What Is Microdata, RDF’s, and Schema.org, and why does Google love it so much?
There are a few new kids in town, and everyone is going to be talking about them. You may have heard rumblings, and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve seen their work in search results.
Actually, they’re not really brand new, but there is starting to be a lot more emphasis placed on their value as search engines key on their data, and websites who use them are being rewarded with higher search results.
In 2017 Google and the other search engines will be placing more emphasis on microdata, RDF's and Schema. Make sure that you are familiar with these items, and ask your website developer if you are utilizing them on your site.
So pay attention kiddies and techies (and even non-techie business owners), it’s lesson time with Tim.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
As a small business owner you may have some idea of how important search engine optimization and web ranking are to your business. Even if you are a small local business that has done really well with excellent customer referrals, word of mouth, prime street visibility, the perfect location in a shopping mall, or have a massive sign that is right off of a major interstate.
At the end of the day, your business may be very successful now, but a strong presence on the web may pull in business and orders that you may have not had before. With a little extra work for your online presence and very little cost, it's well worth it to increase your brand awareness and grow your sales.
When you are working on your website there are several components that you want to make sure you have in order to get the best page ranking and placement possible on all of the major search engines.
A few of the items that you are going to need to know about when optimizing your website for search engines are microdata, RDF’s, and schema.org. Don’t be overwhelmed by the new vocabulary, let's explain and explore
- What microdata is and why it is beneficial for you to know
- What RDF's are and how they work
- What Schema.org is and how it affects your website
- And why search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc love these items
What is Microdata?
So, let's look at microdata and how does it work?
Microdata is a piece of HTML that contains metadata, which is held in the existing content of webpages of websites. One of the primary responsibilities that web browsers and search engines have is extracting and processing microdata from web pages to provide better and richer browsing experiences for users.
Search engines loves having direct access to data that is well structured like this, because it allows them to better understand the data on these pages. What it will then do is take the information from the microdata, and use it to provide more relevant search results.
Microdata vocabulary terms do not provide the meanings or definitions of an item on your website, but more or less give it an identifier for search engines to register. What web developers will do, is either use an existing vocabulary that is already on the web or design their own custom vocabulary for their website.
Schema.org (we'll look at that later) provides an assembly or grouping of the most commonly used markup vocabulary that search engines look for. Those items indicated by Schema.org and registered by major search engines include
- Place or Location
- Product review
- A product review or review aggregate
- Offer or deal aggregate
- Or breadcrumb
Web designers who know what they are doing are perfectly capable of creating new vocabularies and terms that will agree with search engines, but you don't have to worry about that. By using existing vocabularies and familiar terms and categorizations on your website and webpages, it will make it easier for the major search engines and web crawlers to identify, organize, and group your website.
Why Microdata is Important for Your Business’s Website
Having a better understanding of microdata, what it does, the vocabulary of microdata, and how to implement it into pages on your website is hugely beneficial for your business. With the right words, categorizations, vocabularies, and organization, you can make your website communicate better with search engines, which in turn allows the search engines like Google and Bing rank you higher. The better use of microdata your website has and the better your microdata is on each page of your website, the higher your webpage will likely rank for users that are searching for terms relevant to your business.
What are RDF’s?
RDF stands for Resource Description Framework. It is essentially a method for describing concepts and modeling information on websites and web pages. A more simple way to describe RDF is that it the framework for a classification system that is used to describe anything that you find on the internet, including websites and the content on websites.
An RDF description, which could be considered metadata, can include everything including
- The author of a particular resource or page online
- The date an item, page, or website was created or updated
- The way that pages are organized on the site, also known as the sitemap
- Information that represents the content including the audience it was intended for
- Product, service, page, or site ratings
- Subject categories
- Key words that are collected and organized by search engines
The Resource Description Framework makes it easier for us to share websites, web pages, and descriptions more easily with each other. It also allows software developers and engineers to build software or products that that can use the metadata present in web pages and sites, to improve search engines, create better search engine directories, and even build new, more effective search engines. This will also give users, like you and I, more control over what we are viewing.
For search engines, a certain amount of searchable metadata is available to them in the HTML code that makes up the basis of many websites and webpages. You can further your searchability by search engines by adding one sentence descriptions called meta tags, to the code of your website. Meta tags describe the content that is present in your website, but it is invisible on a page. The only way that you can see it is to view the code of that particular page.
The way that this relates to your business is the more relevant metadata that you use on your website and webpages including meta tags and proper coding descriptions, the higher your visibility and searchability is going to be to potential traffic, viewers, and customers.
What is Schema.org?
Schema.org was something that was assembled by Google, Bing, and Yahoo in 2011. It is an initiative for creating and supporting a common set of schemas for structured data markup on webpages. These search engines which are some of the biggest in the world promote using the schema.org coding vocabulary along with RDF, microdata, and other formats to mark up the content of any website with self identifying metadata.
Using the Schema.org vocabulary along with other desired data description formats make it easier for search engine spiders and web parsers to discover the meaning and purpose of your website.
Why Do The Major Search Engines (Google and Bing) Love Microdata, RDF, and Schema.org
The main reason that all of the major search engines love microdata, Resource Description Framework, and Schema.org is that all of these things make it so much easier to read, analyze, and index your website.
Search engines use spiders and parsers to search sites, then use that data to analyze and organize the sites appropriately by the content that is present on the sites and the webpages. The more that your businesses website utilizes these three tools and languages in describing the content on your site, the easier search engines will be able to classify your site, categorize it, and rank it accordingly based on the content that the search engine can see.
That leads us to the question - what are some ways that you can use this knowledge to better the SEO of your website, so that you can reach the right people?
Some Things that You Can do to Improve your Website’s SEO
One thing that you can do first and foremost on your website, is to naturally use the keywords associated with your business, product, or service as often as you can. By having the appropriate use of your keywords in the right quantity, you are going to let search engines know what your website is about and what kind of product or service you are providing. Make sure that you are using the microdata available to describe the content on your web pages.
The next thing that you can do is to make sure to use meta tags for your content. Remember, the meta tag for a page is that one really important piece of information that is used to define the content on that particular page. Making sure that you have set up your meta tags properly will greatly help your placement on search engines.
Next, let your web developer know that you want to create your site and your web page in accordance with Schema.org’s vocabulary and specifications. By using Schema.org and the vocabulary recommended by Schema.org, you are going to be using the standards that the biggest names in search engines use to markup webpages and index information.
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