Lucky Boost

Traffic & Conversions Boost

Schema Spamming & Garbage fondue

| 2 Comments

On June 2nd 2011 the 3 most popular search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing announced that they will be supporting schema protocol for structured data markup, similar to the announcement of supporting the sitemap protocol. This allows the search engines to understand the data better because it provides the exact context of the data.

Examples:

  • Local search using place – now nobody will miss your address
  • Google recipe search or Bing recipe search (there is no direct link to the page without a search term – Go Figure) now you know if you post a recipe on your blog Google or Bing will pick it up as a recipe.
  • Bing event search – because websites use the event markup it is easy for the engines to pick up the event type, location, date and time so you could search for a concert in a city tonight or next week.

Just like everything else we have those that choose to abuse the tool. For example, a colleague of mine showed me this SERP the other day of a search in Google UK for the term payday loans. He pointed out the stars in the rich snippets and the number of reviews. When we looked further to find the sources of the ratings, we found no source, meaning  the companies rated themselves!!!

In the middle of 2010 Google announced that they will add to AdWords Seller rating which helps increase your click through rate.

The main difference between the two cases is that the ratings showed in the ads are an average of all ratings Google collected around the web about your product/ site. This means it accurately portrays a true rating as opposed to a misleading score of just rating yourself and it appearing on your ad. But to appear in your organic results it does not seem to make any difference who gave you that rating.

Now let’s go back and take a look at the SERP again. There are now 4 sites that have ratings in their results (as you can see in the image now the SERP is different)

If we take a look at the bottom of octopusloans.co.uk home page we can see “Octopus Loans is ranked 9.8 out of 10. Based on 1452 user reviews.” With no source, the html makeup for this line is:

If we go looking at the home page of paydayloans.co.uk we will find near the bottom of the page “paydayloans.co.uk is ranked 9.8 out of 10, based on 12 user reviews.” Here user reviews is a link to their review page.

If you take a look at the review page you definitely will find reviews but no ratings (not even in the html code, I checked).

On the other hand, quickquid.co.uk/payday-loans.html has at the end of the main content of the page “QuickQuid Payday Loans rated
4.2/5 based on 83 seller reviews
Reviews as on March 21, 2012

Reference: http://www.google.co.uk/products/seller?zmi=quickquid.co.uk

The mark up of this looks like:

Now quickquid has a link to the source of the ratings (the same link they have in their PPC ad) which is powered by Google and a lot harder to manipulate, especially with 83 reviews.

This brings me to suspect that the other companies really did rate themselves if only one site actually shows where the data is from.

 

Experiment

So it looks like there is no problem to put whatever I want in to schema markup and get the search engines to believe it.

So I put together a recipe for “Garbage fondue” (um… very yummy…). Will it appear in Google’s or Bing’s recipe search results?

Garbage fondue

Author: Lucky Boost
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Dip your favorite fruit into this rich and repulsive to sicken garbage fondue. Best for a first dinner with your future in-laws.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup spoiled milk
  • ¼ cup old wine that turned in to vinegar
  • ½ cup gray water
  • 300g dark charcoal, finely chopped
  • 250g packet of cat food
Instructions
  1. Heat 1/2 cup spoiled milk with ¼ cup vinegar in a big old rusty garbage can over a low flame until mixture comes to a low boil with a heavy smell. Remove the can from the fire and add ½ cup gray water, then whisk charcoal together with the cream. Put can back on to fire until it boils and add all the cat food at once. Let simmer for 5 minutes before serving.
  2. Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot or set the mixing bowl on a rack above a small lit bad scented candle. If fondue becomes too thick, stir in reserved gray water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.
Notes

Left over rotten fruit, orange peels, banana peels, apple cores and pear steams.

 

2 Comments

  1. Nice post… wanted to check the Schema test but this post is not indexed yet 🙁

    The way Google is accepting Schema, especially the reviews is very disturbing at the moment. This should only work via being connected to some kind of official rating system – like the Google reviews mentioned in the post. Soon every result in the SERPS will have 5 stars next to it.

    I know Google have asked ‘Schema Spamming’ to be reported.. but really this needs some form of Google led change, at least for reviews, other types of mark-up are potentially less problematic.

  2. I’m going to try this recipe!!
    Who came up with this one??
    Ha Ha..

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.