Schema.org's markup language speaks to Google, Yahoo! & Bing
Google, Bing and Yahoo! have put their differences aside to roll out a new initiative to apply a common set of schemas for structured data markup on websites.
Schema.org stems from Google's rich snippets, which were introduced in 2009 to enhance search results through structured data markups. These snippets, according to the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, are now appearing in search results about 10 times more often than they were in 2009.
The use of these snippets has lead to Schema.org.
In an effort to enrich content on the web and make sure the most compelling sites are thoroughly portrayed on the SERPs, the three search engines have set out to establish a uniformity to the information they gather from websites.
1. What is it?
Schema.org has established a set of additional snippets to insert into the HTML of a page to convey its meaning to search engines (as mentioned earlier, similar to Google's rich snippets). This microdata can be as broad as the type of a business or as specific as a postal code. It essentially serves as a highlighter for even the smallest components of a website, basically telling crawlers from all three major search engines things like, "This is a postal code for Austin, TX" or "This is a recipe". It is that one extra thing webmasters and SEOs can do to better convey site meaning to the engines.
2. What does it look like?
On your page it doesn't look like anything. Below is a screen shot of the contact block for one of our clients. I inserted the Schema code yesterday, and it works like a charm. Note that Drupal doesn't yet have a Schema-friendly module -- although one is in dev -- so I just inserted it manually.
Now, the important part. Here's what the code might look like for a LocalBusiness listing (I've inserted spaces so you can see the HTML):
< div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
< span itemprop="name">Our Client's Name< /span>
< div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
< span itemprop="streetAddress">1901 Lemur Ave< /span>
< span itemprop="addressLocality">Houston< /span>,
< span itemprop="addressRegion">TX< /span>
< span itemprop="postalCode">94086< /span>
< span itemprop="telephone">(888) 736-4306< /span>
< a itemprop="url" href="http://www.SITE.com">www.SITE.com< /a>
< time itemprop="openingHours" datetime="Mo-Fri 8:00-17:00">Mon-Sat 8am - 5pm
3. What can I tag with microdata through Schema.org?
Schema.org provides an entire list of recognized microdata categories on the website -- from creative works such as blogs, photographs and paintings, to places such as landmarks, local businesses and tourist attractions.
Because the trifecta of search engines was announced last Thursday, we don't have much insight into how much this uniform microdata will actually help, but it's worth a try. If nothing else, it's a way to stand out more to crawlers.
Give it a try!