Semantic SEO: More Answers, Less Clicks

Dean Cruddace

Jun 13, 20141 min read
Semantic SEO

As an SEO, reverse engineering an algorithm is no fun. I don't do it, it does not appeal to me and I never want to do it. What does interest me though, is when new features in the wild appear. It gets my attention.

I recently caught a discussion on Google+ through Collin Davis & Edwin Jonk. It highlighted another instance where a Google SERP was scraping making best use of information from elsewhere, namely surfacing info right within the SERP itself.

This one mainly caught my attention because I did not remember it being part of Pete Meyers' 85 different SERPs. The closest it came was being similar to the medical answerbox (slide 50).

This one is a little different though, and on occasion it comes with a friend; namely, a paid search ad. How does it all work? 

Semantics, structured data and, intriguingly, sometimes no structured markup at all. If you are not up to speed on strings and things then it won't hurt to start getting your head around it.

So how does it work? Or less precisely, what's triggering it?

What? Why? How? When? seem to be the triggers, so I dug around to see if I could replicate it. This is the absolutely non-scientific-in-any-way look at a few variations.

How to Make Your Lipstick Last Longer

Query: https://www.google.co.uk/search?&q=how+to+make+your+lipstick+last+longer&pws=0

ebay-how-to-lipstick

Contributing page

Schema: Schema.org

How to Make Spaghetti Bolognese

Query: https://www.google.co.uk/search?&q=how+to+make+spaghetti+bolognese&pws=0

how-to-bolgnese-serp

Contributing page

Another from the BBC

What are the Ingredients in a Full English

Query: https://www.google.co.uk/search?&q=what+are+the+ingredients+in+a+full+english&pws=0

full-english-ingredients-serp

Contributing page

BBC Schema: DublinCore

How to Make Pancakes

Query: https://www.google.ie/#pws=0&q=how+to+make+pancakes

how-to-pancakes-ie-serp

Contributing page

Schema: None

I would love to hear from those sites or even you (drill into your landing pages within Google Analytics) who see a reduction of click through because of similar searches against your own content.

I am resisting all temptation to turn into an angry, ranting SEO man. Instead, I encourage you to look beyond your keyword wish lists. Search has evolved into so much more than pinning your dreams onto a short list of vanity terms. They are not gone and forgotten, they are now structured.

Go and hook into semantic search; learn and evolve.

Without trying to turn this post into ego bait, where to start?

These guys are the ones I stalk for semantic information.

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