Last night I had the pleasure to attend my first Meetup with the Vancouver Search Engine Marketing Group organized by Jose Uzcategui and Ani Lopez at the Ceilis Irish Pub on Smithe Street. The scene was set, the beer was cold and preliminary introductions to new friends and contacts were made.
Aaron Bradley presented a “terrific, high level stuff,” in Ani’s own words, on SEO, the Semantic Web and Information Discovery, the full transcript of which can be found on Aaron’s SEO Skeptic blog entry with the same title.
Prior to the Meetup, I had the privilege to come across and read the Introduction to: Linked Data from the semanticweb.com’s website, giving me a refreshing appreciation for structured data and its application in ecommerce.
Bringing Aaron’s presentation and the concept of semantic web home and into context, we admit to far reaching implications of the emerging Web 3.0 on the global information space, where valuable bits of information become interlinked data for public consumption. In ecommerce terms, the possibilities and opportunities are enormous for the Canadian merchant and marketplace.
At the time of this writing, Google can use detailed product information to display rich snippets (for example, price, availability, and review ratings) right on SERPs in the U.S. only. However, Google claims to be “working hard to make them available everywhere.” See Marking up product information from Google Webmaster Tools Help.
Furthermore, Google Product Search is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Japan, and China. See About Merchant Center in Google Merchant Center.
Are we already on the move in Canada to leverage our product inventory and shopping carts online for deployment when the technology becomes available to us on Google.ca? What are we doing to prepare for making our shopping rich snippets appear on Google SERPs?
Perhaps now is a good time to plan for and scale the required learning curve and deployment of work in rich, agile iterations with our teams from assessing existing database structures and content management systems (CMS) for adaptation to the new RDFa semantic web standards to reworking our SEO strategies for Landing Pages with embedded URIs of keyword-rich product items, making them more visible and readily available for purchase by consumers online.
As we realign our product categorization according to acceptable ontological definitions, we may consider the availability of product items in multiple categories while ensuring that canonicalization and duplicate content issues are prevented as upstream as possible from the CMS application itself.
“Of all these pages with identical content, this page is the most useful. Please prioritize it in search results.”
In this case, the original product item belonging to the primary category among others will serve as the canonical version or the authority for that product item. All other occurrences of the same content of that product or non-canonical versions appearing in other categories will defer to the canonical version of the page. Add the <link> element with the attribute rel=”canonical” and absolute path of the canonical version of the page for the attribute href=”http://www.example.com/absolute-path-to-canonical-version-of-product-page.cfm” to the <head> section of the non-canonical pages. See About rel=”canonical” from Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools provides documentation on the Product Type Attribute, including the Google product taxonomy, a tree of categories that describe product families, and text/XML formatting. Google also supports hProduct (microformats) and GoodRelations product properties, listing equivalents for the Google Product vocabulary.
Eventually, the ideal scenario from Aaron’s presentation will occur indeed upon proper implementation of structured and interlinked data on the web.
“If you have a profile in FOAF (friend of a friend) at a University Entomology department, follow insect enthusiasts on Twitter, and subscribe to Bug Girl’s Blog, one day Google might never sully your search results with pictures of guys in white throwing wooden balls around when you type ‘cricket’ in the search box.”
How are you using the semantic web for ecommerce in both organic SEO and PPC strategies? I would love to hear from you on this thread, particularly from our Canadian colleagues. Feel free to leave a reply below.
Filed under: Agile Stories, Business Transformation, Ecommerce, Emotional Intelligence, International Search Marketing, Internet Marketing, Semantic Web, SEO, Software Development, Web 3.0