The Internet is a vast world that is constantly changing and evolving. As more people log on, the necessity for organization of content and increasing findability of relevant sources are increasing at a rapid rate. This growing need requires major advances in the way information is cataloged, and developers have jumped on the opportunity to create new tools for this purpose. Among the more recent advances is the introduction of Schema.org, which allows search engines to more accurately gauge the relevance of web content.
When I use a search engine, I am under the impression that the highest ranked websites will be the most relevant to my search terms. Unfortunately, as you likely know, this is far from being the case. Changes to Google and the way other popular search engines rank web results, however, are constantly seeking new ways to categorize content in order to make search results more consistent. Schema.org has made large strides in this area, and you will notice that it offers many important benefits to both web searchers and search engines, alike.
Let’s start by explaining exactly what Schema.org’s goal is, and then I will discuss exactly what it does to achieve that goal. Schema.org was designed in order to help search engines better understand your content. It also gives website owners or content publishers of another kind, a way to gain more control over their published content. It does this by offering crawlers more information to scan and analyze in order to determine the relevance of a certain page, video, or article.
In order to provide this additional information, Schema.org allows webmasters and content publishers to markup their content with facts and descriptions. Many formats are supported, including microdata, microformats, and RDFA. Even the outdated open graph platform of Facebook is supported in order to make this tool as accessible as possible. No matter which format you use, you will be able to markup your content in order to make it easier for searchers to find.
How Is It Different?
There is one clarification that I must make, and that is the difference between Schema metadata and traditional metadata. Traditional metadata is often viewed as being equal to tagging. For example, you post a “How to” video about building a table and then tag it with popular search terms, such as “do it yourself,” “table building,” etc., in the hopes that more people will view the video this way.
The trouble with tagging is that it is not a reliable source of determining relevance. Metadata in this form is much too easy to manipulate, frustrating search engines with results that pose no use to the searcher. In fact, this is why search engines like Google don’t pay much attention to keyword tagging anymore, as spammers were taking advantage of the rankings.
Schema.org works by crawling over descriptions associated with a page or video in order to gain a more complete understanding of the content. A search engine cannot read a video, for example, but has to rely on the video description in order to categorize it. Schema.org makes this possible, and it does so with simplicity.
Wide acceptance of Schema.org makes it very easy for you to start using this tool to your advantage. All major search engines support the introduction of Schema.org. I’m eager to see how it will change the face of search engine rankings, which I am sure it will do. How could it not, after all? By offering webmasters more control over their content, Schema.org is also offering Internet users more control over their searching experience. Everyone benefits from this new way to organize content, ensuring the highest level of relevance possible.
Not only does Schema.org allow the most relevant content to be isolated, but it works to analyze the different relationships between available content. Using what have been coined as “rich snippet tags” within the supported metadata markups, Schema.org allows a more accurate assessment of the relevance of competing content. While the URL of a certain web page was the priority at one time, the priority now becomes the content within that page, and how it relates to the search terms provided.
Additionally, because this is a relatively new introduction to the World Wide Web the potential is currently at its highest. Early investors are often those that see the biggest return, meaning this is the perfect time to start using Schema.org to filter your content. The longer you wait, the longer your competitors will have to build their own reputation over yours. I suggest familiarizing yourself with this incredible new tool as soon as possible in order to reap the most benefits possible!