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Schema.org – Structured Data for SEO

On June 1 Schema.org announced a 3 way partnership between Google, Yahoo and Bing to come together and provide a single collection of schemas that webmasters may use.  You may be wondering what exactly a Schema is. Quoting Schema.org directly, they are “html tags that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers”. Essentially this allows search engines to improve search results by allowing them to easier find what users are searching for.  If multiple search engines ask for data sets in different ways this would become a very difficult process for developers. It seems the major search engines have agreed that having one standardized data set i.e. Schema.org will work better.

How does Schema.org work?

Essentially Schema.org works by assigning each type of data entry a term. Schema.org provides the terminology for an entity, for example if you have a section on your webpage about a particular restaurant you can reference the Restaurant terminology page. Schema.org is based on Microdata, to implement Schema.org’s terminology you only need know the basics which can be found at the getting started page. Having the ability to properly identify a section, or your whole site may go far for SEO. Imagine search engines being able to identify between the car “Eclipse”, the moon-phase “Eclipse” and a restaurant called “Eclipse”.

Structured data has been seen previously via various features, such as “Googles recipe search”. If you haven’t used this feature before, it allows the user to search through recipes based on multiple factors including ingredients, cook time and calories. This is now kicking everything up a notch and allowing websites the capability to categorize multiple sections (Maps, Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Content etc.)

Will Schema.org phase out?

Some people may be questioning Schema.org and/or comparing it to that of sitemaps. As with many things SEO, it changes on a daily basis. We can only utilize what we know works and if it changes, we move on to the next phase. Will the time investment converting your site to Schema.org standards pay off? I don’t think anyone at this point can answer that. But it will be an indicator among many, and it won’t hurt!

Have you utilized structured data in the past? We would love to hear about it!

Have any questions regarding Schema.org or Microdata? Feel free to comment below.