What is Microdata?
While microdata may sound like a foreign language initially, fear not. To help you get started, here’s a primer on what microdata is, how search engines use it and why it could benefit your website. Essentially, microdata is one of three code languages designed to provide search-engine spider programs (NetBots) with information about website content.
It is broken down into the following:
in 2009 Google decided to add ‘rich snippets’ to their search results helping users find more information on a large variety of subjects including people, food recipes, events and reviews. The goal being to help webmasters advertise better, and giving users as much information as possible before they made the decision to click through to a website. An example of a this is presented in the image below:
Schema.org and Microdata
In 2011, a rare event happened where Google agreed to work alongside Yahoo! and Bing to support a set of ‘schemas’ that could be used across their search engines to help improve search results, and more importantly, offer the chance of superior visibility for SEO consultants and company’s. The schema alliance has since been joined by the Russian search engine Yandex, and they are apparently open to other search engines joining them in the future.
what is Schema.org?
As they say here; “Schema.org provides a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!”
In its simplest terms schema.org is based on microdata. Each kind of data can then be described by the schema vocabulary. This means that Schema vocabulary + microdata formatting added to HTML content = Happy webmasters who can markup their pages to further improve their visibility in the search results.
There are many different types of vocabularies available via schema.org, ranging from job listings and movie information, to bakeries and liquor stores. You can find out whether your website is relevant to schema by checking out this list.
What does it actually do?
Eye catching – Drawing a search users attention from your competitors and to your own result.
Potential Click through increase – Possibly increasing click through rates and lowering the chance of the user ‘bouncing’ as they have more information on the page before clicking through (there is also the potential to put off users if the increase in information shows something they are not looking for).
Providing ‘quality’ results – Offering results that are closer to user specifications and less likely for the user to ‘bounce’ away.
What is the future of rich snippets?
Considering the time and resources spent by the larger search engines combined with their evolution it looks like rich snippets are here to stay, so what do we think could happen in the future?
More relevant search results? – The schema alliance are aiming to create a more semantic web, and with it bring improved usability, happier users and better search results.
Increased rankings? – There have been a few posts discussing how rich snippets can increase Click through rate. There is however, 1 other thing to bear in mind. Do YOU want to be one of the few who don’t use it? This will immediately put you at a disadvantage and massively reduce your rankings on any search engine, which is the opposite of what you are trying to get.
More time spent on Google? – The counter argument to rich snippets has been that by supplying so much information, the user may never need to click through to the website offering more quality information. This is, after all, what Google really want – more of your content, more users spending longer on their site and more users spending money with them.
If you are looking for help with implementing any of the above, be it on a small or large scale, as a consult or carrying out the actual work itself, please get in touch to have a chat here.