SEO improvements with Google Data Highlighter?

Semantic enhancements and structured data on websites helps to improve your SEO. Usually you use Microformats, Microdata and RDFa/Lite for it but you (or your developers) have to learn the syntax markup and vocabularies first. Now, Google added the Data Highlighter to the webmaster tools: a point-and-click tool that helps you to “show Google patterns of structured data on your website without modifying your pages.”

Google loves structured data because they use it to get more information about your content, better understanding of you content could improve your ranking in search engines. Google pushed a lot of initiatives to invite website owners to create more structured data:

All these initiatives depends on webmasters and developers who are able to add special markup to their pages. The Data Highlighter now “improves” that process because you can use a point-and-click tool to describe your actual content, no markup additions are necessary.

This makes things easier but could harm the web ecosystem because if you use the Data Highlighter to describe your content then only Google knows this description. This may help you to rank your site better in Google but it puts you in a situation with strong dependencies on Google. No other search engine provider like Bing, Yahoo or Yandex can use that structured information, no other indepentent tool can see those semantic enhancements. Second, if you change your site structure and markup you need to perform the Data Highlighter tool again on your website, even if it still contains the same data.

Test and use the Data Highlighter (be aware: it currently only works with events! Do not define your shop items as events :) ), use it to learn what Structured Data is and how it can help to improve your business, but please don’t rely only on this tool. Learn how to add structured data and semantic enhancements directly to your website (or just pay someone who knows how to do it), long term this will perform better.


PubwichFork 2.0 released

I promised that I release the final PubwichFork 2.0 version while CLT2012 (Chemnitzer Linuxtage) and even if the CLT2012 is almost finished (the last sessions just ended): PubwichFork 2.0 is here!

What is PubwichFork?

PubwichFork is a PHP web application that aggregates your latest Social Web & Social Media content across multiple service websites (e.g. your Twitter stream or Flickr photos), and it renders one single website featuring all your content. You can create your own themes, add new services (or just use the built-in services) and it is possible to add filters on data streams. I already wrote about PubwichFork earlier here.

How to install?

That’s easy! Just download the latest PubwichFork archive (we provide Zip and Tar), unpack it in your webspace and follow the config instructions from the manual.

Upcoming development

As PubwichFork 2.0 is currently an original Pubwich + bugfixes + stable feed import + data stream filters, there is room for improvements and enhancements planned for upcoming versions:

Pubwich 2.5 (planned for end 2012)

  • Activity stream service: merging various social media service sources to one merged stream, useable additionally to the single service boxes.
  • Google+: adding a service class aggregating your Google+ stream
  • Improve theming: adding regions to template, improve grouping of service boxes
  • Change license to GPL2+: currently Pubwich and PubwichFork are licensed under GPL2, I hope that I can convince other developers to provide their code under GPL2+ which would bring some advantages

Pubwich 3.0 (planned for 2013)

  • New project structure: new folder organisation, separate core components, libraries and user extensions.
  • Improved configuration process
  • Enabling multi sites in PubwichFork

Links & Resources