Captured Technology

Schema.org Doesn't Matter?! Think Again

Oct 28 2011

a chart to describe the search engine market

Image via Wikipedia

Why You Can't Ignore Schema.org

As the Internet grows, so does the need for organization and better search engine results. Internet users expect to be able to use their favorite search engine to find relevant content without wading through sites that have little or nothing to do with their search terms. Schema.org provides tools for web developers to help search engines recognize information on web pages and catalog that information so it is easier to find for top search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

When you type a search query into a search engine, you expect to find highly relevant sites at the top of the results page. As you know, this isn't always the case. Google and other search engines are constantly changing and tweaking their algorithms to determine rank, and they are still looking for more ways to make search results more relevant and consistent. Schema.org benefits both web developers and search engines by making it easier for engines to determine the relevancy of each page and site.

Why It is Different?

You can use traditional metadata to help search engines decipher your page's content, but Schema's metadata has some distinct advantages. Simply using metadata is similar to using a tag. Many site owners use tags to list possible search terms related to the article or video on the page. Tags, however, do not give any relevant information about the page's content. Unfortunately, many developers have found that it's not difficult to manipulate metadata and abuse the system. This is very frustrating to both search engines and those using the search engines to find relevant content. In fact, Google has been ignoring tagging lately because spammers were abusing it.

How Does Schema.org Work?

Schema.org helps search engines understand page content so it can be ranked accordingly. Web developers have more control over the content they publish because they can give spiders and crawlers more information about each page, video or text within a page. Schema achieves this by letting web developers add descriptions and facts to the content they publish.

Schema.org gains a better understanding of web content by crawling descriptions of videos, pictures and pages to get a better understanding of what the content truly is. Without this, a search engine is not able to read the content in a video or picture, but it can use descriptions to determine the relevancy. Not only does Schema.org use embedded content for search engine content, but it also makes this simple for both the web developer and the search engine.

Schema.org doesn't just allow search engines to find more relevant content, it also analyzes relationships between pages and content. By using metadata markups called “rich snippet tags,” Schema.org gives more accurate results based on relevancy of the entire page including the URL, content and any videos, pictures or audio embedded within the page.

Search engines used to rely heavily on the URL to determine how relevant a page was. Now, the page's actual content receives higher priority than the domain or page name. All content will be compared to the search term to determine how relevant the page is, and pages with more information the searcher may need are given higher rank.

Schema.org supports many formats including the new RDFA, microdata and microformats, as well as older platforms to ensure that it is accessible by many developers. Whether you are using a new platform or you are more comfortable using an older platform, this tool will help make your web content easier for search engines to find.

Since this is new way of thinking about searches for both search engines and developers, the potential is enormous. Many investors are eager to see this project get the funding it needs to help the future of Internet searches. Incorporating Schemas into your site now gives you a competitive advantage over other sites, and the longer you wait to use this powerful tool, the longer your competitors have to gain their advantage. Get a powerful edge in the fierce competition of keywords and get valuable organic traffic now, before your competitors do.

The top search engines aren't known for playing well together, but they have accepted Schema.org and its applications. Although we don't know exactly how Schema.org will influence search engine results, it will be exciting to watch. Most SEO tools are made for the developer or the search engine, and Schema.org is unique in that it helps both at the same time using the same tools. Search engines and developers aren't the only ones benefiting from these powerful, innovative tools; all Internet users will benefit with increased relevancy and better search results.

Brian Flores is a blogger and SEO for InMotion Hosting, a webhosting provider that is based in Los Angeles.  You can follow him on Twitter @BrianAFlores

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