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The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol have been well-documented in the media. If you are not deep into marketing and web development then the odds are that you do not know about or understand Schema Microdata. Yet, having Schema markup in your web pages is essential to ensuring that your site can be found by search engines and by….well dumb machines. As computers are dependent upon data input and must be told what to do, then understanding how this markup will boost your website and SEO services and SERPs is critical.
What is Schema markup?
Schema is a microdata format that makes search engines interpret the information that you have within your page to give relevant results to users based upon that data. For example: If your site is about finances and you state that you are going to talk about the elephant in the room, the search engines will not show results for people who search for elephants but it will show results for people that search for financial information.
Microdata is HTML5 machine-readable data that gets embedded into the HTML document. For the most part, the data is used to determine the relativity of the information for the computer, but the data can also be used for snippets and to provide users with other information (such as user reviews). The information can also be used in conjunction with social media sites to boost the probability that your information will be shared (such as with twitter cards).
Where in the past there had to be a great deal of collaboration between the mega engines (Bing, Google, and Yahoo), the Schema project works as a centralized location in which a standardized markup structure is used. Schema also includes collaboration with Yandex.
Exactly how does Schema work?
Schema markup works by providing crawlers with the additional information needed to place your page within searchable results. This is done through the use of the div tags and other HTML tags which are common to the structure of a page. Going back to our prior example if the tag were to show itemscope itemtype http://schema.org/Finance
Search engines would understand that the information contained in the div tag relates to finance and not to the elephant in the room. In addition, if a document is specific to a date or to an event the use of the itemtype attribute in the schema markup can provide the search engines with that data. Avoiding an indicator such as that found by the itemtype attribute could cause a page to be viewed by a computer as outdated or irrelevant to current events.
How does Schema help your SEO and SERPs
Currently Google states that microdata does not pay a role in your SERPs. I would argue differently. Where the data is not specifically written into the Google algorithms at this time, the data still contributes, especially since google has gone to the “mobile friendly” requirement. As microdata provides snippets and other information which can easily and commonly be shared throughout social and mobile platforms, incorporating such data into your web pages will increase the ability for those snippets to be produced, shared, and ultimately for your page to have higher SERPs. Where SEO is concerned, it can help, but users should understand that it is not a quick fix. The SEO and the SERPs work on a cycle based system. Keep this in mind as it will be a long term strategy.
Determining if your site should use Schema Markup for your SEO
It is true that the Schema Markup is a great tool for collaborative SEO planning. That being stated, there are a few drawbacks. The major downside is that your site will need to include the microdata on every single page. At this time that means that you have to do so manually. Where for a small business or for the individual trying to boost their SEO and SERPs this is ok, for those companies that have hundreds or even thousands of pages, it could be a bit tedious. The good news is that you do not have to markup every property on everypage. Just remember that the clearer you make your itemtags and microdata, the easier it will be for other machines to find and properly categorize the data.
Computers are just that…machines
Computers are machines, and tools are tools. And while you can do your best in presenting the microdata and increasing the SEO, it comes down to how the machines process the data. It is essential that you stay on top of the latest algorithms and updates in how microdata is processed. Schema’s platform is also evolving as the technologies and advancements in microdata emerge. To find out the latest information about such visit www.schema.org.