News, Technical

Experimental use of Sitemaps.org and Schema.org metadata for Search Engine Optimization

The Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) has just released an experimental implementation of the sitemaps.org and schema.org metadata to support search engine discovery and indexing (often called Search Engine Optimization). Sitemaps metadata serves as a table of contents for high-value information found on websites so that search engines may more easily discover relevant web pages to index. For EDI, the sitemaps metadata points to the most recent data package landing pages accessible through the EDI Data Portal and is refreshed hourly. To enhance the content indexed by search engines, EDI embeds schema.org “dataset” metadata into the data package landing page HTML generated by the EDI Data Portal using the JSON-LD (Linked Data) encoding format. The dataset metadata provides a recognized and consistent vocabulary of dataset attribute information for search engines to index, thereby improving the overall user experience when searching for data packages on the Internet. The list of dataset metadata attributes will expand over time as key elements of the data package are identified and extracted out of the richer Ecological Metadata Language document already in use by the EDI data repository to describe the archived data package. The JSON-LD encoded metadata may be viewed through the “view page source” browser tool when on an EDI data package landing page (for example, if using Chrome, type the following into the URL form field: view-source: https://portal.edirepository.org/nis/mapbrowse?scope=edi&identifier=4). This effort is motivated by EarthCube’s Project 418 and Google’s recent announcement of their beta Dataset Search tool.

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