An Introduction to Schema.org


By Nicolas Vargas

Google Search Reasults Using Schema

Schema.org is an initiative launched in 2011 by the major search engines (Bing, Google and Yahoo) to make a common language to improve the way search engines understand and display data in their search results. The idea is to use these schemas to mark up useful information within a webpage for the purpose of offering a better user experience in search results.

Now that you know what schema.org is, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to improve the way search engines understand and display your content in search results. Depending on the sort of content your website uses, you can write schema markupfor a huge list of items, from videos to events.

Schema.org Item Examples Screenshot

With schema.org you have a lot of options to improve the way search engines display your site in search results.

How it works

As I said before schema marks up your content helping search engines, because with HTML tags, your browser knows how to display the information but it doesn’t really understand what that content is about..That is, HTML is not enough for search engines to properly understand your content.

Schema.org uses a micro data format to improve the data within the HTML tags and give search engines more information about that page, so it knows whether it is about a person, a recipe, a place, a movie, etc.

Micro data is a HTML5 feature (set of tags) which aims to help computers understand what the web page content is actually talking about.

Schema.org Person Example

Here is an example of how you can use microdata to tell search engines that the content in this HTML is not just random text – it is a person, job title and address.

Plain HTML

Person Html Example

With Micro data

Schema Person markup Example

As you can see with micro data you can explain to search engines what your content is about, in this example for Google the words North Sydney didn’t mean anything , but with the schema.org micro data it means an address locality.

Finally you probably want to know if the use of schema micro data is going to improve your rankings. Well, as Matt Cutts has said, just using schema.org micro data won’t necessarily improve your rankings, but there are some cases when schema.org helps, so it is better to use it, just in case.

Also keep in mind that even if this markup doesn’t help your rankings it could help your click through rate if it provides images, star ratings or other information in search results alongside your site listing.

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