Google’s Rich Snippets: A Rallying Call for Structured Data

June 13, 2009

(ChattahBox)—-Google’s recent launch of “Rich Snippets,” an updated version of its current snippets of explanatory content, may very well propel the idea of a Semantic Web closer to reality, as webmasters discover the benefits of structured data embedded in their web pages.

Google rankings are the keystone for a website’s success and simple SEO optimization is no longer enough. Website owners now need to become instant experts on such terms, as ontology, markup formats and structured data annotations.

Technical prognosticators love to wax poetic about a future world of a fully integrated Web 3.0, where an army of digital software agents scours the web, interpreting web content and feeding it back to us. And that’s just the beginning. The next generation of the Semantic Web, would act like a personal assistant, “learning” about our likes, dislikes and browsing habits, which would lead to personalizing search results.

Think of George Jetson’s computer, R.U.D.I that not only is able to anticipate George’s needs, but also has a human personality to boot. OK, this analogy is a bit far fetched, but the whole development of a Semantic Web or a Web 3.0, is still in its infancy and who knows what it would eventually develop into.

Developing a Web 3.0 won’t be an easy task. The vast web contains about one trillion distinct URLs and Google is only capable of indexing less than 5 percent of the web’s massive content.

Google’s development of Rich Snippets is just the beginning. As described on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Rich Snippets are “a new presentation of snippets that applies Google’s algorithms to highlight structured data embedded in web pages.” Sounds simple enough, but it would require webmasters to recode their pages to include markup formats and standard annotations.

But incorporating structured data into web pages could provide a huge benefit down the road, as it becomes more commonplace and Google continues to utilize markup data in its search algorithms. Currently, Google supports multiple encodings, such as variations of microformat and RDFa encodings.

Instead of becoming bogged down in an argument of microformat vs. RDFa, Google instead is focusing on a common vocabulary of “the language of object types, object properties, and property types that enable structured data to be understood by different applications.” The search engine is beginning to compile a list of commonly used vocabularies, such as vCard and hReview types, which are supported by Google.

Google plans to roll out its new Rich Snippet service on a limited basis, so far limiting it to supporting data about reviews and people. But as more webpages become embedded with structured data in a standard format, the concept will be expanded.

Google’s limited experience with Rich Snippets to date, shows that providing more useful and relevant information from webpages in search results, leads to users clicking through more often.

To ease the eventual transition into a web of integrated structured date, Google is providing information on structured data annotations.

Google is also encouraging webmasters interested in participating in the Rich Snippets service to sign up with the search engine.


Comments

2 Responses to “Google’s Rich Snippets: A Rallying Call for Structured Data”

  1. | London Riches on June 13th, 2009 3:50 pm

    […] Google’s Rich Snippets: A Rallying Call for Structured Data – Chattahbox.com(ChattahBox)—-Google’s recent launch of “Rich Snippets,” an updated version of its current snippets of explanatory content, may very well propel the idea of a Semantic Web closer to reality, as webmasters discover the benefits of structured […]

  2. Google’s Rich Snippets: A Rallying Call for Structured Data - Chattahbox.com « Inovacio on June 13th, 2009 5:30 pm

    […] 13 Jun 2009 16:50:00 GMTGoogle’s Rich Snippets: A Rallying Call for Structured Data – Chattahbox.com(ChattahBox)—-Google’s recent launch of “Rich Snippets,” an updated version of its current […]

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