic.
SEO hacking is a mindset – that mixed with limited resources, experimentation, and creativity – allows you to gain traction even on competitive terms. You just need to think unconventionally and experiment quickly.
Oh, wait! There is another critical aspect. That pertains to voice search. What do I mean? Look at this short video:
When you shift your mindset and start targeting featured snippets, interesting things can happen.
Indeed, this is even more interesting than the featured snippet itself. In fact, in the featured snippet the image is too small for users to click on. Yet on the voice search assistant on your smartphone, the opposite happens.
The infographic “eats up” the text coming from Wikipedia!
In fact, not only the image seems part of Wikipedia (Google is tricking you) but when you tap on it you land on my blog!
But that is another story we’ll tackle in another case study 😉
This article is about putting to use Machine-Readable Entity IDs to gain back control of the data that matters for you or your business and to help others find you unambiguously and… yes, this does lead to better SEO. 🎉
While considered an advanced SEO strategy by some, creating and managing Machine-Readable Entity, is a new way to do content curation and to revitalize traditional backlinking. It is indeed also about taking back control of the data but, let’s start from the beginning.
The web is a matrix really, an intricate maze made of convoluted patterns that for many years search engines have helped us solve by proposing us the best pathways to learn more about a topic, to help us find the very best sushi restaurant in our neighborhood and…let’s be frank, to watch endless videos of kittens jumping around.
What are Machine-Readable Entity IDs?
An entity IDs is a unique identifier for a single thing, person, place, or object that a machine can understand. In the field of information extraction entity IDs or named entities can be abstract concepts like compassion or have a physical existence like WordLift, our startup.
Let’s make a step backward. How is knowledge organized in libraries?
In the physical world knowledge for centuries has been condensed into books and books have been organized in libraries. Every book inside a library use a code like 615.1 INT and this code follows a scheme called the Dewey Decimal Classification system. This system uses numbers from 000 to 999 to describe a specific subject area (ie. 300 for Social Science and 700 for Arts and Recreation and so on). Decimal points are used to drill down into a specific knowledge domain, for example, Pharmacology is characterized by the code 615.1. The three letters following this number, are usually taken from either the title of the book or from its author. The shelfmark that we usually find in a library on the spine of a book is the equivalent of an Entity ID in the World Wide Web.
Shelfmarks for classifying digital resources (or to describe things that exist in our world) on the Web are machine-readable identifiers and are expressed with URI (Universal Resource Identifiers).
Wikidata 101 for SEO
The equivalent of a library for books, in the realm of structured data, is Wikidata. “A free, linked database that can be read and edited by both humans and machines” (so we read on the main page). Wikidata is a focal point for all Wikimedia projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikisource but most importantly it can be interlinked with other open datasets on the linked data web.
Why is Wikidata important for SEO?
Search Engines like Google, Bing , and Yandex use Wikidata as one of their sources to answer to users queries like “how old is WordLift?”
Google answer to the question “How old is WordLift?”
Wikidata structures information in a semantic network of entities, attributes , and relationships that allow a machine to tap into a vast knowledge base of facts. It is a very broad knowledge base entirely built on the principles of linked data with both machine-extracted information from wikipedia, contributions from the crowd and automated data curation.
It also provides a public, accessible and super fast SPARQL 1.1 end-point that can be used to develop linked data application.
How is Wikidata organized?
Wikidata‘s somehow obscure and criticized data model (read Paul Wilton’s article if you want to dig deeper into the bad and the ugly parts of Wikidata 😊 it is very instructive) starts with entities (or Items as they are called in Wikidata). Every entity has its own unique identifier that starts with a Q like Q149 for the world famous meme of Nyan Cat 😻. For each entity that are individual statements (or facts) made of claims that are composed of properties and values with qualifiers that are, hopefully, sustained by at least one reference. Nyan Cat has an official website for instance Property:P856 in Wikidata) accessible at the url http://www.nyan.cat/ (and no references nor qualifiers in this specific example).
Everyone can contribute and there is a broad selection of properties in the Wikidata ontology that can help us describe concepts we’re familiar with. My very personal advice is to start by looking at existing items, carefully review the interactive tutorials or play the Wikidata Game but above all always remember that Wikidata is a community-driven initiative (and you need to be very respectful of others) and that data quality is crucial!
How can I backlink my data from Wikidata? Does it really matter?
Backlinking is still extremely valuable in today’s SEO. The quantity, the quality and the relevance of backlinks are among the factors search engines use to evaluate a page.
When it comes to data published in large graphs like Wikidata or DBpedia things are somehow similar. An entity can be linked to an equivalent entity in another knowledge graph as long as it is published following the Linked Data principles. This is important for two reasons:
a machine (a crawler, an application or a smart agent) can disambiguate the entity and get a clear evidence that we’re referring to the same concept, person, thing or organization
a machine can gather more information (in the form of statements) for that same entity
Two different statements, in this example, are inferred from two knowledge bases that have been interlinked in both directions using Wikidata‘s exact_match property and owl:sameAs (to connect Wikidata‘s entity from the entity on data.wordlift.io).
The impact of Machine-Readable IDs on Google Search
Google is using Machine-Readable IDs (MREIDs) across multiple services including Google Trends, Google Maps, Google Lens and Google Reverse Image Search but above the user experience on Google Search is deeply influenced by MREIDs and the semantic networks behind it. As noted by Mike Arnesen in his latest articles on Leveraging Machine-Readable Entity IDs for SEO Google now uses two different classes of entities:
Freebase Machine-Readable IDs for entities being discovered and created while Freebase was still available. They use the format /m/[a-z0-9]+ (Here is my entity created a long time ago /m/0djtw2h that is behind my knowledge graph.
New Machine-Readable IDs for entities created after Freebase was terminated. They use the format /g/[a-z0-9]+ (here is the entity for Gennaro Cuofano /g/11f3sj8_tw
6 steps to master your own SEO-friendly Machine-Readable Entity IDs
We use and test different approaches on a regular basis and here is the ultimate list to boost your MREIDs.
Use structured data in your web pages and reference back (or interlink) linked data entities, Wikidata Items or existing MREIDs from Google using the schema:sameAs property. Do the same with any Social Media presence you might have. Search Engines are well aware of Social Profiles and can infer more information from there as long as you are giving them the confidence that this is the right entity. See the example below 👇
Google knows that I am WordLift CEO
This is a featured snippet that Google created from my LinkedIn account whose statement is “confirmed” by the data published on data.wordlift.io and Wikidata. Featured snippets are extremely volatile because they tend to be error-prone. On the contrary, when enough data is provided on other well-known data sources, it gets easier for a search engine to trust the validity of the statement and to display. There is an interesting patent that Bill Slawski discovered a while ago on how Google might use a Knowledge Base Trust to asses the validity of a statement being scraped from a website.
If you are dealing with a Business or an Organisation make sure the Google My Business has been created and it is well managed.
Publish metadata in linked data using WordLift or any tool you might like. It is the most accessible and standard way to speak to machines. Linked data and Semantic Technologies provide a formal way to publish entities, terms, and relationships within a given knowledge domain. Search engines, more and more are depending on innovative artificial intelligence features like Google’s Featured Snippets and do require semantically rich data.
Curate entities that matter for you and your business on Wikipedia and Wikidata. Use for Wikidata the exact_matchProperty:P2888 property to interlink entities that you have published as linked data and mentioned with the structured data on your website.
Verify your Entity on Google. Since few weeks Google introduced the possibility for any person, organization, sports team, event and media property with an existing Knowledge Panel, to get verified and to suggest edits to the information presented in the SERP (read it all here from the Google’s blog). It is a super simple process and the most direct way to suggest edits that will be added to the Google Knowledge Graph. You can start by clicking on the phrase that starts with “Do you manage the online presence for xyz?”. You will receive an email from The Google Search Team that will allow you to keep the data on Google always up to date.
How to update your MREIDsThe email from The Google Search Team after being verified
Pay attention to the multiple sources that a search engine might use to infer its knowledge and do your best to curate the entities you care about. Local directories like Yelp, for instance, are extremely valuable as they are considered trustworthy by search engines and personal digital assistant like Apple Siri. To let a machine properly match an entity available on a third party directory like 9 Yelp make sure that the Name, the Address, and the Phone number are always consistent with the data published on your website.
How can I link an entity in the Google Knowledge Graph with the same entity in Wikidata?
If you are dealing with an entity that has already a MREIDs in the Google Knowledge Ggraph and you want to link the entity with the equivalent entity in Wikidata you have two options:
Taking control of your data is vital, it is true for SEO but it is also true to keep the web an open and democratic platform as recently said by Tim Berners-Lee on Vanity Fair.
Handling consciously the data that machines use for delivering services to billions of connected people is the first step to a more decentralized web infrastructure.
Creating your own Machine-Readable Entity with linked data means that you can choose where your data is stored and what applications can use this data. Imagine the difference between having your own website for promoting your business or using a Facebook Page.
Letting crawlers, search engines and social networks access our data using unique identifiers that we can control is different from having them entirely manage our own content and digital identities.