How Web Retailers Can Profit With Semantic SEO

Semantic SEO is a fairly new Web marketing tactic that combines search engine optimization and semantic Web technology. Semantic SEO includes a focus on artificial intelligence to understand a user’s intent (i.e., the meaning of the query) in addition to the reliance on text, keywords and links in search algorithms. I wrote before about using structured markup in How Retailers Can Improve Product Visibility Using Structured Markup.

A couple weeks ago in E-Commerce SEO Using Just Got A Lot More Granular, Aaron Bradley wrote that Google had integrated e-commerce schemas from GoodRelations into, explaining how that impacts and benefits retailers by significantly increasing “the number of classes and properties available for e-commerce websites.”

Importance Of Structured Data

That means now, more than ever before, it’s important for retailers to put a renewed focus on the vocabularies and syntax for structured data. As explained, above, structured data sends detailed information about the meaning of your webpage content to the search engines and other data consumers in a way that can be easily processed by computers.

While there are dozens of vocabularies available, there are only two that predominantly affect retail. The most important is the GoodRelations ontology, followed by the Open Graph protocol. Henceforth, we will focus on GoodRelations.

The two most popular syntaxes are RDFa, used in the GoodRelations ontology, and Microdata, used in the hierarchy.

Vocabularies and syntax for structured data can be summed up as semantic markup.

Semantic SEO involves the injection of semantic markup into webpages to enhance the meaning of your domain and your pages so they can be easily processed by machines, e.g., computers. As a result, these machines permit search engines to provide users with better answers to their queries.

I’ve been recommending GoodRelations ontology for retail since early 2010 and believe it’s now mandatory to include Semantic SEO as an SEO best practice, and here’s why.

All Your Business Data & Digital Content Become Easily Accessible

Your business data include: rich-media video content, product reviews and ratings, location and contact information, business specialty details, special offers, product information, medical data, and the list goes on. These data are:

  • Accessible to machine-readable search engines, web applications, in car navigation systems, tablets, mobile devices, Apple maps, SIRI, Yelp maps and all computers, as well as being consumed by Linked Open Data
  • Semantic markup presents your business data like chocolate to Search Engines; they love it and eat it up!
  • Search engines understand it and know how to aggregate it for a better User Experience
  • Search Engines use structured data to display and boost CTR in the SERPs

Google Supports GoodRelations Vocabulary

Back in July 2011, Google announced support for GoodRelations. There has been preliminary evidence that search results with respective extensions get a 30% higher click-through-rate (CTR). When you add semantic markup, search engines will use that information to enhance the rendering of your page directly in the SERP.

GoodRelations is a powerful vocabulary for publishing all the details of your products and services in a way that is friendly to search engines, mobile apps, and browsers. By adding RDFa to your Web content, you provide potential customers all the features, services and benefits of doing business with you; then, your customer’s computers extract and present your information with ease. Search engines love to aggregate this information.

GoodRelations makes it easy for restaurants, hotels, rental car companies, and retailers to send daily offers, operating hours, and menu cards directly to a huge number of different smartphone applications. There’s no need to prepare individual feeds for each application that you want to support.

Where Do You Start?

It is well known by now that Mobile is crucial to Web retail. Mobile is Local, and Local is one of the most misunderstood and under-rated search tactic. Looking under the hood, most retailers fall short in several areas of Local and Semantic SEO.

The first place to start is to change your Store Locator and Mobile Store Locator. Next steps include the injection of Local SEO best practices, Maps Optimization and IYP Link Optimization.

Bill Connard, Rio SEO Senior Director Product Development says, “When applying these important automated local SEO techniques to local search focus, you can expect to dominate and achieve multiple page-one positions in the SERPs.” To get top results for clients, Bill is injecting [Place] and [Local Business] Microdata on all client websites.

Optimize First, Then Markup Your Data

Once you have collected, optimized and marked-up all of your local business data, you’re ready to markup your products with GoodRelations. It’s only logical that we first organize and optimize local business data first, bridging the online digital and in-store physical storefronts.

Once all the digital and physical storefronts are synched-up, search engines and Information Services are consuming the same data, known as “data fidelity.” Data fidelity creates trust and authority, which is rewarded with multiple page-one positions in the SERPs.

Adding GoodRelations semantic markup to your pages will enhance your page-one listings with increased click-through rates (CTR). For more details about using RDFa, go to the GoodRelations Community Wiki, where you can find information about the GoodRelations vocabulary, an ontology for publishing e-commerce information that computers, mobile applications, and search engines can understand.

Retail Takeaways

Using semantic markup can get you better visibility in the SERPs and a 30% higher CTR. The GoodRelations vocabulary is an accepted Web standard for publishing e-commerce information that computers, mobile apps and search engines understand. Organizing and optimizing for Local and Mobile is a first-step must. Adding structured markup after optimizing for Local can lead to higher visibility and profits for Web retailers.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | | Search & Retail


About The Author: is Managing Partner at PB Communications LLC. Specializing in SaaS solutions for Enterprise Store Locator/Finders, Semantic/Organic/Local/Mobile and SEO Diagnostic Audits for increasing online and in-store foot traffic.

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  • Jack Sperry

    Great article Paul. Do you know of any retailers taking advantage of semantic SEO?

  • eCommerce

    This new way of SEO is not popular now but, I am sure it will be in near future as the use of smartphones, tablets have been risen and added more people to be online using these devices.

  • Tejash D Mehta

    Hi Paul,

    I must say that this is by far one of the most useful article i have come across in recent times. Details are insightful. Thanks for sharing


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