In 1996 Bill Gates wrote “Content is King”, predicting a world where content would have been the main wealth on the Internet. Although this prediction has been a catchphrase in the contest of digital marketing in the 2000s, nowadays it could sound a little naive. It isn’t, if you rethink content separating it from its containers and try to understand and follow its law.
Don’t think in terms of pages, think in terms of entities
Pages are just one of a thousand ways in which content can be rendered and displayed to your users. An entity is the real single brick of your content strategy. It can be displayed through a page, but it’s something more. It is a thing (or a person, a place, an event, etc.) that has its own properties and relationships with other things.
Adding schema.org markup to your content you can define and describe your entities and help search engines better understand your content. Let’s say for example you have a recipe: as an entity, this recipe will have many properties such as recipeCuisine, recipeIngredient, recipeInstructions, recipeYield… and a lot more. All these properties can connect the entity to other entities or just exist as single data points.
Let’s say I’m looking for an apple pie with one single egg — because I have just one in the fridge, semantic search engines could give me the right recipe thanks to the additional information related to the entity. So, in the end, entities allow you to give a better answer to your potential readers.
Why are entities relevant in this context?
Structured content can help you build Actions for the Google Assistant upon some entity types such as recipes, how-tos, news articles and podcasts. And here is how schema.org markup comes handy for voice search.
Moving from building pages to creating structured data helps us create relationships between entities that matter. Entities are not isolated items, they are all connected into a cluster which is semantically meaningful.
This means that through entities you can feature different angles of a complex thing.
For example connecting all information related to a course or a webinar across multiple pages can be strategic to stand out on Google search and is the best way to answer to different user intents.
Structure your content building your own content model — and stick with that
As I said before, entities are just the first brick of your content strategy. Content modeling is the law that underlies your content. Structuring the content of your website allows you to reuse it in different formats and match different search intents.
For example, the content model of the WordLift Academy allows us to repurpose our content in different formats. Each main content is a webinar which is connected to different data points such as creation date and duration, other entities such as the topics covered during the webinar and the main speaker, and media such as the cover image, the profile picture of the speaker, and the video recording.
All this information can answer to different search intents and function as different entry points to the main content.
Experiment new formats starting from your content wealth 💎
Now, let me tell you a story.
Recently, we’ve joined Google’s Mini Apps Early Access Pilot. The idea was to offer to the user an app experience built into the SERP to navigate into the Academy content.
I won’t enter into the details of the technological stack used to create this Mini App prototype through Google’s console. What matters here is that, having a structured content we have refined the search for WordLift courses allowing the users to navigate through them by selecting one or more topics of interest and/or a speaker.
As the pilot has been shut down due to COVID-19, you won’t see it on the SERP anytime soon. 😭 But… we are planning the same structure — well, with a few changes in terms of technology – to build an Assistant App for Google. 🚀
So users will be able, for example, to look for all the webinars about SEO by Jason Barnard on our Academy just invoking the App.
What’s the take-away of this story?
Formats may change and evolve, experiments come and go… but a strong content model allows you to reuse your content in different environments.
Is Voice Search Here to Stay? It is now 2020
If you want to learn more about how voice search is evolving in 2020, have a look at the webinar below, with me and Georgie Kemp getting deeper into this topic.
We are proud to announce that we joined the Microsoft for Startups program, an exclusive project that will help us scale and develop our business by joining forces with Microsoft teams and the Azure CLOUD.
We are extremely excited to have been selected among thousands of other startups, for the traction we have demonstrated and for the technology that we’re developing. Being in close collaboration with Microsoft is a great opportunity for us to advance our technology in the area of natural language processing, machine learning and in the context of WordLift NG — the new generation of our product.
WordLift automates and streamlines the technical processes required to make a website discoverable through search engines and personal digital assistants; our startup has been first to market a Knowledge Graph optimized for SEO, combining semantic annotations with information publicly available as linked open data.
By selecting WordLift, Microsoft confirms its desire to offer companies high-performance AI tools at the service of businesses and people. The human-machine relationship, in fact, is not just about how AI influences SEO, content production and marketing, it has to be taken into consideration also when helping users create their own knowledge graph, because that’s when we’re really focusing on how those content and data influence AI.
Microsoft has a profound impact globally across millions of organizations and we’re excited to bring our contribution in the world of AI-powered SEO to build a culture around data and to redesigning the human-machine collaboration.
“Microsoft’s leading expertise in the adoption of artificial intelligence represents for us a wonderful opportunity for both technological and commercial development. The entry of WordLift in the Microsoft for Startups program shows that AI-powered SEO and Knowledge Content Management has its place within the ecosystems of Digital Marketing and Branding” — specifies Andrea Volpini, CEO of WordLift.
Page Speed is the unquestionable strength of Accelerated Mobile Pages. This factor gives these pages an incredible boost in mobile SEO and in CTR. What can you do to further optimize your AMP pages? Here is where structured data in the form of schema.org markup comes into play.
Before we go deep into why structured data can be a not-so-obvious way to boost your AMP pages, let’s answer a simple question: what are Accelerated Mobile Pages and why are they so important?
AMP: the open-source library that speeds up your mobile pages
Launched by Google in 2015, AMP is an open-source library that allows developers to create web pages that load almost instantaneously on mobile browsers. In other words, speed is a crucial factor that AMP aims to optimize.
To understand why the speed factor is so important nowadays – especially after Google rolled out its mobile-first index – you have to think about how users are browsing the web and, therefore, how Google is trying to offer them a better search experience.
In 2018, mobile search has taken the lead over desktop search: 67% of worldwide visits are performed using mobile devices according to Stone Temple.
What do mobile users want? Speed!
Yep, it is as simple as that. 53% of mobile users leave a page after 3 seconds of loading. Does that sound exaggerated? Think about yourself, looking for a piece of information or news for a quick read and waiting in front of your tiny smartphone display for seconds that feel like minutes.
I think you already know that frustrating feeling. In fact, 75% of mobile websites take 10 or more seconds to load.
By giving AMP pages a place of honor on its SERPs, Google is trying to guarantee its users a better search experience.
By implementing AMP on your website, you can:
Overcome your mobile speed issues
Give a better user experience to your readers
Incentivize Google to show your pages first instead of the slow-loading pages of the majority of your competitors
Your website will be eligible for visual stories, and rich result features, such as image, logo or headline, for instance
Website might be able to be shown in mobile Search results as rich results
See your news featured in the top news carousel, if you are a news publisher
This is example of how Top Stories Carousel looks like with AMP
To prove why implementing AMP on your website is important, here are some basic figures taken from research conducted by TechJury in 2019 on mobile vs Desktop use. The numbers clearly indicate that mobile market share worldwide is 52.1% in comparison to desktop market share of 44.2%. What is not surprising is that Millennials spend about 3 hours and 45 minutes browsing on their mobile devices per day in 2019. It is highly unlikely that the number will decrease in 2020.
Here is another similar research by AMP Project, and it indicates that E-commerce websites which are using AMP, experienced a 20% increase in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages. Still doubting whether you need to implement AMP?
Canonical page or native AMP?
To avoid duplicate content issues, Google requires each AMP page to be linked to its canonical non-AMP version, and the canonical page has to link back to the AMP page.
In case the page is native-AMP, meaning that there isn’t another page for desktop devices, the canonical should be the AMP page itself. This could become a smart option in the future for websites whose traffic and business model is mostly mobile based.
You can enhance your AMP content for Google Search by creating a basic AMP page, adding structured data, monitoring your pages, and practicing with codelabs.
And later in the same article:
Use structured data to enhance the appearance of your page in Google mobile search results. AMP pages with structured data can appear in rich results in mobile search, like the Top stories carousel or host carousel.
What exactly does “enhance the appearance of your page in Google mobile search” mean? As you can see in the example below, the page of SalzburgerLand Partners Meeting on WordLift Blog is an entity of the Event type. Below the link, you can see that Google features some basic metadata such as place and date. This gives users extra information and adds one more reason for them to click on the content.
The same thing can be done with different types of entities: for example, imagine products coming with their price and availability information.
How to add structured data to your AMP pages
Google Search recommends to use the same structured data markup for both the canonical and the AMP pages:
Use the same structured data markup across both the canonical and AMP pages.
This means that if you want to benefit from semantic SEO techniques on your AMP pages, you have to align the structured data of your AMP version to the canonical page. If you have invested some time with the schema.org markup of your content, it would be a shame not doing so!
the specific type of content (i.e. ‘news article’)
the published date
associated preview images.
Of course, the richer your structured data is, the more that Google Search will understand the content on your page and be able to help you reach the right target audience. If you are not sure if the structured data parses correctly, you can use this simple Structured Data Testing Tool by Google.
If you are using WordPress, you may already know that thanks to the plugin AMP for WordPress you can turn any of your pages or articles into an AMP page.
There are many other plugins that do the same thing, but we recommend you to chose this exact one because it comes from the first strict cooperation between Google and WordPress. In fact, the Google AMP team is the same team that is working to empower the WordPress ecosystem. One of the first results of this cooperation is the AMP for WordPress plugin created by Automatic, our friends at XWP (a leading WP developing agency) and Google itself. Here some some cool new updates that your website can benefit from:
Improved CSS Optimization
Google Fonts Support For All Designs
AMP Infinite Scroll Support
Photo Gallery by 10Web Support
MEWE social network Support
What's new in the AMP Plugin?
In the latest AMP Plugin Release, you will find even more support for AMP theme support, including support for core themes, a big update to the compatibility tool and extended Gutenberg support! ?
From now on with WordLift, your AMP pages can finally inherit the schema.org markup of the canonical page and share the same JSON-LD. Simply put, after you add the structured data to your article, WordLift will automatically implement all the metadata in the corresponding AMP pages.
Using our plugin, structured data for AMP is quite simple. Have a look at this schema.org markup of an AMP post on the blog of our sister company InsideOut Today.
Wrapping up: the benefits of structured data on AMP pages
Using the same markup for AMP pages and canonical pages, you will benefit from the advantages of a mobile-optimized page – since Google index is more and more focused on mobile performances – and also from the extra help of semantic SEO. Boom! You can kill two birds with one stone.
As we have seen before, AMP speeds up a website’s load time and therefore it increases mobile ranking, which affects the CTR. Users are more likely to click on the results that are more prominent on the SERP.
Wait, there’s more! A fast loading page will also have a lower bounce rate. Here the advantage is twofold: your users will benefit from a better UX and search engines will register the high dwell time as a positive signal – helping you to strengthen your website rankings.
On the other side, enriching your AMP pages with structured data will help search engines better understand your content and also give them enough metadata to display your pages as rich snippets on the SERP. Guess what? This will guarantee you even a higher CTR.
WordLift, Redlink GmbH, SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH and the Department of Computer Science of the University of Innsbruck teamed up under the WordLift Next Generation project to develop a new platform to deliver Agentive SEO technology to any website. The work started in February and will last for 36 months.
We are pleased to announce that together with our partners Redlink GmbH, SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH and the Semantic Technology Institute at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, we have received funding support from EU to develop a new technology that will be available for any Content Management System.
The project, called WordLift Next Generation, will be developed with the financial support received from Eurostars H2020, a program promoted by the European Union that supports research activities and innovative SMEs. WordLift NG is part of a financing plan allocated by the EU to make European companies more competitive through AI tools at the service of businesses and people.
As our CEO Andrea Volpini stated recently, “Artificial Intelligence is shaping the online world with huge investments from GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon e Microsoft). Our company successfully brought these technologies to mid/small size content owners, SMEs and news publishers worldwide using WordPress. It’s time to expand outside of the WordPress ecosystem while adding new services such as semantic search, improved content recommendations and conversational UIs for the Google Assistant and Alexa to help this market segment remain competitive.”
WordLift automates and streamlines the technical processes required to make a website discoverable through search engines and personal digital assistant; we have been first to market a Knowledge Graph optimized for SEO, combining semantic annotations with information publicly available as linked open data.
With WordLift NG, the consortium plans to improve the way in which our software understands web articles and builds knowledge bases, employing semantic technology. With a more powerful knowledge graph, it will be possible to fully decouple WordLift from WordPress to make this technology available to any website worldwide. The consortium also aims to improve the quality of the content recommendations and to bring an engaging semantic search experience. Last but not least, as the knowledge base behind each website will improve, it will be possible to enable conversational experiences over Google Assistant and Alexa (focus will be on news and media and hospitality sector).
To achieve these ambitious goals, we have teamed with leading organizations in Europe in the field of AI, NLP and Semantic Technologies and tourismus: Redlink GmbH (led by Andreas Gruber CEO of the company), the Semantic Technology Institute at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Innsbruck (under the supervision of Ass.-Prof. Dr. Anna Fensel) and, SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH (with Martin Reichhart, Innovation Manager as coordinator).
Thanks to the EU funded project and the collaboration between Italy and Austria, WordLift NG will democratize the usage of agentive SEO, developing a complete new technology stack to help businesses around the world remain competitive in the ever-changing search and digital marketing landscape. The project has officially started on February 1, 2020, and will be completed in 36 months.
Adding structured data to your website can be a wise move for your digital marketing if you want to gain organic traffic from search engines. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why nowadays you need structured data to compete on the SERP, what’s the impact of structured data and what’s its usage around the web.
The ROI of Structured Data
A short premise
Marketing is all about intercepting the right potential clients to increase sales of products or services. Under the names of different techniques and tactics, that’s it really. Digital marketing and SEO are no exceptions to this rule. In the end of the day, marketers and business owners need to know how the marketing effort is going to pay back.
Structured data and knowledge graphs are the core of our SEO services, here at WordLift, and working with a wide range of clients from different countries and industries, there are a few questions that occur quite often:
What’s the impact of structured data on my site in terms of ROI?
How do I measure the impact of structured data on my SEO strategy?
What’s the real business value that comes with structured data?
The point, behind each of these questions is: how does structured data impact my bottom line?
Although the answer can be very specific for each business, combined with the characteristics of its website and vertical, it’s generally true that structured data nowadays can create a competitive advantage SEO, content findability, and content reuse.
“Aside from web page listings, Google Search may have some special features where certain basic structured data is required to be eligible to appear, such as carousels.”
As John Mu said once…
So, there is actually an impact in SEO results when you use structured data as schema.org markup makes your content eligible for specific rich results and SERP features — which help your pages gain a higher CTR. Moreover, as suggested by John Mu within the tweet above, structured data helps search engines understand web content and serve them to the right users at the right time.
The advantages of structured data go far beyond SEO, and also include opportunities of content reuse, internal findabilty, and semantic analytics.
How many sites are using schema.org in 2020?
Our partner Woorank has crawled more than 20 million websites and checked how many of them are using schema.org today.
As you can guess from the graph below, the web is adapting quite slowly to structured data. Worldwide schema.org usage covers less than one third of the websites — and frontline runners, USA and France, are just slightly above the 40%.
This statistic alone can say that in this context schema.org markup can create a competitive advantage on the SERP. But there’s more.
It’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality
Excellent tool for Structured Markup
WordLift creates structured markup just as good (if not better) than manual generation. I’ve started recommending it during my consultations and clients are reporting great results.
Many sites use schema.org to add a very basic markup. What can make a difference here is:
How much granular and accurate the structured data is?
What do you do with the data you are publishing?
Are you building a knowledge graph that allows you to reuse your data and content?
When you move from a quantity to a quality perspective, a whole new world opens up.
“While Google is sunsetting the support for data-vocabulary.org and we see an increasing usage of structured data in general, the focus becomes data quality. Are we prioritizing the highest converting content on our website? Is the data that we’re adding to our pages both clean and useful, from a search engine perspective? What story are we trying to tell with our data?”