Just looking into a traffic drop that looks like it only affected events-style content and on some very precise informational terms from Google web. So, with my ‘tinfoil-hat’ on and assuming that we are the victim here of the behemoth that is the omnipotent and omnipresent Google. I am referring to knowledge graph and structured mark-up. And specifically how much information do we give away.
The modern dilemma
Should we give, and be ‘needed': or hold-out and be lonely?
If we give too much data to Google we [website owners who monetize them] we will loose visits, impressions and the chance to build brand/loyalty and monetize. So, with no directly obvious return for our time, effort or investment. If you run your site for ad revenues; for clients who expect web analytics to give you the only measure of success then this is important.
Schema mark-up, microformats etcetera present our information in a way that can be used by the engines in a number of different ways. It can be used to provide site links in the SERPs to its own page, or, it can be used to provide site links to other related pages on your site. However, [tinfoil hat moment] it is also giving data/facts and information nuggets to the engines, so they can present the answer via knowledge graph/one-box answers or mash-it-up in another clever way for their own gain.
So we, as media owners/publishers are between a rock and a [very] hard place. We are all moving to separate data from the presentation layer. Moving to html5, modular design, focusing on site speed and mark-up to make quality, scalable sites. We have, as an industry, pushing for the latest standard, code to enable anywhere/anyformat viewing of our brands. We are progressive SEOs to an extent, have always understood that our presence is not just our own sites but this is making it very real indeed.
But, we can’t not, keep supplying this data as we want to be found/seen to be experts and add value via the entry to the web. And like all imbalanced relationships, if I don’t give, Google what it wants, they will leave us for our competitors. Without even a kiss goodbye!
Google wants to the be the repository of all things in knowledge and [I believe] is starting to display portal like tendencies by keeping users on its own properties. So, what to do?
Right now – embrace it, see how it goes. Maybe in the future, we will have
forced to change our thinking and divide our sites into two types. 1) Pages that may get visits, but do give information to users [maybe just not on our site], and 2) Landing pages, entries onto our own web properties as we do right now.