Structured data and how it is used is becoming increasingly apparent in online search, especially in respect of search engine results pages (SERPs).
An analysis of Google patents gives a good understanding of how it is approaching the display of search results, using structured data and context as factors in its determinations.
A good example is the recent Google patent “Ranking search results based on entity metrics.” It refers to how certain metrics might be employed in search for the purposes of ranking and ordering results. The patent examines how external data sources could be deployed in the ranking of SERPs, in addition to the use of structured data. The patent suggests that it might be possible to enhance and refine the ranking and ordering of results using entity-specific metrics, and it sets out four of these metrics in particular: a notable entity type metric, a relatedness metric, a prize metric and a contribution metric. Google does not rule out the potential use of other metrics, noting that the metrics it uses for the purpose of its discussion are illustrative.
The notable entity metric refers to categorisation of an entity under different headings. It also recognises that multiple entities can be classified as being of the same entity type: there has been more than one prime minister of the UK, for example. The relatedness metric refers to where an entity and its so-called entity type occur together on a webpage. To give an example, David Cameron is an entity, with the entity type being “British prime ministers.” A prize metric refers to the awards and prizes given to a particular entity. A good example would be a movie awarded multiple prizes, such as Oscars. The prize metric may be structured in a way that sees the highest values make the greatest contribution to the metric. A contribution metric could be based on such things as critical reviews and how famous the entity is. As with the prize metric, the contribution metric may weigh rankings so that the highest values make the greatest contribution to the metric.
The shift from keyword to entity search is becoming more apparent, and SEO strategies need to take this into account.