My Ecademy profile was a page I held up as a shining example of how to do semantic HTML - in fact, it's one of the reasons why I got interested in semantic markup in the first place! After I connected up my Ecademy profile with my Google+ profile, magic started happening (as far as I was concerned!) and I suddenly started appearing on page 1 of Google listings internationally, for the much coveted search term 'Joomla Specialist'.
This prominence alone has attracted many thousands of pounds in direct sales, with the obvious addition of developing my personal brand and reputation - so who knows what the true value of that profile was to my business. It's something I nurtured and worked really hard on - actually my Ecademy profile was where many people found me first as a result.
Like many, I was somewhat sceptical about the takeover when Ecademy became SunZu, however I wanted to check it out from the moment it was launched to make sure it was still going to bring as much traffic as Ecademy had done. I was bitterly disappointed. Now, give them their dues it was in beta at this point, and with a beta product you do expect there to be some features missing. I used the 'Feedback' feature to voice my concerns (politely) and check whether it was going to be implemented before the launch as there was a complete lack of semantic markup - and I'm not exaggerating here, there was literally nothing other than the basic heading and paragraph tags - not even authorship. What I got back in reply was, let's say, not far off being rude and arrogant.
I actually forgot about it for quite some time, until I came to refresh my slides for JoomlaDagen where I am talking about microdata, authorship and semantic HTML - I needed to grab a fresh screenshot of my listing in the results page for 'Joomla Specialist' - and was staggered to find that my (now SunZu) profile had dropped to page 5! Not only this, many of my other links had dropped significantly in the rankings - to say I was surprised was an understatement.
What is the problem?
The problem is that the new SunZu website does not have any semantic markup at all, whereas Ecademy had semantic markup on steroids. I actually said in several of my talks on the subject that if anything, Ecademy over-did the semantic markup, in its effort to accommodate all the different types that could be used.
Critically, authorship is missing - which is a method by which you can associate content that you write with your Google+ profile in a two-way process, validating you as the author - which is the first thing I altered. This was a pretty simple thing to fix, and within a couple of days I had returned to page 1 for the term 'Joomla Specialist' without any other changes to my SunZu profile. This is only the tip of the iceberg though. Ecademy used to associate all kinds of other content in the 'correct' way, providing search engines with a context for the information on the page or the links to, for example, your company website. This is all missing still, and it's a bit of a mission to re-add it.
What can I do?
Firstly, check out whether any microdata is being pulled through from your articles and more importantly your profile using the Rich Snippets Testing Tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets - and read up on Authorship. Make sure you have a Google+ profile set up, so that you can benefit from it. Secondly, make sure you set up your SunZu profile and your 'Contributes to' section of your Google+ profile to make sure the reciprocal link is present and working - you'll need to remove any references to Ecademy and alter them to be SunZu due to the URL change.
Additional microdata that can be added to your profile can be found at www.schema.org but due to the way in which SunZu editors function, it's an incredibly convoluted process to manually add this information - not only to your profile but also to any articles that you may write which also contain no semantic markup (for the techies you can't view source, so you can't add the itemprop/itemscope manually without using developer tools to 'hack' it into the text) so it takes time. Ultimately if SunZu don't do something about this the only option is to follow this process to get the information into your profile.
Can you help?
Absolutely, I can help you hook up your Google+ profile with your SunZu profile, and I can also help you set up any other microdata that you might want to include in your profile. Ultimately, I hope that the forces that be at SunZu (and their 'industry expert' staff) take note and include all of this markup on your profile and article pages. In the meantime if you find yourself in the same situation as I was, give me a shout. Tweet me @RCheesley or on Google+, or drop me an email to