Schema – An Introduction

by • May 26, 2014 • Experts TalkComments Off on Schema – An Introduction5081

Keywords, tags and other meta information represent a process most commonly known as SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO includes the daunting task of defining and using a perfect combination of keywords for your website, although there seems to be an evident gap in that department. It’s also apparent that Google+ is beginning to play a major role in your search rank.

Schema is another method of helping search engines understand your web content.

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Webmasters are familiar with HTML tags. They tell browsers how to display the information included within the tag. Think of them as part of a universal language which every browser is capable of understanding (although, sadly, on different levels). Schema, is the godfather.

  <h1>Avatar
  James Cameron
  Science Fiction

The set up above is your basic HTML. Webmasters “spice things up” by adding more information:

<div>
  <h1 id="movie-title">Avatar</h1>
  <span id="movie-director">James Cameron</span>
  <span id="movie-genre">Science Fiction</span>
</div>

Web pages have an underlying meaning that people understand visually. With the proper styling, you can easily distinguish, for example, a paragraph from a title or a section from a different section.

Search engines, however, don’t (yet) have the same level of understanding what is being “discussed” on those pages. Other than your common style tags depicted above, you can also add more information – tags and data that search engines understand. You can tell them that the word “Avatar” is a movie title and that James Cameron is the director if that particular movie or in general, the <div> containing that information is about a specific item: a movie.

These tags are called microdata and they are part of HTML5.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/movie">
  <h1 itemprop="name" id="movie-title">Avatar</h1>
  <span itemprop="director" id="movie-director">James Cameron</span>
  <span itemprop="genre" id="movie-genre">Science Fiction</span>
</div>

Our setup above is schema-compliant and ready for search engines to understand.

Why Bother?

Something you understand more easily, you effectively remember and organize it more easily. This is especially true when it comes to tasks and computing. If your company’s goal is to Organize the World’s Information (Google), where do you start first? You create a system, then a language. To stay healthy, you have to become biased.

If the information you crawl is easier to process, the easier you can organize it. That means you can essentially prioritize and rank more organized information higher than something you don’t understand.

Of course, code hacks can never surpass interest, quality and traffic. But setting the table right can affect how the dinner pans out and microdata is one brilliant way to do it. During our Schema series, we will understand microdata, how to harness their power and ultimately help our web content climb the search rank. Introduce yourself to Schema and microdata.

Stay tuned for next post’s Getting Started on Schema

Would you like to add anything to this story? Share your insight on the comments below. If you require any help with implementing microdata on your website, don’t be a stranger and tweet me @cinegk.

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