Review: Acquia Webinar on Profiting from Drupal-Powered Semantics
Back in June of last year when Google, Bing and Yahoo! introduced Schema.org I wrote about how it would be a game changer for the semantic web. The problem was that it was difficult at best to implement semantic vocabulary on a website, even in Drupal 7. But that has all changed now.
Last week I attended Acquia’s webinar, Profiting from Drupal-Powered Semantics, and learned about a new module called the Schema.org module. The webinar was basically a demonstration of the module by its developer, Stéphane Corlosquet.
What struck me initially was the simplicity of this module. The mapping of content types and fields to the schema.org types and properties is all done in the content type settings and the fields UI. If you set up your schema at the same time you create your content types, the additional effort is marginal. Additionally the module automagically populates the list of schema types from Schema.org which makes the choosing the semantic properties really easy.
While the module is currently at the Beta2 release I would still feel confident considering it on a large production site based on the webinar demonstration. It seems well implemented.
The benefits of adding semantic properties are numerous; search engines are already starting to look for this data to identify the elements of your website. If you implement semantic tagging to your site you will be light years ahead of most other sites.
In the webinar the example given was that of a website selling a book and how the semantic vocabulary could be assigned to the author profiles. Stéphane showed how the semantic elements influenced actual search results on Google.
The Semantic Web is still mostly a niche concept due to the complexity of implementing it up to this point; but there is no doubt in my mind that the it is here to stay. As more content management systems develop user friendly ways to implement semantic structure it will eventually become as necessary as meta tags on a website.
If you are interested in implementing the Schema.org module, check out the recording of the Acquia webinar. You may also be interested in one of the the Schema.org recipes on drupal.org; they can help you set up your schema for common vocabularies such as Person, Recipe, or Event. Then you can be on the cutting edge of search engine site optimization.
Has anyone tried out the Schema.org module? Let us know in the comments what you like and don't like.
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