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Understanding Schema.org for SEO, VSEO

Understanding Schema.org for SEO, VSEO
Joseph Olesh

Its name alone, “Schema.org,” is enough to scare most bloggers and social media pros right back to their WYSIWYG editors. However, this collection of schemas (html tags that web masters use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search engines) is an easy and relatively quick way to improve your SERP CTR (Search-Engine-Result-Page Click-Through-Rate.) The launching of video support for Schema.org was the inspiration for this blog post.

Rest assured, time invested in this Microdata vocabulary will be worth every minute. Schema.org is a game-changer for search engine optimization (SEO), video search engine optimization (VSEO), and most any other online visibility attribute that exists today. It’s one thing to work your brand onto “Page One”; it’s an entirely more valuable thing to have that link on page one gain a click that sends the user to your chosen landing page. This markup enables search engines to understand the information on your web pages and then provide richer search results. Schema.org is also the product of a Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo! collaboration, meaning it’s relevant, consistent and here to stay.

Schema.org is a Microdata vocabulary, not a markup language in and of itself. This means the Schema.org properties can be inserted while marking up content for any given web page. See example below:

Original HTML:

    .    Jane Doe
    .    <img src="janedoe.jpg" />
    .    
    .    Professor
    .    20341 Whitworth Institute
    .    405 Whitworth
    .    Seattle WA 98052
    .    (425) 123-4567
    .    <a href="mailto:jane-doe@xyz.edu">jane-doe@illinois.edu</a>
    .    
    .    Jane's home page:
    .    <a href="www.janedoe.com">janedoe.com</a>
    .    
    .    Graduate students:
    .    <a href="www.xyz.edu/students/alicejones.html">Alice Jones</a>
    .    <a href="www.xyz.edu/students/bobsmith.html">Bob Smith</a>

With Microdata:

    .    <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
    .      <span itemprop="name">Jane Doe</span>
    .      <img src="janedoe.jpg" itemprop="image" />
    .    
    .      <span itemprop="jobTitle">Professor</span>
    .      <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
    .        <span itemprop="streetAddress">
    .          20341 Whitworth Institute
    .          405 N. Whitworth
    .        </span>
    .        <span itemprop="addressLocality">Seattle</span>,
    .        <span itemprop="addressRegion">WA</span>
    .        <span itemprop="postalCode">98052</span>
    .      </div>
    .      <span itemprop="telephone">(425) 123-4567</span>
    .      <a href="mailto:jane-doe@xyz.edu" itemprop="email">
    .        jane-doe@xyz.edu</a>
    .    
    .      Jane's home page:
    .      <a href="www.janedoe.com" itemprop="url">janedoe.com</a>
    .    
    .      Graduate students:
    .      <a href="www.xyz.edu/students/alicejones.html" itemprop="colleagues">
    .        Alice Jones</a>
    .      <a href="www.xyz.edu/students/bobsmith.html" itemprop="colleagues">
    .        Bob Smith</a>
    .    </div>

This is how search results appear when using the Schema.org vocabulary as rich snippets:




Image Source: SEOmoz

To apply this vocabulary, use the list at http://schema.org/docs/full.html.

One example is attached below for “Thing,” the most generic type of item. The set table lists the property, expected type and description of each.

My favorite use of Schema.org is in video markups. The schema.org data is now the recommended way to describe videos across Google, Bing and Yahoo! To apply, simply define an interscope, an item type=”http://schema.org/VideoObject”, and set the name, description and thumbnail URL properties. Then, apply your video embedURL or contentURL and you’re off and running! (The Schema.org video will not effect your video site maps or mRSS feed you might already be using.)

The video at the bottom of this post uses the Schema.org video markup.

There is so much more to Schema.org than the 1% covered in this post. Employing Schema.org into your markup language will greatly enhance your online visibility by creating content that machines (search engines) can understand. For more detail on schemas and functionality, see: http://schema.org.

Schema.org is not widely used at this time, though it is unanimously adopted by major search engines. Understanding its functionality can make the difference when competing for page one in your particular industry. Microdata video embeds, as seen below, is one of many examples to proactively take the lead and increase your brand’s online standing.

Video: Brian Benstock, VP and General Manager, Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura

Brian Benstock is one of the nation’s leading automotive executives. We chose this video as an example of how to embed video to a public website with Schema.org markup.

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