For almost 3 years now Schema.org has been up and running, offering guidance on marking up your content. To those new to the concept, it’s a way to identify content in specific ways and with specific associations.
Marking up your content using microdata is something done inside the code of the page, so you need to be familiar with working in that environment. It’s not difficult to implement, but you will need access to the page code to insert the actual tags.
It’s worth completing this work to help the engines understand your content more clearly. It’s like a sign post stating “this content describes this (movie, person, place, video, etc.)”. And when your content is marked up, we can use that data to make richer search experiences. And while this might sound like a win for us, it’s also a big win for you. And to clarify a point often misunderstood, marking up your content does not itself lead directly to higher rankings. Site A won’t outrank Site B simply because Site A uses Schema or any other markup language.
When we enable rich experiences in our SERPs, often powered by data which has been marked up, however, click rates on that content often outpace tradition CTRs. The benefits of this are obvious.
Let’s take a look at an example directly from the Schema.org website:
Imagine you have a page about the movie Avatar—a page with a link to a movie trailer, information about the director, and so on. Your HTML code might look something like this:
To begin, identify the section of the page that is “about” the movie Avatar. To do this, add the itemscope element to the HTML tag that encloses information about the item, like this:
By adding itemscope, you are specifying that the HTML contained in the
block is about a particular item.
But it’s not all that helpful to specify that there is an item being discussed without specifying what kind of an item it is. You can specify the type of item using the itemtype attribute immediately after the itemscope.
This specifies that the item contained in the div is in fact a Movie, as defined in the schema.org type hierarchy. Item types are provided as URLs, in this case http://schema.org/Movie.
Why Is It Important
As technology leads to new ways to implement search and provide answers to queries, a “search engine” such as Bing evolves. As more people move away from entering a search in a box online, they move towards apps, voice search on mobile devices, contextual searches and so on. To provide answers in these and other environments, we become a data layer. Less of a search engine and more of an answer engine, or data engine. On a mobile device, we might provide a direct answer to a query. In an app we may provide data as part of an overall experience within the app.
Either way, our dataset, the index we have, is the source of the answers or data. And knowing clearly what content is and what it is associated with, and being able to reliably trust that information, helps us provide greater accuracy to searchers.
As technologies, devices and expectations move forward, we (Bing) will continue to evolve. It’s important for you to invest in efforts such as marking up your content. It helps you, us and the searchers.
The bottom line here is this. If you’re marked up, and we enable a rich search experience, the opportunity for inclusion is much greater.
With the Internet of Things upon us, mobile driving new expectations and reformatting data display, and wearable technologies altering the behavior of future data requests and consumption, having a deep, clear understanding of items, objects and content across the Web is more important than ever. That has implications for the engines and your websites.
Sr. Product Manager