Social Voting or Richer Search Results
Last month there were two interesting announcements relating to search. Google’s new +1 button became available for websites, and Schema.org was launched. One of the two is going to have significant implications for search marketing and how the results page will be displayed, and the other is just going to disappear into the ever expanding pile of social sharing buttons sitting at the bottom of almost every page online.
Button versus Standards for Blogger Attention
On launch, the +1 button got the larger share of attention, while the Schema.org project kicked off in relative obscurity. Which is a shame, because it isn’t often that the two major search engines (and Yahoo!) agree on something, sitemaps being the last time. That they have all agreed on a standard for organising information that they will all follow is significant in itself. It is also interesting that their markup has been promoted ahead of WC3′s microdata standards.
Historically each search engine has developed their own markups to create a more semantic search experience, such as Yahoo!’s now defunct Searchmonkey and Google’s microformats. Other services like Google Base and their Maps product also produced the same user experience, by making it easier to organise information in a meaningful way in the results page.
Richer Content in the Search Results
…able to show rich snippets in search results more than ten times as often as when we started two years ago.
And Bing is talking about how:
Consumers benefit from this effort by experiencing much richer search experiences (see example below) across a much broader set of publishers.
The Search Engine as a Portal
As well as making the content on a site easier to categorise, microformat projects like Schema.org will probably also continue the trend towards a more portal-like search experience. With publishers providing more content to be displayed within the search results themselves and search engines facilitating this trend through supporting it in both organic and paid listings, mobile and otherwise, the Search Engine Results Page is as much a destination as content discovery aid.