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An article, such as a news article or piece of investigative report. Newspapers and magazines have articles of many different types and this is intended to cover them all.
This could be a forum post, a magazine or newspaper article, a blog entry, a user-submitted comment, an interactive widget or gadget, or any other independent item of content.
It has also occurred to me that the two types might be combined as follows:
<article itemscope="itemscope" itemtype="http://schema.org/Article">
<nav itemscope="itemscope" itemtype="http://schema.org/SiteNavigationElement">
schema.org markup is for search engines. html is for browsers.
There is also ARIA to consider:
<nav itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/SiteNavigationElement" role="navigation">
I cannot find similar statements about HTML5.
But I'm wondering why Google encourages their use. Can someone please explain?
Interpretation A: Use of markup helps search engines guide human users to the site that will best serve their needs. (Et cetera, you can look up gwt or schema.org or site of your choice for longer explanation.)
I think that's probably the main goal.
Maybe a few Schema.org tags could be useful on some types of sites, but most of them seem superfluous to me.
itemprop="url" standing alone adds nothing.
within the context of an itemscope of an itemtype it is one piece of a data structure.
There is also a risk that HTML5 will be widely misused.
according to schema.org, a URL isn't a "thing" it's a data type used to describe a "thing".
I also cannot understand the point of adding section tags if search engines are going to interpret the page exactly the same was as without them.
Such tags were not necessarily created for search engines but for layout algorithms
A month ago, we reported an issue with fake rich snippets showing up more often in Google's search results. In short, some webmasters were faking their rich snippets and spamming Google with it.
Today I see Pierre Far from Google posted on his Google+ page that you can now report rich snippet spam to Google
As for the point of itemprop=url, look at the example I linked to. It provides a canonical URL for a section of HTML.