- Search engines do a good job of identifying what overall content of a web page is about. But you may have parts of a web page that contain very specific types of content, like product reviews, embedded video, or even a food recipe. Search engines can stand to benefit from a little help in understanding the semantic focus of these bits of content and fortunately, we can give them some assistance. One universal code format that will help us to do this is the schema.org defined microdata.
Microdata gives us a special syntax to use to help search engines identify very specific types of content on your pages. It's important to note that along with schema microdata there are other markup types in use, including microformats like Open Graph and RDFa. But increasingly, schema microdata is becoming the dominant markup of choice. Schema not only helps search engines identify specific pieces of content, it also allows them to identify very specific attributes of that content.
Here's an example of some recipe text. We can look at this quickly and identify it as a food recipe. But for a search engine, the short sentences and many line breaks are a bit awkward and they can't possibly understand what each line means. By augmenting the code behind this recipe text using the schema.org microdata for recipes, you have the opportunity to explicitly tell search engines exactly what this content is. You can see there are properties for ingredients, prep, and cook times and just about anything else you could think of for a recipe.
From a search engine's perspective, this is great. It not only confirms that this is definitely a food recipe, but it also includes all of this metadata around the recipe that will help to return this content to users that are looking for it. If someone is searching for a particular chef's recipes or has an abundance of bananas and needs something to do with them, the search engines will have much deeper semantic understanding of what this content truly is and can return it in the search results for an array of relevant search queries.
Whichever you choose, among lots of categories, you could use schema to describe a book with things like the title, author, publishing date, and number of pages. Or you could use it to identify an upcoming event by name, location, dates, or even pricing. If you have a brick and mortar business or you're doing e-commerce sales, make sure you're using schema for your local business content or your product content. As a general rule, anytime you can specifically identify content for search engines, you probably should.
Google and Bing are always expanding their support for various schema types, so it never hurts to be ahead of the curve in your implementation. So explore the different types of schemas to see what may be relevant for the different types of content on your site and get started sharing all that great information with the search engines and your visitors alike.
- Define search engine optimization.
- Explore the fundamentals of reading search engine results pages.
- Examine the essentials of understanding keyword attributes.
- Break down the steps for optimizing the non-text components of a webpage.
- Recognize how search engines index context.
- Explore an overview of long-term content planning strategies and how they can help keep content on your site fresh.
- Define your website’s audience, topics, angle, and style when mapping out your long-term content.
- Identify the steps to take when building internal links within your website.
- Recognize how to analyze links in order to measure SEO effectiveness.
- Break down the necessary components for understanding local SEO.