Rich Snippets And Schema
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
One of the problems that has beleaguered the internet is that the sheer diversity and volume of content makes it extremely difficult to categorise and present meaningful search results. Schema.org is a collaborative effort between Google, Yahoo and Bing to try to homogenise the language used to add extra information that appears with a listing in their search engine results pages. As it has only been in play since July 2011, they stress that it is an ongoing project that requires community input, feedback and response to properly perfect.
Markup describes the coding language used to tell a browser how it should load a particular page – for most websites this is a combination of HTML and CSS. Similarly, microdata tells search engines about that website so that they can understand its contents for the purpose of creating search results. Though there are several existing markup formats that do this, Schema has selected an entirely new one to ensure consistency across all the search engines and to make it clearer for designers as to which they should employ. The syntax is fairly straightforward, and it is a small investment that will add a lot of value to your website.
The reason microdata and Schema are so important can be seen when you search for something as simple as a film title. A listing for website without microdata will simply show up as a standard link and description, while a listing for a website with microdata can be used to show detailed information such as onsite ratings, dates, related links and much more right from the search results page. This additional information is called a “Rich Snippet” and gives searchers a much deeper insight into your website, and allows you to emphasise the important information.
Naturally this makes the link stand out and become a very attractive click for viewers. The Google team also haven’t directly ruled out that simply adding Schema to your site may boost rankings in itself.
Schemas are extremely diverse, and whatever the focus of your website there will be additional information you can add such as:
- Names, genders and biographical details for people
- Location, opening hours and access for physical locations
- Reviews for services and restaurants
- Offers and products for eCommerce sites
To add Schema to your site, you can either go straight to the source at Schema.org to learn about the different codes and applications for yourself, or if you’re using a CMS such as WordPress you can try out a suitable Schema plugin.
If you haven’t looked into adding Schema to your site, now is the time to get familiar and think about getting on board with this trend that is set to add a lot of additional value to your hard-earned SEO results.
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