What is Schema.org?

December 13, 2013

You may have heard of “the semantic web”, the concept an internet that better understands what you want from it, a smarter internet. The largest initiative towards this end is the use of microdata to mark up the content of a web page itself to allow crawlers to better understand what the content is.

Most sites on the internet are displayed as just text on a page, and while a human can quite easily read a page and understand from context what it is about the bots that crawl the internet don’t. For example an web page about blue shark could be about our company Blue Shark, or it could be about a blue shark the animal. In the past there was very little way of telling a search engine what a page was about beyond the meta description.

Along comes Schema.org

Schema.org is an intiative backed by Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex that provides a method that allows web developers to identify the types of content on a page and give web crawlers a better understanding of a site and it’s content.  Schema.org covers a wide range of scenarios and “things” such as products, businesses, people, events, locations, objects and more. If your company sells a product the use of Schema.org would be a priority, allowing search engines to understand the products sold, the pricing, stock levels and reviews too.

To do this you add schema.org mark up to your web page, for example a website selling the iPhone 5s could put this markup on their product:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>Purchase an <span itemprop=”name”>iPhone 5C</span> for
<span itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”><span itemprop=”price”>£599.99</span></div>

A search engine would now understand that this is an iPhone 5C, and is being sold for £599.99. Extra information such as reviews, manufacturer, condition and stock levels can be further added if you wished.

Since the creation of Schema.org search engines have begun using it in their results, so alongside the usual title and description regurgitated from the page we can see more in-depth and relevant information.

Here we see tour dates for Lady Gaga

lady gaga search result

A review and price of a Hudl tablet

hudl search result

The semantic web is young and still growing, but as we see more and more sites using microdata like Schema.org a shift in the web and how we interact with it, already sparked by Apple’s Siri and Google Now, is going to come and the web will be even more useful than ever before.



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