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3 Types of Semantic Markup to Enhance your SEO

In our last blog, we referenced how semantic markups within your website’s HTML code could help impact your company’s page rank performance and ability to stand out on search results pages. If you are a business owner or the website’s point person, it’s important to be familiar with the concept of Semantic Markup to ensure it is part of its development and ongoing maintenance.

Three markup types that are relevant to most blogs are authorship, video, and events. Some markup types are easier to implement than others and the markup types you end up using will depend on your content.  Here’s a high-level overview of which ones should be added to your HTML code to achieve improved visibility.

1.      Authorship Markup

This semantic markup gives you an authorship-rich snippet to stand out on a search results page by displaying your picture and name.  In order for authorship to work properly, you’ll need the following fundamental pieces in place.  If any of these elements are missing, authorship markup won’t work.

  • A Google+ profile that includes your real name and a clear picture of your face.
  • Original content you created under your real name (matching the name on your Google+ account) on a page by itself and with a byline that includes “by (author name).” Don’t use “by” and then a person’s name anywhere else on the page, as it really confuses Google.
  • A listing of blog(s), including your own, that you’ve contributed to on your Google+ profile.

 2.      Video Markup

The video-rich snippet is big and eye-catching. Even if your video content is hosted onsemantic markup YouTube or another video sharing site and you’re just embedding the video on your blog, you can still mark up the video information on your page and potentially get the snippet in search results.

3.      Events Markup

Events markup can boost the visibility of your events.  For an event to receive the events rich snippet, it must meet three criteria:

  • Take place on a specific date in the future.
  • Be free of any kind of promotional offer or pricing information in the event name.
  • Have a specific location.

If your event meets those requirements, it’s just a matter of marking up every piece of information about the event that appears on the page.

  • Format the starting and ending dates and times in ISO date format so Google can easily tell that’s what they are.
  • If you have a single page that lists your events (like a calendar with event teasers), link each event to its own separate page that provides more detail (including an event-related photo).
  • You can markup both your main events page as well as the individual event pages.

It’s important to keep in mind that as you assess the best semantic markup to use for your site, you stick to current web design best practices. Use the markup that makes the most sense for your brand and your website.

To track the effectiveness of your efforts, document a baseline of your search rank before you implement semantic markup, then record your ranking and conversion rates over time.  If you aren’t seeing the results you expected, use Google webmaster tools to troubleshoot your issues, adjust your markups accordingly, and/or implement another type until you notice a positive impact on your rankings and conversion rates.

Semantic markup is not a silver bullet or applicable for all situations. However, not testing it to increase site conversions is akin to throwing away potential sales.