We’re thrilled to announce that the Arabic Translation for WordLift is now in action and has been completed thanks to the amazing efforts of our colleague Nevine Adel Abdel Rehim, who works for our sister company in Egypt, insideout10. Kudos to Nevine!
While WordLift’s Natural Language APIs, the pre-trained machine learning models that WordLift uses to reveal the structure and meaning of your articles, already supported the Arabic language, the user interface of the WordPress plugin was available only in English and Italian (some of it is also translated into German and Danish).
Thanks to Nevine’s help now, clients like the American University of Cairo and Merck in Egypt, along with thousands of other Arabic speaking WordPress users, can now automate their SEO using WordLift in their own native language.
Localization is key. In order to let our Arabic colleagues, partners and clients, that are already using WordPress in their native language, use WordLift with full confidence we decided to fully localize the plugin in Arabic.
Helping Translate WordPress in Your Language
WordPress is available in many languages and can be translated into other languages as well. WordLift as any other plugin on WordPress can be translated into other languages using translate.wordpress.org a web-based translation tool that allows anyone to contribute translations of WordPress core and any Themes or Plugins hosted on WordPress.org.
When you install a new plugin, you certainly feel more comfortable if they are in your native language. Your user experience is better if you can read everything – from the readme to the meta-boxes and buttons – in your own language.
2019 has just begun and this is really the first result to celebrate: from now on our semantic plugin can be used also in Arabic 🎉 Isn’t that awesome?
In this article, we analyze how we can optimize the content on our website to gain premium real estate in Google SERP, by providing hyper-relevant information for the Google Knowledge Graph.
What is Google Knowledge Graph?
The Knowledge Graph is a vast database launched by Google on May 16, 2012 designed to provide more useful and relevant results to searches using a semantic-search technique. Find out more about the Google Knowledge Graph.
Every day, here at WordLift, we spend a great amount of time talking with experts in the digital marketing world and experimenting new ways to stand out on Google and Bing by getting better at organizing knowledge.
To help websites improve their SEO our secret weapon is to create a knowledge graph that is openly accessible to crawlers and linked from the content of the website using structured data markup.
What is a Knowledge Graph?
A knowledge graph acquires and integrates information into an ontology and applies a reasoner to derive new knowledge.
(Lisa Ehrlinger and Wolfram Wöß – University of Linz in Austria)
The term knowledge graph has been frequently used in research and business, in close association with Semantic Web technologies, linked data, web-scale data analytics, and cloud computing. At SEMANTiCS, a few years ago, a research paper titled “Towards a Definition of Knowledge Graphs” by the Institute for Application Oriented Knowledge Processing of the University of Linz was presented to propose a definition of the knowledge graph that focuses on data modeling and reasoning.
A knowledge panel is information about a business, a person or a topic in a box that appears to the right of Google search results. The information in the box is powered by Google Knowledge Graph and provides all sort of relevant facts about an entity.
Knowledge panels are a great way to gain visibility in Google search results and an entry point also for voice search in most cases. There are mainly two types of panels:
Local Panels that display information about a business that has an open Google My Business account
Brand (or personal) Panels that display information about an organization with a certain degree of authority. In our case having an article in Wikipedia was helpful to gain this panel.
While it is much harder to influence Google in creating a branded or personal knowledge panel we have succeeded in several cases with both organizations and persons that did not have a presence in Wikipedia.
Have a look below at the knowledge graph panel of TheNextWeb and all the information that it provides to online users.
Why creating your own Knowledge Graph improves SEO?
Imagine the knowledge graph behind your website as the scaffolding that lets crawlers and bots access to your content in a smarter and more efficient way. Much like Google uses the graph, as the engine to power up its search results, a graph that describes the content of a website helps machine understands what this content is really about.
Whether is a featured snippet showing on the SERP of Google or an app providing an answer using the voice like Cortana, Alexa or the Google Assistant, in the back, everything depends on the data that connects articles and facts in a machine-friendly form.
This is why having your own knowledge graph helps you make your content easier to be found and more accessible. Let’s dive into the practice and let’s try to ask the Google Assistant something like “what is Semantic SEO“. You will get as answer a snippet of content taken from this same blog.
What is Semantic SEO on the Google Assistant
The more metadata we make available to semantic search engines like the one used by Google Assistant and the easier it gets for these machines to understand the relevancy of our content in relation to a specific intent. Let me give you another example of content findability in the new world of personal assistant search optimization where a knowledge graph comes into play.
Here below the query to trigger is “tell me something about WordLift“. In this specific example, the Google Assistant proposes to the user the invocation of a Google Action called Sir Jason Link that can match this request.
The Google Action – Sir Jason Link – has been created using the graph data behind this website much like in the previous example.
The Google Assistant has analyzed the content of the Google Action (imagine a Google Action much like an app for the Google Assistant or the equivalent of a skill for Amazon Alexa) and probably has seen that the content matches the content on this website. The assistant is, therefore, suggesting to users, that might not know Sir Jason Link, to invoke it when asking for our product.
There is more SEO value than featured snippets, voice search and personal assistant search optimization in creating a linked graph with the metadata of a website.
In today’s digital world, publisher and readers are overwhelmed with information and it gets increasingly complicated to discover the content we really want. Semantic Technologies, like WordLift, do the magic and help publishers create better content while guiding readers in finding the content they want.
In SEO terms, articles enriched with semantic information, improve their findability by making information extraction more efficient. Concepts mentioned in an article are annotated and linked with extensive knowledge bases (such as DBpedia, Wikidata, Geonames and the Google Knowledge Graph) to provide search engines with key indications on why a specific piece of content can be relevant for a given search intent.
More importantly – all the information is structuredin a graph – this means that a search engine can process, all it has to know about an article, much like we do when looking at the nutrition facts label on a pack of spaghetti. All the relevant information is condensed in a label that is easy to read and organized in a standard way.
How Google uses the Knowledge Graph to answer your questions?
In this webinar organized by Jason Barnard, I had the opportunity to discuss with Bill Slawski and Cindy Krum how Google is using the Knowledge Graph in its AE algorithm and how things really work. If you want to dig into the topic of Knowledge Graph and SEO watch it now!
OK, so how is WordLift’s Graph getting smarter?
Just like kids, when starting to learn a language start with the names of the things they see around them, the vocabulary that editors could create with WordLift was primarily made of concepts and names.
Just like other major knowledge bases like DBpedia and Wikidata, WordLift‘s Knowledge Graph has been built around concepts (or entities) and the relationships between these concepts.
As we progress, and the use-cases we deal with become more mature, WordLift‘ graph is getting smarter to support new business cases and to help us improve the findability of online content.
Our main goal with WordLift Snowball was really to improve the linked data graph in order to:
Be able to compute and analyze the relationship between entities and articles being annotated. Here, as a side effect, we will have a lot more links from the graph to the articles and this will facilitate the indexation of articles,
Improve how smart agents (or crawlers) access information about entities using the semantic technology language of RDF and SPARQL this basically means, for instance, that we can handle queries to event-related questions like:
What are the next events in Paolo Alto?
What are the upcoming talks with Gennaro Cuofano?
How much does it cost to attend the Meetup on AI & ML for WordPress?
Check out below a sample dialogue that Sir Jason Link (WordLift‘s powered Google Action) can support thanks to this new update.
Asking Sir Jason Link about Gennaro’s upcoming event.
If you are a web content writer, there is no need to remind you all the struggle you have to face to distribute your content. Maybe you spend hours – or even days! – of hard work writing awesome content, but once your article is done, you know that your job has just begun. Now it’s time to fine-tune your content for SEO purposes, share it on several channels, monitor search keywords for your next article… Wouldn’t be wonderful to just focus on writing and nothing more?
Semantic markup is the key to success. Schema markup can really help your pages get the traffic they deserve. How? To explain it, we need to do a few steps back: first of all, you need to know what schema.org is.
What is schema.org markup
Schema.org is an initiative launched in 2011 by the world’s largest search engines (Bing, Google, and Yahoo!) to implement a shared vocabulary and adopt standard formats to structure data on web pages.
Schema.org markup helps machines understand your content, without fail or ambiguity.
Let’s explore how to use the Schema markup, the benefits of using it and how it can be implemented on your WordPress website.
How to add Schema.org markup to WordPress
To use schema markup on your pages, you can either use a tool like WordLift or do it manually. WordLift plugin enables you to add Schema markup on WordPress without writing a single line of code. Once you configured the plugin, a new menu will appear on the right side of your article in the WordPress editor: it will allow you to annotate your content and, by doing so, to create an internal vocabulary to your website or blog.
WordLift uses JSON-LD to inject schema.org markup in your web pages. Click here to see the magic: it’s a gif which shows you the data representation of this article with JSON-LD!
Imagine you have published an event on your website: once you completed creating your specific content, the final step will be to add a normal meta description, which will appear on the search page as plain text. But, by adding Schema markup to the page, you can really help your content stand out by transforming it into a rich snippet and therefore getting a lot more clicks 😉
There are several types of schema you can use to mark your content, and by using the event schema markup is possible to show dates, locations and any other detail related to a specific event to help people easily get access to all the information they might need:
Once the purpose of adding structured data is clear – that is to provide accurate information about what your content’s website is about, you could also see that adding Schema markup to your site really is a highly-customizable process.
How to increase your traffic with semantic markup
While crawling the web looking for some specific content to be served to users, search engines will unquestionably identify the context your articles belong to. Nowadays this is the most effective and affordable way to distribute your content and made it “findable” to those who are looking for it through Search Engines.
The example above shows the results of a long-tail search about the upcoming Salzburgerland Party Meeting event. As you can see, the first result is a rich snippetwith 2 links and allows you to skip directly to the next events. All that is made possible by the markup, which helps search engines detect the structured data matching the user’s answer inside the whole website. It’s been proven that rich snippets increase the Click Trough Rate: so, more qualified traffic for you, here!
Salzburgland.com uses WordLift to structure its content.
Moreover, you can explore new ways to disseminate your content based on chatbots, which can serve your just-baked articles to your readers depending on their interests.
In the image on the right side, you can see how Intelligent Agents such as Google Allo can answer your voice search questions with appropriate content if they are correctly structured.
Assess markup quality with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
Once you added your schema markup to WordPress, it’s easy to determine that everything was done right, simply by using the Structured Data Testing Tool made available by Google. Just enter the URL you need to analyze and let the tool verify your content.
Let’s see, as an example, the markup of the SEMANTiCS 2018 Conference on our blog:
As we can see, everything worked just fine, there’s only 1 warning about the field Offer that in this case has no value added.
The first rule while adding schema markup is to be clear. Google will know! Also, remember that adding schema markup to your page might as well not guarantee any result at first. But it’s always recommended to do it because it can definitely give you the best chance for success in SERPs, and help increase your CTR.
Automating structured data markup with WordLift
While developing WordLift plugin, we focused on making more accurate than ever our schema.org markup.
Now we can say – without fear of contradiction – that our Plugin offers you one of the most extended sets of markup to structure data on a WordPress website… without writing a single line of code!
Here is a list of improvements on the markup that SEO specialists are going to appreciate:
ARTICLE: we’ve added the markup schema.org:Article for each article/blog post, publishing it with the property Main Entity of Page. Simply put: we say to Google and to the other search engines that this web page is an article. To know more about this property, read this how-to by Jarno Van Driel.
PUBLISHER: we also communicate the publisher’s information related to each article as structured data. The publisher can be an individual with his/her proper name or an organization with a brand name and a logo.
ID: with WordLift we also made available the Publisher ID. What is an ID, and why it is so important? For each entity, article, and publisher, we generate a permanent ID: a unique identifier which is fundamental in the context of 5 stars Linked Data because it allows the connections between data on the web. Each entity, article, and publisher can be connected to other data, hosted – for example – in WikiData, with the “same as” property and each of them can also be decoded with a JSON-LD data representation.
RELATED ENTITIES: we used the meta tag “mentions” to say which entities are mentioned. In this way, you’ll have a hierarchy or entities where the main one defines the article itself and the other ones are recognized as mentioned on it.
To play around with JSON-LD markup that WordLift created for this article head straight to the JSON-LD Playground.
If you think that knowing SEO means working with semantic HTML and meta fields, you’re missing out. Creating sites as a builder or managing a site as an operator requires you to keep up with the latest techniques in SEO. SEO is changing though and old-school SEO techniques are still rife within the WordPress community.
Those were the topics that Andrea Volpini presented on his latest interview with David Vogelpohl on PressThis! They discuss how the next generation of web developers are helping their sites win in modern SEO. As the CEO of WordLift, Andrea is well positioned to talk about how SEO has changed and what you can do to stay ahead. If your answer to SEO is to add meta fields to the site you build, you need to listen to this episode of PressThis!
What is your WordPress origin story?
I don’t have a proper one 😄 I’ve been into CMS since the early ages of web development. In the late nineties I developed, together with my team, a CMS called Site Manager. At the time it was important to make a Website which could be also stored in a CD-Rom to be sold at news kiosk. But that wasn’t enough, I also wanted something structured, so we implemented custom types and fields and you could define a structure where a content could have fields specific to its nature. But to keep such a custom CMS running took a lot of effort and that’s when I met WordPress and I thought: I don’t need to start from zero, I can extend WordPress to do it. That’s more or less where I started working with WordPress.
Help people understand: what WordLift does for SEO?
WordLiftautomates structured data markup and creates a knowledge graph for your website that is designed to help search engines and virtual assistants (and software agents in general) know what your content is really about. It does more than this but this is the most relevant part.
What do you think about when you think about “old school SEO”?
SEO is really about information retrieval (applied to commercial search engines). Is there a way to make sure a crawler can index my pages at best? How are the results going to be organized once the user starts searching? These are evergreen concepts – one guy publishes content online, another one is (hopefully) looking for that content – in between – there is technologythat links the publisher with his/her audience. Some of the elements of this workflow didn’t really change that much. The first time I “sold” a search engine technology it was called the AltaVista Enterprise Search Engine (this says a lot about my age!). It was for Telecom Italia, AltaVista was top-notch and it could search over 200 different file formats. The crawler would go out and build an index made of all the keywords he could find in a document organized in such a way that I could look for a single keyword or a combination of keywords and I would get a ranked list of results. Indexation is still a big issue in SEO today and yes, it’s pretty old school.
What old school techniques need to die?
Keyword stuffing has been dead for a long time, and still we have tools that check that. Having a traffic light to let you know if the content is SEO optimized doesn’t really make sense – the game is more complex than whatever a traffic light can understand, and being an SEO is really about knowing the language that searchers will use, speaking like them and providing the best possible answer in the entire SERP. What else? Focus keyword doesn’t really exist and tags are completely irrelevant in today’s world but there are things like meta descriptions that a couple of years ago I would have said were useless (as Google is making them by itself) and indeed are still very powerful even in today semantic search world.
What is modern SEO anyway? Have things really changed that much?
Ranking has changed significantly due to machine learning and the work done to help Google understand the search intent. When Ray Kurzweil arrived at Google in 2012 the goal was to help computers understand human language, and a lot has been done in that sense: think about the smart replays that you can now send from your Gmail account to help you respond to the messages that you receive. Modern SEO is really about: 1) rich semantics 2) great content that people read 3) user experience.
Many SEO agencies have switched to basically being content agencies, why?
Great content – yes. Remember that you need to make sure that your content matches the intent of the query and uses similar words and phrases that cover that topic. You also have to make sure to solve the searcher’s problem better than anyone else on page one. So yes great content is “almost” all you need to do.
What role do you see the developer playing in SEO in the future?
Improve data quality. Publish all the data that needs to be published at the right time, using the right licensing term, and in the right format. AI needs data and as a developer, your role is to make sure you have the right infrastructure to manage and publish the data that machines will consume.
Have you seen any other examples of people using AI in their SEO strategy?
Content Recommendations can have a tremendous impact on how people access and consume content online. This is one area where I see AI being used not only by the team working on the CMS but also by SEOs. Can I rankand MarketBrew analyze the search results and using AI models they provide users with data that help them choose, where to go next? To us 🙂 We use natural language processing and linked data to help you rank higher and there are several factors involved in this process.
Search engines use AI to rank sites. Won’t this mean that SEO will be dead?
There is a significant shift in SEO: researches show that CTR on mobile SERP is starting to decrease, the advent of Voice Search is also a paradigm shift. Does this mean that machines are capable of automatically organize human knowledge? Not really. We’re still much behind in terms of what a computer can really do. Humans still have control over the intended behavior of a system (i.e. “I want to sell modern SEO tools”, “I want travelers to book a room in my hotel” and so on) – and knowledge graphs are the best way that humans have to communicate to machines their “intended goal”. SEO right now is a lot about data creation, data quality, and data integration.
What are your future plans for WordLift?
We need to make it super-easy for our users to let their content talk with software agents and personal digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the Google Assistant.
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.
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!
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 Automattic, our friends at XWP (a leading WP developing agency) and Google itself.
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.
Above you can see the metadata from the JSON-LD of a blog post about the Opportunities & challenges for the Arab media industry. See also the canonical page.
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.
Internationalization is a dreamland for every cloud-based business and yet it is the most overwhelming journey you can take. In WordPress, the help of the community and the open source principles behind it make it approachable from the very beginning. Here is our story.
Remember the first time you used WordPress? If you have started using your favorite CMS in your native language, I bet that your first approach to the platform has been easy and smooth, as WordPress certainly is. Otherwise, you may have found yourself confused by common terms used in a technical context, and by new technical terms that you had to learn.
When you start using a new plugin, it’s pretty much the same. Your user experience is better if you can read everything – from the readme to the meta-boxes and buttons – in your own language.
Nevertheless, to reach most of the users you need to use American English first because it’s kind of a lingua franca for anybody who is working on the web.
This is what we did when WordLift 1.0 was first launched in 2015. Until late 2016, the plugin was only available in American English, even if our text analysis already worked in many different languages. Then, as our community of user was getting larger and international, we started to feel the need of translating our plugin. It was crucial to offer a more accessible product, helping our users through their learning curve.
We started with our native language, which is Italian, and as soon as I translated WordLift using GlotPress, I realized that there were many more users from different countries that needed to use WordLift in their own language.
And here is where the community really entered the game and helped us. 😊
The web is a Babel, WordPress and its plugins are polyglot
Today, WordPress multilingual is available in 109 languages – including their locales such as, for example, British, American, and Australian English. 62 languages have the full translation of WordPress, while many of them are constantly in progress. The cool thing is that thousands of people are contributing to the CMS translations, and if your language is not complete yet, you can easily join them and start contributing.
The same goes for plugins. When you install a new plugin, you certainly feel more comfortable if they are in your native language. Polyglots – the group in the WordPress community who is committed to translating WordPress – use to translate plugins and themes, starting from the most popular or from the ones they commonly use.
Thanks to the contributors to WordLift translations ❤️
Nevine Adel from InsideOut Today sent us a picture of her while translating WordLift
Then, our developer Stanimir Stoyanov – who is also a superactive member of the WordPress community, and one of the organizers of the WordCamp Europe 2018 – decided to translate WordLift also in Bulgarian, his native language.
We were really impressed and almost moved when our friends at Nelio Software, enthusiast of WordLift, decided to translate our plugin in Spanish after meeting Gennaro Cuofano at the WordPress meetup in Barcelona. 💙
WordLift will be soon available also in Arabic, thanks to Nevine Adel Abdel Rehim, who works for our sister company in Egypt, InsideOut.Today, and Danish, thanks to our friend Kim Renberg.