The Search Marketing Expo in New York, also known as SMX East, wound up festivities on September 15th after three days of speakers and programs that bill themselves as the “World’s Leading Search Engine Marketing Conference.”
SMX, produced by the fine folks at Search Engine Land, did not disappoint. They delivered an incredibly-comprehensive educational and networking experience for hundreds of search marketers, techies and business professionals from all over the globe.
The programming was chock-full of essential tidbits – almost too much to mention, even in a series of blog articles – but there were some interesting takeaways that absolutely bear mentioning:
1. “Google +1s not influencing search rankings,” said Tiffany Oberoi, Software Engineer at Google. This was a hot item that surfaced in the Making Data From Google Webmaster Central & Bing Webmaster Tools Actionable panel.
Google steadfastly asserts that they do not currently use +1s for ranking purposes, despite what numerous others have said. Ms. Oberoi, who works in search quality, showed the attendees the +1 metrics in Google Webmaster Tools and reassured all that they are not a ranking factor at the moment. Could this change? Certainly. We shall wait and see.
2. “Microformats are the game changer in allowing your content to be found,” said Topher Kohan, SEO Coordinator at CNN. Mr. Kohan addressed the crowd at the Schema.org, Rel=Author & Meta Tagging For 2012 panel and gave listeners a highly-informed look at the history of microformats and a look at their expected future.
Microformats are a semantic markup that has been in XHTML for years. It allows site owners and content developers to utilize a library of mark-up elements that address site content and tell the engines and bots more about what the content is actually all about. The really great aspect of semantic mark-up is that it allows the site owners to make content available to as many possible sources – creating even more access to content than ever before.
The big player in microformats is, of course, Schema.org, an initiative launched on June 2nd of 2011 by Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to introduce the concept of the semantic web to websites and create a common vocabulary for structured data markup on our pages. The official Google blog post on the Schema.org initiative states that “Schema.org introduces schemas for more than a hundred new categories, including movies, music, organizations, TV shows, products, places and more. As webmasters add this markup to their sites, search engines can develop richer search experiences.”
In other words (and as an example direct from the Schema.org site), you may have an item on your site about the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar that was directed by James Cameron. By using the itemscope element, you can specify that the HTML contained in the <div>…</div> block is about Avatar the “Movie” and not about the avatar concept in Hinduism or Avatar the Swedish death metal band.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Movie”>
<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
Once microformats are explained in a way that makes it easy to understand how these elements are further addressing content on sites, it becomes simple enough to understand.
Join us next week for pt. 2 of the Search Marketing Expo East wrap-up.