Marshall Simmonds will be speaking on the “Structured data for SEO: Which markup matters?” panel at SearchFest 2014 which will take place on February 28th, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.
I’m the Founder and CEO of Define Media Group, specializing in enterprise search marketing and strategic audience development. I’ve been involved in search since 1997, was the Chief Search Strategist for from 1999-2011 of which the last five were spent quarterbacking all search strategy initiatives for the New York Times Company portfolio. Define Media Group started in 2005 and officially spun off from the NYTCo in January of 2011. Define manages key components of audience development initiatives for the most influential brands and publishing networks in the world.

2) Can you give me the top reasons why website content should be “marked up”?
In a word, opportunity. In working with enterprise sites, typically our biggest obstacle early on is indexation. Essentially opening up the site to maximize crawl budget, bring approximate parity to content offered versus content indexed by the engines and, depending on the site, decreasing time spent downloading pages. Getting Google et al to effectively index a site is hard enough for a number of technology reasons both internal and external.

In addition to raw extraction and subsequent contextual analysis, structured data refines that signal, much like good SEO is intended to do. Schema offers yet another means to specify content elements for advanced markup. Anything that aids Google’s interpretation of, what can be, massive amounts of data is a good enough reason to put resources behind the effort.

The most important aspect to enterprise SEO is fast, efficient, execution of best practices and emerging technologies to support a brand. This means monitoring the opportunities, assessing viability of new releases and being able to lobby an organization for inclusion. Not necessarily an easy or quick task, especially with roadmaps established months in advance. However those that are quick to adapt and adopt are typically rewarded. It’s also good career management to error on the side of ‘innovative’ and avoid the difficult conversation with your boss about why your competitors beat you to it.

3) How do you think technical markup will evolve in 2014?
Honestly, that’s why I’m excited to present with and see Aaron Bradley speak. He’s the thinker and in my opinion the ultimate expert in this field. My job is to locate the opportunities for our clients. Schema is, dare I say, vast. There are a lot of objects to consider, some that even though Google says are supported haven’t really proven to be worthwhile unfortunately. It’s a trial and error process so my WISH for 2014 is Google will update and fully support (*see ingest and display) all objects featured at

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