nicolas leroy

Yahoo! SearchMonkey eases publication of product data

July 05, 2009

Read on Yahoo! Search blog:

Back in March 2009, we announced a simple way for site owners to embed video, games, and documents in Yahoo! Search results. Starting today, we are expanding this capability by giving site owners the power to display enhanced results for product pages, local information, events, news, and discussions.

If your site’s data falls into one of these categories, add a few lines of markup to your pages, and SearchMonkey will do the rest of the work. After we recrawl your page, we’ll extract the structured data and use it to display your data as an enhanced result.

For example, a retail website could add a few lines of code so that its product pages display as an enhanced result that includes the overall rating, price, reviews, and product photo directly on the search results page. Let’s say we have a fictional store called Sytore.com and the site owners have added the following code to their product pages:

<div typeof=”product:Product”
xmlns:product=”http://search.yahoo.com/searchmonkey/product/”
xmlns:rdfs=”http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#”>

<span property=”product:listPrice”>49.99</span>
<span property=”product:salePrice”>39.99</span>
<span property=”product:currency” content=”USD” />

<span property=”rdfs:label”>Pinball Maven : Video Games : Electronics</span>

<span rel=”rdfs:seeAlso media:image”>
<img src=”http://www.sytore.com/product.jpg”/>
</span>

<div rel=”review:hasReview”>
<span typeof=”review:Review”>
<span property=”review:rating”>4</span>
<span property=”review:totalRatings”>17</span>
</span>
</div>
</div>

Sytore.com’s product pages (such as its product page for “Pinball Maven”) would then display as an enhanced result:

SearchMonkey Enhanced Results

The SearchMonkey documentation for developer has been extended and now described this new RDFa syntax for products.

When launched in May 2008, SearchMonkey was a really innovative approach to search. Unfortunately, this innovation – along with a few other ones – has not stopped the slow decline of the Yahoo! Search market share. Still, going semantic remains a key idea to improve the web search experience. Google showed it was also interesting in this area by announcing “Rich Snippets” a few months ago.

While both giants rely on RDFa syntax to describe products (Google also supports hProduct microformat), they use custom syntaxes; that means a developer that wants to publish structured content to both search engines need to support the two syntaxes. Not really convenient. The risk for Yahoo! is clearly that most publishers will start noticing the benefits of semantic web and RDFa when Google deploys “Rich Snippets”, and will implement the Google syntax rather than the Yahoo! one…

To know more about RDFa:


6 commentaires

Jay Myers
on Jul 05, 2009 / 8pm
This puzzles me a bit. In looking through the SearchMonkey documentation they make reference to the GoodRelations ontology. I wonder why we would need another Yahoo! custom way to mark up products with RDFa?

This is the big difference between RDFa and Microformats -- RDFa has the possibility for thousands of custom ontologies, whereas Microformats are typically one standard created by the Microformat community. Either approach can work, but if we want to successfully use RDFa, guidelines should be set as to which ontologies are used for different markup scenarios.

nicolasleroy
on Jul 06, 2009 / 5pm
@Jay Myers - Indeed, I haven't noticed Yahoo! suggested two ways to support RDFa for products... Strange... In fact, I haven't heard about GoodRelations ontology, which seems an interesting project !! Thanks for the info.

Martin Hepp
on Jul 09, 2009 / 3pm
Hi,
From quite a close collaboration with Yahoo Research I know that of the three vocabularies considered by Yahoo SearchMonkey for product details, GoodRelations is the preferred one by Yahoo. The other ones are just legacy from earlier work. So the vocabulary of choice is clearly GoodRelations, http://purl.org/goodrelations

Martin Hepp

nicolasleroy
on Jul 09, 2009 / 4pm
@Martin Hepp - Interesting. Hopefully, Google will also support GoodRelations in the near future, to avoid publishers manage different ontologies for products. Thanks for the info.

Martin Hepp
on Jul 10, 2009 / 6am
As far as I know, Google Research is investigating the use of GoodRelations. It would for sure make Google more compliant with standardized mark-up, and I am confident that Google prefers non-proprietary markup over vendor-specific meta-data, for the sake of an open Web.
Also note that the mapping from hProduct to GoodRelations is relatively simple, but GoodRelations is much more powerful. The hProduct-relevant subset of GoodRelations is as easy to use as hProduct microformats, by the way.

See http://tr.im/rHmp for RDFa recipes of GoodRelations.

Martin Hepp
on Jul 29, 2009 / 10am
Hi,
I put an end-to-end recipe for using GoodRelations for your company and product details
online - check

http://tr.im/rAbN

Best
Martin Hepp