Schema: SEO & Structured Data
Edited for 2015
Lately I’ve noticed substantial positive increases in search engine page results for older sites that I’ve added structured data to. I’ve limited the structured data additions on my clients websites to products and reviews so far but again, the results have been notable.
I think it’s going to be the rage in the SEO world before too long. Especially when info companies start using the microdata to populate ‘sitelinks'[in some instances they already are] and other content areas on search returns pages. This will force a lot of work since webmasters of currently optimized sites will have to re-code their webs in order to be “optimized for search” again.
Microdata is not necessary to achieve sitelinks but I have a feeling schema will be used to help determine what goes in the sitelinks area. This could include products, authors, and a ton of other information. By using microdata in conjunction with important web assets, one may be able to influence the content that gets displayed on a SERP. I have some blocks of microdata on the SEO Services page of course. Right click view source.
Most intermediate level SEO’ers know their HTML tags to a degree. The image alt attribute, page title, meta_description and others should be very familiar to you. However, the purpose of HTML is to make content look a particular way through a web browser, such as Chrome, not for manipulation towards better rank on Google serp’s. Alas, there are a handful of HTML tags that SEO can rightfully call it’s own.
For example, H1 is an often talked about piece of code and regardless of it’s actual optimizational value, this <h1>SEO Package</h1> simply tells the browser to display the the words “SEO Package” on a web page. However, the h1 tag doesn’t give any information about what those words really mean. This may seem silly but SEO actually means other things besides search engine optimization. And many other words or phrases are much more ambiguous than this example.
In steps microdata and now SEO’ers, with a language to call their own, can use it to explain the content on their websites much more clearly. Now noting whether or not a bit of information is an item for sale, a price, a service, a book, a movie, or what have you… is possible.
“Microdata is a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!
….While the long term goal is to support a wider range of formats, the initial focus is on Microdata.” – http://schema.org/
Here is a brief example from schema dot org.
1b. itemscope and itemtype
Let’s start with a concrete example. Imagine you have a page about the movie Avatar—a page with a link to a movie trailer, information about the director, and so on. Your HTML code might look something like this:
<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
You can check the markup on your URL’s by using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Available through Google webmaster tools.