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Use of Semantic Markup to Improve Search Results: Introduction

by Fahad Saleem

Use of Semantic Markup to Improve Search Results: Introduction

Everyone loves standing out and everyone loves being preferred over others. This race becomes really intense when it comes to search results and search engine optimization so everyone wants to learn ways to stand out and be popular with search engines. Some people try to do it through Black Hat SEO and other tactics that deceive the search engines into believing their content deserves to be indexed high. Fortunately search engines are becoming smarter every day so one does not have to worry about these black sheep. One of the right ways to stand out among others and increase probability of high indexing on search engines is Semantic Markups and we’ll have a brief introduction to Semantic Markups today.

What they really are:

Semantic markup means telling search engine the context of your content. It focuses on meaning or relevance more than on matching words. It is XHTML designed to convey the actual meaning of your content rapidly and accurately. It will help the search engine index your content much more easily and rapidly than usual. You can use HTML tags to deliver meaningful information. For example telling about author of the content, category of the content and things used in paragraphs like telephone numbers or addresses can be mentioned specifically (that what they are).

semantic 1

An example of use of semantic markup techniques is shown above. Many links are given when you search for “Social Media Marketing” but one most likely to get clicked has a picture of author and information about number of Google+ Circles he is in. In a later part you will learn how to make your content look different and better than others like this.

How They Work:

As you know HTML and CSS tell your browser how to display your content on web, there must be something that tells browser what actually your content is about. That something is Microdata and data classification. Let me give you an example from Webmaster Guidelines.

code 1

Now have a look at the same Bob Smith introduction example marked up with Microdata.

code 2

So here we have specified exactly what each item is.

What NOT-to-do:

This idea might be tempting but do NOT use semantic markup to trick search engine into believing a thing is something else, if it’s not. Search engines have their algorithms and doing this can get you penalized for cloaking.  Same goes for invisible markups or any other data visible to search engine but not to the user, leading to false indexing.

semantic 2


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