Is Semantic Markup Really Helping Websites Improve their Online Visibility?

Andrea Volpini, David Riccitelli, Gennaro Cuofano: Is Semantic Markup Really Helping Websites Improve their Online Visibility?
In: J. Fernández, S. Hellmann (eds.): Proceedings of the Posters and Demos Track of the 13th International Conference on Semantic Systems - SEMANTiCS2017,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 11-14, 2017,
online: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2044/paper13


In this research paper, we present the results of the analysis conducted on Freeyork.org, a design blog from Poland that has been using WordLift, a plugin for WordPress, for a period of 6 months to automatically add the semantic markup for improving its online visibility.

WordLift 1 analyses articles using Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Named Entity Disambiguation (NED). The entities are ex-tracted from different knowledge graphs including but not limited to DBpedia, GeoNames and Wikidata. WordLift provides UIs for creating and curating custom vocabularies. The plugin implements a semi-automated annotation workflow and publishes metadata by asynchronously injecting a JSON-LD 2 on-page and by publishing linked (open) data in the cloud using Apache Marmotta: an open implementation of a Linked Data Platform 3 . Metrics used to measure the impact of structured data are based on organic search results as opposed to paid links (i.e. advertisement), that is to measure the position of a web site in the search results solely based on the ranking of the web site related to the search terms entered by the end user. So that a user entering a web site from an organic search result is considered an organic session and the traffic generated by this user is defined as organic traffic (vs. paid traffic, i.e. traffic generated by a sponsored or advertised link).

In this analysis, we used Google Analytics to collect and analyze traffic data, over the course of 6 months and we could see that linked structured data helps semantic search engines like Google provide better results to their users and indirectly improves the traffic of a website. This has been measured by comparing both quantitative metrics like pageviews and sessions and qualitative metrics like time spent on page and session duration.

Our goal was to measure organic traffic (page views and sessions) and engagement (time spent on the pages and number of page- views per session) considered as key performance indicators for the website. Since Freeyork.org has an advertising based business model, organic traffic is crucial to drive revenues.

Here follow the highlights:


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