In the “Photo” session, Chris will present a number of strategic methods for using photographic images to increase companies’ channel distribution potential and to achieve higher website rankings. Images are perhaps considered Google’s second-most important asset, since Google places links to their image search vertical in second slot, directly after their main keyword web search. As such, effective use of images can be cultivated to help push a site’s performance up into the next level.
In both the “Local Search” and “Structured Data” sessions, Chris will speak on methods for using semantic markup to improve performance in search engines.
Chris helped to pioneer the use of semantic markup for the purpose of search marketing and was likely the first to specifically recommend it for SEO and Local SEO as an optimization tactic, based upon his knowledge in the development of local search technology from his work at Superpages.com. Those recommendations actually predated adoption of microformats by both Yahoo! and Google’s map search engines (they initially used the markup in the presentation of their own business listings and then later programmed their search engines to specifically look for the markup in the webcode of other websites as they crawled and interpreted them).
Chris was later one of the earliest developers accepted into Yahoo!’s innovative SearchMonkey program which enabled webmasters to create applications for customized presentation of listings in search results — SearchMonkey applications were based upon semantic markup (Microformats and RDFa) and interpretation of webpages based upon identified elements in the DOM (Document Object Model). Three of Chris’s applications were approved and promoted into the public gallery for SearchMonkey applications.
Microformats, RDFa, and SearchMonkey eventually paved the way for the search engines’ collaboration upon Schema.org — a common vocabulary for structured data. In many ways, the Schema.org protocol satisfied Chris’s public plea for a common standard for formatting business data, published in 2007. The Google, Bing and Yandex search engines all now support the protocol, and they can all display search results listings in an enhanced manner (Google calls this “Rich Snippets” which Bing calls these “Visually Rich Search Results”), depending upon the type of markup. Data indicates that the listing enhancements can increase clickthrough rates and visits.
So, attend SMX East for Chris Silver Smith’s latest strategic discoveries in leveraging images and structured data for improved online marketing performance!