How knowledge graphs can help your travel brand attract more visitors

How knowledge graphs can help your travel brand attract more visitors

For the first time this year we can finally say that knowledge graphs and semantic technologies are hype. People like me, who played with the semantic web stack for several years now, have long predicted that one day we would have a Graph for Everything. We did wait for long and hopefully not in vain 😀 until recently Gartner finally shout out loud that 2018 is indeed the “Year of the Graph”. We, here at WordLift, are far beyond the hype. We have built technologies, open source frameworks, companies and products on this vision of semantic web, knowledge representation and ontologies.

Knowledge Graph Technology in the Hype Cycle 2018 Gartner

Knowledge Graphs in the Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2018.

For many years, way too many, talking with large enterprises or public institutions like the Italian Parliament about the importance of creating taxonomies and labeling information has been extremely frustrating, and yet I am very thankful to everyone who has listened to me and helped us get to the point of writing an article like this one.

Knowledge graphs are real and bring a competitive advantage to large enterprises like Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, Uber, Zalando, Airbnb, Microsoft, and other internet powerhouses but no, this article is not about giant graphs from large enterprises. It is about our direct experience in helping travel brands like bungalowparkoverzicht in the Netherlands, the largest tour operator in Iceland and SalzburgerLand in Austria.

WHAT IS A KNOWLEDGE GRAPH?

A knowledge graph is a way of representing human-knowledge to machines. In short, you start by defining the main concepts as nodes and the relationships among these concepts as edges in a graph. READ MORE

Not all Graph are created equal and each organization has its own business goals and ways of representing relationships between related entities. We model data and build knowledge graphs to create a context, to improve content findability by leveraging on semantic search engines like Google and Bing and to provide precise answers to certain questions. When you have organized your data semantically and you have built your own taxonomy there are many applications that can be implemented: from classifying items to integrating data coming out of different pipelines, from building complex reasoning systems, to publishing metadata on the web. When we built the knowledge graph for a travel brand like bungalowparkoverzicht our main focus was on the type of information that a traveler would need before reaching the destinations.

We model data for the so-called “planning and booking moments”. Planning, accordingly to a research from Google, starts when a digital traveler has chosen a destination and is then looking for the right time and place to stay. Then the booking will follow, and that’s the moment when the travelers move into reserving their perfect hotel, choose a room and reserve it.

Types of Information to model for the planning and booking moments

When modeling hotel-related information in Web content using the schema.org vocabulary you basically work with three core type of nodes (entity types):

  • A lodging business, (e.g. a hotel, hostel, resort, or a camping site): essentially the place and local business that houses the actual units of the establishment (e.g. hotel rooms). The lodging business can encompass multiple buildings but is in most cases a coherent place.
  • An accommodation, i.e. the actually relevant units of the establishment (e.g. hotel rooms, suites, apartments, meeting rooms, camping pitches, etc.). These are the actual objects that are offered for rental.
  • An offer to let a hotel room (or other forms of accommodations) for a particular amount of money and for a given type of usage (e.g. occupancy), typically further constrained by advance booking requirements and other terms and conditions.
Schema Markup for hotels and lodging businesses

Schema Markup for hotels and lodging businesses.

Relationships (edges in the graph) between these entities are designed in such a way that several potential conversations between a lodging business and a potential client become possible. We simply:

a) encode these relationships using an open vocabulary and, by doing so,  

b) easily enable search engines and/or virtual assistants to traverse these connections in multiple ways.

As seen above we can map – using the vocabulary – all the hospitality infrastructures as schema:Organization and create a page listing all the different companies behind these businesses or we can list these hotels and lodging facilities using their geolocation and the properties of the schema:Place type.

Making it happen

The content management system in the back-end uses a relational database, and this is just great as most of the data needs to be used with transactional processes (versioning, reviews are all based on efficiently storing data into tables). Our work is to apply to each data-point the semantics required to:

  1. publish metadata on the web using structured data that machines can understand
  2. index each item of the property inventory (i.e. all the proposed hotels, all the locations, …) with a unique identifier and a corresponding representation in an RDF knowledge graph
  3. semantically annotate editorial content with all the nodes that are relevant for our target audience (i.e. annotating an article about a camping site in the Netherlands with the same entity that connects that location with the related schema:LodgingBusiness)   
  4. have a nice and clean API to query and eventually enrich the data in the graph using other publicly available data coming from Wikidata, GeoNames or DBpedia
  5. provide search engines and virtual assistants with the booking URL using schema:ReserveAction(see the example below) to make this data truly actionable.

1. Publishing metadata on the Web: data quality becomes King

Since major search providers (including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex) joined forces to define a common language for semantic markup, semantic web technologies became an important asset of online business of all sort. At the time of writing this article, 10 million websites use Schema.org to mark up their web pages.

Structured Data from the Common Web Crawl

Structured Data Growth from the Common Web Crawl.

While there is a growing interest in adding structured data in general, the focus is now shifting from providing whatever form of structured data to providing high-quality data that can have a real impact on the new entity-oriented search.

WHAT IS ENTITY-ORIENTED SEARCH?

Entity-oriented search, as defined by Krisztian Balog in his book, is the search paradigm of organizing and accessing information centered around entities, and their attributes and relationships.

Ranking high on long tail intents like the ones we see in the travel sector is – in several cases – about providing consistent and reliable information in a structured form.

How structured data might be used in Google synthetic queries

How structured data might be used in Google synthetic queries.

The importance of geocoding the address

To give you a practical example, when making explicit the data about the address of the lodging business for the Dutch website, we realised that the data we had in the CMS wasn’t good enough to be published online using schema and we decided to reverse geocode the address and extract the data in a clean and reliable format, using an external API. A simple heuristic like this one improves the quality of the data describing thousands of lodging businesses that can now be unambiguously ranked for various type of searches.         

Using well-known datasets to disambiguate location-specific characteristics

In schema, when describing most of the hotel-related types and properties – e.g. telling hosts that the hotel might have a WiFi Internet connection – we can use the amenityFeature property that is derived from the STI accommodation ontology (our friends in Innsbruck at the Semantic Technology Institute that have greatly contributed to the travel extension of Schema).

Unfortunately, there is not common taxonomy yet for describing these properties (the wifi or the presence of a safe in the room). In order to help search engines and virtual assistants disambiguate these properties at best, in WordLift we’re providing a mapping between these hotel-related properties and entities in Wikidata. In this way, we can add an unambiguous pointer to – let’s say – the concept of WiFi, that in Wikidata corresponds to the entity Q29643.

2. Creating unique IDs for entities in the graph

When representing the nodes in our graph we create entities and we group them in a catalog (we call it vocabulary). All the entities we have in the catalog belong to different types (i.e. Lodging business, Organization, Place, Offer). The entity catalog defines the universe we know and each entity has its own unique identifier. The fact that we can have an ID for each node turns out to be surprisingly useful as it allows us to have a  one-to-one correspondence between a node (represented by its ID) and the real-world object it represents.

An accommodation like the Strand Resort Ouddorp Duin in the South of Holland, for example, has its own unique ID in the graph on http://data.wordlift.io/wl0760/vakantiepark/strand_resort_ouddorp_duin.

3. Bridging text and structure

Combining structured and unstructured information is key for improving search breadth and quality from external search engines like Google and Bing. It also becomes very important to provide a consistent user experience within the site. Let’s say that you are referring, in an article from the blog, to South of Holland or to the Landal Strand Resort we talked about before: you want your users to see the latest promotions from this resort and/or offers from other properties nearby. Connecting editorial content from the blog using the data in the graph is called entity-linking. It is done by annotating mentions of specific entities (or properties of these entities) being described in a text, with their own unique identifiers from the underlying knowledge graph. This creates a context for the users (and for external search engines) and a simple way to improve the user experience by suggesting a meaningful navigation path (i.e. “let’s see all the resorts in the region” or “let’s see the latest offers from the Strand Resort”).  

Florian Bauhuber presenting SLT Knowledge Graph at Castelcamp Kaprun 2018

Florian Bauhuber from Tourismuszukunft presenting SLT Knowledge Graph at Castelcamp Kaprun 2018.

4. Discovering new facts by linking external data

Kaprun in GeoNames

Kaprun in GeoNames.

Having a graph in RDF format is also about linking your data with other data. A great travel destination in Salzburgerland like Kaprun has its own entity ID in the graph http://open.salzburgerland.com/en/entity/kaprunbuilt by the Region of Salzburg using WordLift. This entity is linked with the equivalent entities in the Web of data. In GeoNames it corresponds to the entity http://sws.geonames.org/2774758/ (GeoNames is a freely available geographical database that contains a lot more properties about Kaprun that what we store in our graph). We can see from GeoNames that Kaprun is 786m above sea level and belongs to the Zell am See region in Salzburgerland. These informations are immediately accessible to search engines and can be also stored in the index of the website internal search engine to let users find Kaprun when searching for towns in Zell am See or destination in Salzburgerland close to a lake. This wealth of open data, interlinked with our graph, can be made immediately accessible to our users by adding attributes in Schema that search engines understand. An internal search engine with these information becomes “semantic” and we don’t need to maintain or curate this information (unless we find it unreliable). Wow!   

WHAT IS RDF?

The Resource Description Framework (RDF),  is a W3C standard for describing entities in a knowledge base. An entity such as a hotel can be represented as a set of RDF statements. These statements may be seen as facts or assertions about that entity. A knowledge graph is a structured knowledge repository for storing and organizing statements about entities. READ MORE

SLT Knowledge Graph in the Linked Open Data Cloud

SLT Knowledge Graph in the Linked Open Data Cloud.

5. From answering questions to making it all happen: introducing Schema Actions

We use nodes and edges in the graph to help search engines and virtual assistants answer specific questions like “Where can I find a camping site with a sauna close to a ski resort in Germany?”. These are informational intents that can be covered by providing structured data using the schema.org vocabulary to describe entities.

In 2014 Schema.org, the consortium created by the search engines to build a common vocabulary introduced a new extension called Actions. The purpose of Schema Actions is to go beyond the static description of entities – people, places, hotels, restaurants, 
 and to describe the actions that can be invoked (or have been invoked) using these entities.

In the context of the knowledge graph for a travel brand, we’re starting to use Schema Actions to let search engines and virtual assistants know what is the URL to be used for booking a specific hotel.

Here is an example of the JSON-LD code injected in the page of a camping village providing the indication of the URL that can be used on the different devices (see the attribute  actionPlatform) to initiate the booking process.


  "potentialAction": {
	"@type": "ReserveAction",
	"target": {
  	    "@type": "EntryPoint",
  	    "urlTemplate": "/boek/canvas-belvedere-village/",
  	    "inLanguage": "nl-NL",
  	    "actionPlatform": [
    	        "http://schema.org/DesktopWebPlatform",
    	        "http://schema.org/IOSPlatform",
    	        "http://schema.org/AndroidPlatform"
  	    ]
	},
	"result": {
  	    "@type": "LodgingReservation",
  	    "name": "Reserveren of meer informatie?"
	}
  }

Next steps and final thoughts

As we’re continuing to explore new ways to collect, improve and reuse the information in the knowledge bases we are building with our clients in the travel industry, a new landscape of applications is emerging. Data is playing a pivotal role in the era of personal assistants, content recommendations and entity-oriented search. We are focusing on making knowledge as explicit as possible inside these organizations, to help searchers traverse it in a meaningful way.

The semantic web is a branch of artificial intelligence specifically designed to transfer human knowledge to machines. Human knowledge, in the travel sector, is really what creates a concrete business value for the travelers.

When planning for a next vacation we are constantly looking for something new, sometimes even unusual, but at the same time we need full reliability and we want to complete the planning and booking process in the best possible way, and with the least amount of effort. 

For travel brands, destinations, online travel agencies, and resorts building a knowledge graph is truly the best way to improve the traveler experience, to market the travel offers and to prepare for the “AI-first world” of voice search and personal assistants.

Are you ready to build your travel-oriented knowledge graph? Contact us

Credits

Thanks to Rainer Edlinger and Martin Reichhart that this year invited me to the Castel Kamp in Kaprun where every year the travel community from Austria, Germany, and SĂŒdtirol gathers to share their experiences, best practices and challenges in the digital marketing world. I have been also very happy to meet again Reinhard Lanner with whom I started this journey back in 2014. A great “Grazie” also to our wonderful team that is constantly working to improve our technology and to help our clients get the most out of our stack. 

Feel free to connect if you have any more questions about my experience with Knowledge Graphs for your travel brand!   

How to grow your editorial business with the help of data

How to grow your editorial business with the help of data

We have talked with Yves Mulkers, founder of 7wData, to discover his experience as a publisher on how data helped him grow his editorial business. See how he gained a +60% on organic users acquisition.

Most people don’t get excited about data and very few would think that there is something exciting about it, but Yves Mulkers is an exception. Graduated in chemistry and then converted to the IT industry, in 2015 he founded the online magazine 7wData, which hosts trending news about the world of data and all its facets. 7wData’s purpose is to help people understand how data can work for them.

In fact, Yves describes his website this way:

“7wData is a blogging platform to foster innovation & matchmaker between people and products, and foremost is here to trigger your data appetite.”

Yves Mulkers publisher of 7wDataPassioned about music, technology, and data, Yves started to join the dots of his own interests and career in his DJ days, trying to organize his major vinyl collection by building his own record management tool and CRM system.

He was always looking for tools and technology that support his vision and maximizing and optimizing his skills.

“Organizing, structuring, modeling, sharing knowledge and stories have been like a red-wire in everything I do where I like to inspire people with the things I do” he said.

How did the idea of 7wData come up?

I needed a place to share all the inspiration I get and gather, where I can gather my network around my favorite topic at the moment: data. When I started, we were still talking about business intelligence and data warehouses. The early days of the hype of big data, which would solve all our data problems.

7wData helps me to keep my network informed and inspired by what you can do with data, how should do it, and what value it can bring to you. It as well pushes me to stay on the forefront of what is happening in the market.

In your experience, what are the aspects that make people more curious about data, AI, and innovation?

Data is for most people not sexy, not tangible, it’s technical and has to do with IT and geeky stuff. But people slowly start to understand that with all this data, technology and mathematics we can be supported in our everyday lives. The time is now, that we can try a lot of things, very quickly, without major investments. Try many, fail early, and learn, compare it as how nature works and evolution of the species came about.

You are passionate about AI. How do you think these new technologies are changing online publishing?

AI will play an important role in automating the typical reporting like sports facts. Artificial Intelligence will allow finding relevant information in a speedy manner. It was big at the time when search engines started to arise, back in the 90’s.

Great to be able to find information in such an easy way, at the tip of your fingers. But seeing the huge volumes of information, it takes us more than ever to find relevant, meaningful information.

This is where AI will help us into be relevant and selective.

How are you using the data you produce with WordLift on your website?

My big vision is to build a one-stop place where you can find all information regarding data: inspiring stories, how-to’s, who-is, which products, what jobs are available and what skills do you need. This to help everybody from c-level to practitioner make the best out of data.

LOD LiveWordLift helps me build that knowledge graph and it also interconnects the content assets, with a minimal effort. At the same time, it prepares and optimizes my content for search engines and voice search, which allows people to find my content in an even easier way.

WordLift’s unique approach is the semantics it has on board. Most tools work only on the literal terms, whereas WordLift can identify for example A.I in a sentence, and knows it is the same as AI, Artificial Intelligence…

Can you already see WordLift‘s effect on your website?

We are still in the evaluation phase, and remain skeptical, because things, working so well, always make us suspicious.

But to call it by the numbers, we saw in the first weeks of implementation a 30% increase in traffic compared to previous periods. To be honest, we never did any SEO optimization before.

Almost all our content is now wordlifted, and we still see a week-over-week increase.

Organic growth with WordLift

After 3 months using WordLift, organic users acquisition grew by 60% – when compared to the previous period

If we compare to the same period last year, we see search traffic increase of 60%.

Wanna grow your website traffic using AI?

Try WordLift for free! 🚀

 

Key Takeaways

  • For most people data is not sexy, but they are slowly understanding that it can support our everyday lives and our businesses.
  • In the editorial business, AI will play an important role in automating the typical reporting like sports facts.
  • It takes us more than ever to find relevant, meaningful information. Here, again is where AI can help us gathering the most promising news to focus on.
  • Building a knowledge graph out of your website will help you turn your content into data points and interconnect the content assets, with a minimal effort.
  • With WordLift taking care of semantic SEO, 7wData grew by 30% in the first weeks of implementation. After three months, organic users acquisition grew by 60% when compared to the previous period.
How SalzburgerLand.com is engaging travelers and outperforming competitors

How SalzburgerLand.com is engaging travelers and outperforming competitors

SalzburgerLand Tourismus, while looking for an effective content marketing strategy to hijack travelers, decided to build its own knowledge graph along with a new WordPress powered website. The Austrian regional tourism agency, after the first 6 months, has outperformed the competition: compared with 161 websites from the same industry and with a similar range of traffic, Salzburgerland.com had acquired 92.65% more users via organic search. Wanna know how? Follow me.

Building the digital pathways to bring travelers in SalzburgerLand

SalzburgerLand Tourismus (SLTG) is the agency responsible for marketing, development, and promotion of tourism in the region of Salzburg. Its main challenge is to attract and engage travelers from around the world, to meet their needs at the right time and to develop new travel products.

«The strategic orientation of SLT is to transport main topics and highlights matching the needs and requirements of different markets and channels. On that point we are forcing the use of visual components (pictures, videos, cinemagraphs) to create emotions and to engage guests. At the same time we endeavor to deliver relevant information to every single traveler.

Using WordLift (and WordLift Cloud) we are now able to structure our content, make it readable for machines to serve personal assistants like Alexa, Google Home or any other smart device – and to share it with our partners.»

Rainer Edlinger and Martin Reichhart, Digital Media Managers at SalzburgerLand Tourismus

Salzburgerland.com Sport

Nowadays travelers, in most cases, begin their exploration from Google. The search engine has become the place where people from different countries browse for ideas and dream about their future travel experiences. They use Google to look for the dates, flights, and hotels that match their expectations. Ultimately, with Google evolving into the biggest online travel agency worldwide, it has become strategic to reach customers at the right time during their journey by promoting top-notch content with both paid and organic positioning.

We’ve been collaborating with SLTG since 2014 to grow their organic traffic and to implement an open linked data content marketing strategy. Salzburgerland.com is SLTG’s main online property and at the very center of a distributed network of online services (mobile websites, mobile apps, social media accounts and so on). The goal of the site has always been to attract world travelers from around the world with first-in-class engaging content.

As a background activity to focus on the needs of SLTG, we have been studying travelers’ behavior using regional open data on inquiries, bookings, and visits along with search intents. This analysis helped us define (and re-define) market segments, personas, and information needs for each target group.

After analyzing the core business targets, the team drafted a set of traveler marketing personas and moved ahead with:

  1. Migrating to WordPress
  2. Organizing existing and new content around different travelers
  3. Creating an enterprise knowledge graph – a semantic database that describes all concepts that matter: these are the key building blocks of the information architecture of the new website.

#1 Migrating to WordPress: a strategic choice

Salzburgerland.com used to manage its content using an in-house developed Content Management System until they decided, back in 2016, to migrate to WordPress. There are several reasons for large organizations like SLTG to switch to an open source web CMS like WordPress:

  1. Continuous update of the technology with a controlled ICT budget. Automattic and the community around WordPress are responsible for updating the core of the CMS. Clients, like SLTG, need to run constant testing on all new releases of the software but all the development is open source and available to anyone for free.
  2. Increased flexibility in creating new content and a streamlined publishing workflow. This helps the editorial team focus on what really matters: great content that travelers want to read.
  3. The wide range of plugins available for WordPress, while overwhelming at the beginning, and sometimes extremely confusing, helps lower the cost of new developments on large websites.
  4. Improved performances when compared to other legacy systems, WordPress is fast (especially when combined with proper caching technologies and optimization tools).

#2 Organizing existing and new content around different travelers

Travelers from different countries have different information needs. Salzburgerland.com uses a multi-language website (and data) structure offering different content for each target group.

Tourists are provided with appropriate navigation paths each one starting with a particular landing page. Each landing page is an entity that corresponds to a specific geographical location, an area of interest, an organization or a type of travel experience.

Salzburgerland Landscape

#3 Creating an enterprise knowledge graph

The core of the new strategy for SLTG was not to revamp their website, but to create their own enterprise knowledge graph using linked data and semantic technologies. Organizations like SLTG integrate heterogeneous data from different sources and with a semantic database, all this data is made accessible to everyone.

The enterprise knowledge graph helps infer new relationships out of existing facts, giving context and meaning to editorial content. SLTG has been experimenting over the years with semantic technologies, to gain a competitive advantage, to support their internal business decisions and to create new applications and touch points for the travelers.

As the new portal was being designed the content has been semantically structured using WordLift to connect at best with their target audience (travelers from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and more) and to share their knowledge with their partners.

Wondering about how to run a data-driven content marketing?
Let’s talk about it.

Book a Demo

What benefits come from building a knowledge graph?

With WordLift, SLTG has been able to:

  1. Provide immediate access to travel information for both travelers and machines (including crawlers and chatbots) — on large properties, it’s simply impossible to manually add structured data.
  2. Drive more traffic, from Google — this is true when compared to other travel websites and similar institutions in Austria and around Europe, thanks to an improved content architecture and to the semantic markup.
  3. Engage with travelers meeting them exactly when they are dreaming about inspiring places to visit and while they are scouting for new updates and information on SalzburgLand.com.
  4. Improve the UX providing a new enriched content model to help travelers discover Salzburg Land and its breathtaking sites.
  5. Release an Open Linked Data infrastructure to make all the information published on the site available to third parties (Hotels, Travel Agencies, Booking Systems, and more) as open data.

On Salzburgerland.com WordLift entities are used as landing pages for different market segments: almost 2.500 entities in eight languages make up the starting vocabulary and perform as search magnets for organic traffic.

Salzburgerland Entities
Salzburgerland.com Entities per language

To keep the good work up, editors are regularly creating new content around entities and adding new entities (based on the information that the semantic databases reveal to the marketing team).

The new Salzburgerland.com has been online since the end of January 2017. We have been able to look at the metrics and to benchmark the results against other travel websites (and yes, competition, especially in Austria in the sector of tourism, is extremely fierce 😉 ).

Between February 2017 and July 2017, the site has acquired via organic search 148.166 new users. When compared to other 161 online properties (using Google Analytics benchmarking tool) in Austria (with similar traffic) this is 92.65% more than anyone else. Salzburgerland.com, so far, has been really outperforming its competitors. 👏

Linked Data Google Assistant
Here is how linked data helps Google Assistant respond to an English speaking traveler about a series of event called “Bauernherbst” (the German word for Harvest Festival)

What’s next?

Salzburgerland.com’s enterprise knowledge graph is now available on open.salzbugerland.com. This dataset describes points of interest, main sites, events and any attraction for travelers in the region. Application developers and partners can now directly use data from the enterprise knowledge graph.

Using the data portal is possible to interact directly via the endpoint in SPARQL. Try it yourself, and look for the list of events grouped by town.

SPARQL Search Data SalzburgerLand - WordLift

We’re now working on integrating other data sources into the graph to boost the SEO of all the websites in the SLTG network. Moreover, the team is working on reusing the data to create a new voice activated digital experience using Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Working with SLTG for us over these years has been a terrific experience and a lot of the enhancements in today’s product are the results of the fruitful collaboration between our startup and their digital marketing team. Besides being truly in love with this charming region of Austria we’re extremely grateful for all the support, brilliant insights and opportunities that SLTG has shared with us. 💙

How A.I. is disrupting web writing according to FREEYORK’s founder

How A.I. is disrupting web writing according to FREEYORK’s founder

What if artificial intelligence was the nurturing humus that the publishing industry and blogs need to bloom again? What if the future of blogging was in the virtual hands of an army of machines that can work together with professional writers to build and spread knowledge? This is the story of Samur Isma, founder and publisher of the online design magazine FREEYORK, which publishes 25-30 articles a week employing just two editors. How do they do this? Let’s look closer to understand Samur’s visionary model.

A.I. is a mindset.

FREEYORK - Illustration

Eclectic and creative, Samur is halfway between tech and design with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. After starting his career as a freelance graphic designer, he has studied computer science at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Mersin and, then, at the Technical University of Wroclaw – where he graduated in computer science and marketing. In 2009 he founded FREEYORK, and nowadays he divides his mind and his time between his daytime job at IBM as a project manager, the management of his editorial project FREEYORK, and the organization of the Startup Weekend in Wroclaw. And he still manages to have some fun!

Samur Isma with a part of the team

Samur Isma with a part of FREEYORK‘s team: Samur is holding the camera, while the girl on the right (covering her face) is an editor, the one on a left contributes to FREEYORK, the guy on the left (in sunglasses) is FREEYORK‘s Business strategy advisor and consultant, and the tall guy on the left, helps FREEYORK with graphic design.

FREEYORK: the editorial project

Born as a community-driven platform, FREEYORK aims to spread the works and stories of upcoming artists.

Previously, designers and other members of the community used to submit their artworks and their stories, reaching a wide audience of design-lovers. Until a few weeks ago, all the work was done by two editors, plus Samur: just three persons were covering photography, design, illustration, street art, architecture, fashion, and food. Now, content submission is available again for website members, through a newly rolled-out system.

FREEYORK is an eye wide-open on all kind of visual contemporary art and publishes a huge amount of inspiring content that helps artists and studios to get known and design-lovers to find new artists and creative ideas from all around the world.

FREEYORK's Homepage

Unleashing the power of A.I.

FREEYORK’s editorial team has a secret weapon to stay ahead of their competition, and that secret weapon is A.I.

Together with Samur and his small editorial team, there is a kind of cyber-team composed by A.I. tools, whose activities are now part of the magazine’s editorial workflow. Day by day, A.I. is helping the human team to do a better job in content writing, editing, and organization.

Our current workflow involves usage of three A.I. tools: an A.I. that writes the content of an article, another A.I. that analyses it for grammar mistakes and replaces words that don’t fit into a context, and WordLift” explains Samur. The first step is to collect some materials on a topic. After finding a few sources, we are giving them A.I. to rewrite. The second step is to analyze what first A.I. wrote, fix grammar mistakes, and replace those words that don’t make any sense. Finally, we let WordLift annotate an article and think of a catchy headline. A.I., unfortunately, is not good at this yet!
So, basically, there is an A.I. working at each stage of the editorial process: writing, editing, and organizing. Oh, wait! What about human editors? What will they do in the future of the web? Here is what Samur has to say about this:
It scares a lot of people for their future. Especially those who’re working with numbers. I think that writers that use a lot of statistics and numerical data have a bigger chance to be replaced by A.I. As a perfect example, we can take The Associated Press that is using A.I. to write Minor League Baseball articles. That must be an alarming sign for sports writers. As for FREEYORK, I’m hoping to find a perfect solution that will combine writing and editing in one tool and on the top of that if it should read the text and think of a catchy headline. But nothing ever will substitute a well-written writer’s opinion on a subject. In the future, I’m hoping to form a brilliant team of editors that will write long-posts expressing their opinion on an artist’s work, exhibitions, installations, and so on. Who doesn’t appreciate a well-written article?”
Put this way, A.I. is more an opportunity than a threat, both for writers and publishers. State-of-the-art A.I. is ready to free journalists and writers from boring and repetitive tasks in their work day. What do you do when A.I. is quicker and cheaper than humans to write news and analysis? As a writer, you can focus on critics, opinions, and storytelling: that’s human stuff and no machine can make it better than professionals.
FREEYORK's entity - New York

See New York from FREEYORK’s point of view. Isn’t it wonderful?

As a small publisher competing with bigger players, Samur is working on a new business model which will rely less on display advertising.
I wanted to make WordPress more intelligent and that’s exactly what WordLift does” states Samur. “At first, when I introduced WordLift to the team, they were skeptical about it and stated “Why we need this, tags are doing the same job with a less effort anyway”, but I kept on pushing because there is a huge potential in this.
Samur is not ready to share the details of his new – A.I. powered – business model, but I’m sure we’ll come back on it to see where this adventure is going to land. đŸ€– Meanwhile, he is seeing WordLift’s effect on his key metrics:
We approached WordLift while experiencing a decrease in our organic traffic. After a few months using it, our organic traffic reached and exceeded previous figures and it is still growing at a stable rate.
Our brainy CEO, Andrea Volpini, is analyzing Samur’s data to better understand the impact of our plugin on FREEYORK: I promise we’ll come back soon with more information and insights about it!
Update: the results of Andrea’s analysis have been presented at SEMANTiCS 2017 in Amsterdam. 🎉

 

Case Study: content marketing for a successful small business | Tao Roma

Case Study: content marketing for a successful small business | Tao Roma

Meet Tao Roma

Tao Roma promotes personal development starting from ancient Chinese disciplines such as Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and Taoist Alchemy, bringing them to the contemporary life.

Oscar Valentini | Founder Tao RomaHis founder, Oscar Valentini, is a martial art, Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and Taoism teacher. He comes from Rome, Italy, and his blog Tao Roma is a focal point for the promotion of his work. We asked Oscar what kind of business goals he was trying to achieve with his blog when he first started it, and his answer was quite interesting:

“It was 2013 and goals was quite a strong word. It started by chance, because I wanted to spread my knowledge about Tao wellness techniques. Blog articles and Facebook shares immediatly worked powerfully to disseminate content and engage with people online. At the time, my main goal was to make people curious to experience how ancient Tao wisdom can impact on their lives with a little personal commitment.”

And then, in the end of 2015, Oscar was one of the early beta testers of WordLift. What did it change on the blog results?

“Wordlift was revolutionary: for a while I stopped writing new articles, and worked on my own vocabulary of core concepts, the so-called entities. Then, I edited many of my articles to connect them with those crucial concepts – which where implicit when I first wrote my blog posts. When these concepts were published as web pages and linked to the articles and to each other, they allowed me to build a knowledge graph into my blog. While I was writing, I din’t even get how essential this change was going to be, but then everything became clearer. Now I better understand the importance of a consistent editorial plan thanks to the content organization that WordLift allowed me to see and live into my blog.”

And talking about the results…

“In time, WordLift effect also impacted on our results: I reached more people, who are interested in our offer of activities and courses, and I noticed great improvements in SEO. Today, when somebody calls me to offer a SEO consultancy, I always say that there is already someone working on it, but I never say it’s a software!”?

How WordLift supported Tao Roma with content marketing

Since December 2015, Oscar used WordLift to support his articles with a meaningful galaxy of terms and definitions that could be useful for those who are approaching martial art, Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and Taoism for the first time. Each of these terms is an entity and is part of an internal vocabulary which helps people – and machines as well, such as search engine’s spiders – to understand the referral context.

Until now, Oscar created 142 entities, represented as linked data in the JSON-LD format thanks our plugin. These entities are linked to DBpedia with the ‘sameAs‘ property and are described through the schema.org vocabulary: since they are connected to the web of data, they inherit some properties from DBpedia and schema.org that provides search engines with the required meaning and context. The more entities he created, the more he reinforced the connection between Tao Roma’s website and its specific semantic domain.

In the histogram below, you can see the 50 most recurring entities of Tao Roma’s vocabulary and discover how many articles and other entities are connected with them.

Main Entities on Tao Roma | WordLift

In the pie graph below, you can see the content classification of the entities inherited from DBpedia. Notice that one of the main topics of the blog is Tao Massage and this can explain why so many entities are classified as anatomical structure.

Tao Roma: DBpedia content classification | WordLift

Got it, now show me the numbers!

Here is a diagram from SEMrush describing the organic increase Oscar has experienced on his blog thanks to the WordLift effect.

SEMrush Tao Roma | WordLift

The overall results have been impressive and way beyond our expectations. Let’s look more closely at the metrics to understand why organizing your website with structured data matters:

  1. New users from Google (organic search) – Oscar installed the plugin and started to organize the content architecture of his website in December 2015: since then the website received a 42+% increase of new users coming from Google’s organic search.
    Google Analytics | Tao Roma
  2. Pageviews – We went from a monthly average of 5.662 pageviews in September, October and November 2015 to a monthly average of 14.699 pageviews in the months of December 2015, January and February 2016. This is an 88+% increase (in the last three months since writing this article the monthly average of pageviews is up to 17.368 – so the effect is continuing at a stable rate) – this is an interesting metric but as we know, it is way too generic to help us get a clue on what we’re doing right.
  3. New sessions from organic search – Comparing to a benchmark of 26.686 websites worldwide in the sport vertical (with daily sessions ranging between 100-499), Tao Roma’s Analytics showed a +36,22% (80,03% vs an average of 58,75%) of new sessions coming from organic search.
  4. Sitelinks – As you probably already know, guiding visitors of your website is a great advantage provider. These links are Rich Snippets | Tao Romadisplayed on the SERP and highlight the main sections of the website, improving brand reputation and user trust. Sitelinks cannot be added by webmasters. They are the result of a well-structured website and the first thing that proves how well a website is organized.
  5. Dwell time – Three months after the creation of the initial vocabulary, the average time spent on page increased of 17.27%. This metric certifies an authentic interest from user’s side.

Today, thanks to this impressive results, Oscar is looking further and thinking about the next revolution for his website…

“Our website is going to be transformed again from the graphic and UX point of view – moving from a blog look and feel to an actual online magazine, where we’ll see different home pages based on the season of the year and on our calendar of events and initiatives. This flexibility is also a consequence of the strong contribution of WordLift to the content writing and structuring process.”

Stand out on search in 2019. Get 50% off WordLift until January 7th Buy Now!

x