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schema.org microformats for search engines - from Google, Yahoo, Bing

 7:52 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google just put out a blog post on schema.org. It looks like they are moving their data "micro-format" markup to a standard that is supported by the big three search engines.

Last year one of my sites implemented micro-formats for business listings. We put special tags in our pages that identified the business name, address, rating, and other information in a machine readable format. In return we got enhanced display in the SERPs. Specifically, the business rating that we provided turned into stars in the search results. We saw a nice boost in click through rate with the enhanced display.

At the time it was an invite only program to participate and yahoo wanted us to do the same thing but the markup was different and incompatible. Hopefully this means that any website can implement these and get the benefits of the enhanced display with any search engine.

The range of data that can be marked up is interesting:
There is markup for:



 10:36 pm on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah, me too, I added a couple of attributes yesterday.


 10:47 am on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it was up to me, I would use microdata/schema.org everywhere possible immediately, but my boss is of the mind that it is a "data stealing format" so we will not be implementing it.


 10:52 am on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't see marking something as a "review" or "article" as any different than marking an image as an image, or a video as a video. Google still scrapes it and includes it in their own searches, but websites get good traffic from this when their images and videos are of high quality.

Also Google is going to figure out what is what, scrape it and display it as they see fit weather you mark it as such or not, so may as well get in on the ground floor.


 5:28 pm on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, right?


 11:39 pm on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

What about text/code ratio?


 11:44 pm on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

text/code ratio is a very old time SEO concern, more of a 90s thing I'd say. I doubt that it's got anything much to do with ranking today, except that faster pages sometimes get a small edge. And even then it's the rendering speed, not the code size itself.

I used to be a total fanatic about text/code ratio - until I noticed that it didn't seem to matter anymore. Now I'm just moderately fanatic, and only in private ;)

If you think about what Google wants to do - it only make sense that technical fine points shouldn't get in the way of ranking.


 12:00 am on Jun 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks tedster, I guess I am kind of a code nazzi... About Google - well, I kind of have a sneaking suspicion this whole thing is more to make THEIR life easier with sorting out and indexing content, rather than help SEO get their sites rank higher... But I might be wrong.

I wonder how long it's going to take before this will really make an influence.


 12:51 am on Jun 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

No doubt that this is a way for webmasters to make the job easier for Google, Bing and Yahoo. But then again, that's one way you can understand what good SEO is - making the clearest possible signals as obvious as you can.


 11:56 pm on Jun 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

+1 for inbound. Both 'search' engines are now trying to become 'decision' engines, or give answers in their site. This schema will help them mash content from several sites to answer the question. How many will need to click? We don't know, but I'm sure it can be tweaked. It's not going to happen overnight and it's not going to stop 100% of traffic but you can already see with certain searches and services like what is, dictionary etc. Credit Cards and finance are all done, albeit almost stealthily and travel is next for Google [google.com...]

I wonder if recipe sites are seeing any traffic changes after Google adopted their recipe thing.


 5:07 pm on Jun 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The range of data that can be marked up is interesting:

Yes it can! Check out...

Thing > CreativeWork > WebPage

significantLinks - The most significant URLs on the page. Typically, these are the non-navigation links that are clicked on the most.

Could that be a new form of Link Citation?

I've been retrofitting existing templates and implementing Microdata wherever it is applicable. I'm not going to miss this bandwagon. This whole Microdata thing has been a W3 Working Draft for 3 years now. They just had Last Call Announcements for Microdata too, hence the launch of Schema.org.

Did you know they have Schemas for a multitude of Local Business information?

Thing > Organization > LocalBusiness

Microdata = NanoSEO


 3:02 pm on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seems like God's gift to scrapers if you ask me. I can't think of an easier way for scrapers to slice and dice easily digestible data lunchables.


 7:00 pm on Jun 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not to sound like a naysayer but rolling out microformats does NOT mean that Google (or others for that matter) will necessarily start using your data. I've used mircoformats for about a year now and I've yet to see the first one of my ratings turn into stars in SERPs.

I guess there's more to how they decide to use data from one site but not from another.


 8:13 pm on Jun 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess there's more to how they decide to use data from one site but not from another.

One of the first things to do is to make sure the Rich Snippets can be generated by Google...

Rich Snippets Testing Tool

If they are being generated by the above tool, then go to the next step...

Rich Snippets Not Appearing

In the past week I've come across two sites that have implemented Microformats and/or Microdata. Both sites had one or more of the above issues to contend with. Both definitely fit the "Is your markup incorrect or misleading?" criteria.

While we don't guarantee that we will always use this information, we will check your site for marked-up content when we crawl it.

I would think your site needs to pass a barrage of trust checks for Rich Snippets to be displayed.

Google also provide a way to let them know about your Rich Snippets implementation...

Interested in Rich Snippets?

But, there is no reason to let them know if it is broken. Improper nesting of HTML elements, missing closing elements, and improper nesting of Microdata/Microformats will break your machine readable grammar. Google won't be able to read it properly and the above Rich Snippets Testing Tool will show you those problems. You may find that bits and pieces of your Microformats are not displaying properly or, not being displayed at all. And, if that is the case, I can see why Google would choose not to display them.

Seems like God's gift to scrapers if you ask me.

If I recall correctly, most around here refer to Google as a scraper. ;)


 8:56 pm on Jun 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

@pageoneresults: Thanks for the link to the testing tool.

Interestingly, I have two blocks of Rich Snippets: breadcrumbs and ratings. The test tool does pick up the breadcrumbs but not the ratings. That might explain why I can, in fact, see the breadcrumbs in search results underneath my pages' descriptions. But I cannot see ratings.

Does someone know this from experience using Google Rich Snippets test tool: if there is an error in the code, will it show that there's an error or will it just ignore the snippet (which is what I experience with the second block on my pages that contains ratings)?


 9:13 pm on Jun 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

If there is an error in the code, will it show that there's an error or will it just ignore the snippet (which is what I experience with the second block on my pages that contains ratings)?

I've been testing every day now since [Schema.org...] launched, I'm converting Microformats to Microdata. Different things will happen based on how you have things set up. For example, if you've nested something incorrectly or, the Schema is assigned to the wrong element, you may see pieces of your Rich Snippet or none at all. I'd go back to the examples provided in the documentation and double check your work. I'd also read the notes they have that are specific to Ratings.

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