According to wikipedia, “A data model (or datamodel) is an abstract model that organizes elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another and to properties of the real world entities. For instance, a data model may specify that the data element representing a car be composed of a number of other elements which, in turn, represent the color and size of the car and define its owner.”Structured Data is similar in the way your local hardware or grocery store organizes their products in aisles and shelves. All have ontology and taxonomy!Click To Tweet
You can skip down to the answer below. If, you already are familiar with Web 3.0 Semantics
To my knowledge, there are around four maybe five different code formats that markup structured data on the web. I will briefly summarize the ones that might be relevant to your web projects.
This structure found its roots back in 2007. Later, adopted by search giants such as google around 2008 to aggregate data about recipes, articles, maps and such. It is still widely used in WordPress free themes. If you really want to delve into web programming using microdata formats, I suggest reading the paperback book.
As far as I can tell, microdata format began around the same time that google adopted microformat? This is still back in the day of using Web 2.0 and HTML4. Final adoption came in 2014 with the graduation of Web 3.0 and HTML5 with semantic structuring tags. I believe it to be best practice to combine POSH HTML5 with microdata. What POSH means is simply using HTML5 Structure tags alongside data vocabulary markup from schema.org.
<head>...</head>. This also alleviates technical difficulties for web designers who may know HTML5 and nothing about data vocabulary markup. Even seven years later, it isn’t something that is wholly adopted by many content management systems or shopping carts. See my example for organizational schema markup on github.
According to their website:
“The Open Graph protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook.
While many different technologies and schemas exist and could be combined together, there isn’t a single technology which provides enough information to richly represent any web page within the social graph. The Open Graph protocol builds on these existing technologies and gives developers one thing to implement. Developer simplicity is a key goal of the Open Graph protocol which has informed many of the technical design decisions.” Data aggregators who use OGP include Google, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress and Twitter to name a few.
Take a few moments to study the organizing of products through shelving aisles and shelf flags. Notice the signs above the aisles as well! In this context, Aisle 5 is the category of what data scientist call a domain. This domain is a grocery store. Don’t be confused by domain names that point to IP addresses, though! You have ontology classification in various sections. “OH! There’s those instant soups!” And, “instant soups” is an entity. This is a data model! Each shelf is a descendent of its ancestor, aisle 5. Each section [shelf] is a subcategory that stores products.
You will not find a shelf or section merely named Helman’s because that is a name given to a brand! Twelve years ago, I would have made the same mistake. Because, I had no concept of what is and what isn’t ontology and taxonomy. I was also a bit rusty with my business writing for the semantic web and grammar syntax! These things DO matter for both your reader and for artificial intelligence.Structured Data isn't the magical cure-all! You need good title and content and relevant context and most certainly good grammatical prowse.Click To Tweet
So this is your recipe! Use titles that include keywords google understands. Try your hand at https://trends.google.com/trends/ and when a keyword term comes up as a topic, you’ve hit gold. Enter the term: salad dressing and you’ll get a topic. Sprinkle a few in your title and content body. Make a list of terms describing the entity and input that also into google trends and try to use synonyms! It loves it when you do both! Try to use entities and keywords in headings and create named anchor tags. This makes is much simpler for search to digest a section relevant to a search query and provide an answer.
Make sure all of your images include a descriptive alt title and do NOT use comma separated values. Use complete sentences. Be sure to also include citations and external links. The basics in journalism require sources and those sources should be verifiable, right?
Structured Data Markup speaks a special language to other machines on the web. This organized set of data objects explains the all the objects you were writing about. This is why you should consider all of this a tool. Every carpenter has a toolbelt. You should have one also. It will only help you boost what you’ve already written about. IF you follow a good recipe! I invite you to leave comments and corrections and any of your ideas in the comments section or on social media. If you share externally, leave a comment and ask me to respond over yonder. I cannot promise immediate reaction. But, I certainly will try my best!
Selected Reading For Semantic SEO
- Can Schema Tags boast SEO rankings for a website?
- The Future of Structured Data as a Ranking Signal
- E-Commerce Site Structure for Semantic Search
- SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps that Will Help Your Business Grow
- Microdata Format In Code
- HTML5 Specifications
- New HTML5 Structuring Tags
- Data Vocabulary Markup
- What Is JSON+LD