Back in 2011, Google, Bing and Yahoo decided to support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages. Their goal was to help search engines better understand content on websites. Google has supported structured markup since 2009 using rich snippets, but by agreeing to support the schema.org vocabulary for structured data, developers no longer need to worry about adding markups in a different way for each search engine.
How does Schema and Microdata work?
Schema.org is based on microdata which is described by the semantic vocabulary. When added to a website’s HTML, webmasters can adjust how their pages will appear in search results, but most important it can boost your website in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
There are many different types of schemas that can be used to describe all kinds of content, including everything from events to recipes, and more. Each type has its set of properties that tell the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.
Here is just a glance of how the microdata looks:
<article itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article"> <h1 itemprop="headline">The Title of Your Post</h1> <time datetime="2016-04-18" itemprop="datePublished">May 18, 2016</time> <div itemprop="articleBody">This is the content of your blog post</div> <div itemprop="author" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Person"> <a href="http://website/author/url/"> <span itemprop="name">Author</span> </a> </div> </article>
So what does it all actually mean?
- itemtype – points to the schema.org type for the thing you want to describe (Article, Product, Event…)
- itemscope – defines the scope of the item, meaning the new item type is created within the specified element
- itemprop – semantically telling what the given content is meant to represent (headline, comment, author…)
Once you have added the microdata to its relevant page, you can check it via Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to test whether your rich snippets are properly configured and to find out whether it will be read by Google at all.
What is the essential microdata that every blog/website should have?
If we wanted to cover everything, this would be a very long post. Instead, take a look at our free blogging theme in the Google’s testing tool as an example of what microdata every blog should have.
Benefits of Adding Structured Data (Microdata) to a Website
There are many different reasons for using structured date on your website including:
- Boosting traffic to a website by drawing attention away from competitors and to your website.
- Helping visitors find websites closer to their specifications.
- As structuring data can increase the click-through rate (CTR), it will directly influence your search rankings.
- Structuring data is one way of website optimization (SEO), because it helps search engines to understand the totality of your content.
- Google can treat the structured data on your site as factual and import it into the Knowledge Graph, where it can power prominent answers in Search and across Google properties.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress, there are many plugins that can help you to easily markup your content. We’ve developed our WordPress themes with microdata and data structuring in mind, by building in the latest semantic HTML5 markup, allowing search engines to better index your site. Without plugins or any additional effort, our users will have their content with all necessary tags, simply by posting it on their website. As microdata is one of SEO’s innovations, you should consider taking full advantage of it to get a leg up on your competitors.