Semantic markup is becoming more and more popular in conjunction with large scale SEO. Adding rich snippets to send rich signals to alert search engines as to the relevancy of your content − whatever vertical they may appear in − is not only a wise move, but an SEO best practice.
Included below is an illustrative guide highlighting currently available Chrome extensions, which you can leverage to both test on-site markup as well as expose any information regarding your competitors.
An example is illustrated below, and what follows is a guide to getting the information.
Installing The Chrome Extensions For Microdata & RDFa
The result set above, is merely to pique your interest, as an initial look at the current Chrome extensions/apps appear somewhat boring. Let’s take these apparently trivial apps for a ride and see what they can do! An additional FYI – they are all free.
To start off, I just checked out what I have installed in Chrome, and as a caveat here, I am only going to write about tools I have experience with and trust. As a first step, go to the Chrome store and type in the word “microdata.”
You can see my results below; I installed all four microdata extensions. This assumes you have Chrome installed as a browser.
I did the same for RDFa, which is illustrated below. Now, let’s take these tools out for a run to how you can leverage them.
If you have not previously installed the tools, simply select the blue “Add to Chrome” and you are ready to go. It is that easy.
Using The Microdata Tools For Verification
There are many ways you can leverage these tools that will enable you to understand the power of semantic markup, and ultimately semantic search; but, let’s take a sample case in terms of verifying your own markup.
Since you now have the tools installed on Chrome, just go to the page you are interested in. Merely for demonstration purposes, I selected an item page for a red dress from Macy’s.
Now, notice the little guys you have installed popping up in the top right corner. They are activated whenever the type of semantic markup they are defined for appears in the page. I enlarged them and added them as a display on the left hand side of the image for clarity.
Assuming you were working on such a webpage, you can then select any of the icons above and get the appropriate result set. You can verify right on the page that your microdata or Facebook Open Graph information is implemented as you would expect it to be by the results shown below.
Nothing too exciting so far, but at least you can test your markup on the page you are working on in an efficient manner.
Use The Tools To See How Competitors Are Using Semantic Markup
Assume now that you would like to see what someone else is doing in order to better enhance your own pages. Perhaps you are interested in television sets and want to sell to sell TVs in your store, such as the JVC 42″ Class LCD 1080p 60Hz HDTV.
The next step is to get the details of what you need, or examine someone else’s implementation.
Go to a webpage for that television set, and check the semantic markup on their page. The results are illustrated below.
You can clearly see the wealth and richness of the information displayed, which could possibly assist you in marking up your own pages. Or, merely use for casual research when doing shopping of your own. I only illustrated results for microdata and Facebook Open Graph information, but feel free to try the others on your own.
GoodRelations & RDFa
There is only one aspect we have not looked at in detail, and that is the ability to obtain information with pages marked up with GoodRelations vocabulary using RDFa.
There are several interesting aspects to explore here. On the page selected below, when looking at an item page, only the RDF icons are now active (none for microdata). For the benefit of readability, I enlarged the active icons on the left hand side of the page.
Also activated, and enlarged on the diagram is a GoodRelations extension called the “GoodRelations Amazon Checker.” This extension allows you to check whether a product or offering, as defined by the GoodRelations ontology, is available on Amazon. And yes, it works.
Selecting those blue links within the orange box will take you to the same product on Amazon itself. A novel use of semantic Web techniques, and I’m sure it is not going to be the last innovative mechanism leveraging semantic Web type technology.
The result of selecting the link is displayed on the right hand side of the figure below: an Amazon page for the product, or an Amazon page with similar results.
Last, but not least, I wanted to illustrate the resulting graph when selecting the green turtle. I could go into that in great detail, along with many interesting use cases, but that is a topic for another article.
Rich Snippets Send Rich Signals
In concluding, I will simply say there are many uses of these applications/extensions that leverage semantic markup by consuming it right on the webpage itself. I listed three or four use cases above (from debugging schema.org implementation or Facebook Open Graph implementation and obtaining competitive intelligence information to a novel usage of leveraging GoodRelations and Amazon referrals).
Since these tools are free, they are extremely useful if you want to either implement or leverage semantic markup or even understand its capabilities in a deeper fashion.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.