Written by Jason Dojc on November 18, 2014
in Digital Marketing

Have you noticed that you’re getting more than just search results when you type into Google lately? Type “Leafs schedule” (or substitute Leafs for any other sports team), and under the paid searches you get…the Leafs’ schedule. Type “calories” after almost any food item and you get…the actual calorie count of the food. While we’re on the topic of food, have you noticed that your recent searches for recipes now show results with a thumbnail, prep time, serving size, and/or calorie counts attached to them?

Welcome to an SEO world where relevance goes well beyond the keywords you use on your site or even the number of links to your site. It’s now all about how you contribute to”The Knowledge Graph“. Think of the knowledge graph as the giant brain behind Google that doesn’t just serve up relevant web pages, but now tries to figure out the answer to what you’re searching for.

The way you contribute to the knowledge graph is through pieces of code on your website called microdata. Microdata gives the knowledge graph context for the content. In a recipe, for example, that means pointing out that “250 cal” is a calorie count and “25 min” is the prep time. It means for a retailer that 8:00 – 6:00 must be designated as the “store hours” and that “(555) 555-4444” must be designated as the “phone number”.

SEO has evolved from creating keyword rich content, to creating truly relevant content, to creating relevant and socially shared content. Now, your content is rewarded if can contribute to the knowledge graph. So for the best SEO performance, not only should you be creating great content that’s socially shared, you should also be creating usable data snippets.

What’s next beyond the knowledge graph? The next phase of search ranking will be allowing elements of the physical world to be searched. Google is working on a project called “The Physical Web” where smart devices are encouraged to add a URL so that they can transmit relevant information via search (e.g. bus stops equipped with a smart device that tells you when the bus will come when you search for it, which eliminates the need for a transportation timing app).

As Google continues to push the boundaries of search functionality, it’s vital that brands incorporate these changes into their digital marketing strategy. Try to include microdata into your digital content, because not only will it push your Google ranking higher, it will also provide real, valuable information to your customers.

Jason Dojc is a Senior Digital Strategist at Ariad Communications.

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