Search Engines have integrated the use of microdata tagging to generate more relevant and more detailed search results. This provides web owners another opportunity to improve their SEO adding some mark up to their web pages.
What is microdata? Essentially, it is one language designed to provide search engine programs with information about website content. To understand it better take a look at the following example provided by Schema.org:
“Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string ‘Avatar’ in a ‘heading 1’ format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.”
In this case, microdata elements — also called “schema tags”– could be added to clarify that the “Avatar” in question is a movie, not a graphic image designed to represent a person online.
Why use microdata to mark up your pages? Integrating microdata into your website’s code offers a number of potential advantages. First, microdata can give the search-engine robots more context for the type of information and the way the site should be indexed. In the example, adding microdata to mark up HTML code on a web page related to the movie “Avatar” would tell search-engine spiders to rank the page in relation to movie sites, not graphic design sites.
Google, Bing and Yahoo have considerably expanded the range of options in the library of microdata tags. Some of the most popular types include:
Small local businesses, such as restaurants and stores, and online retailers stand to benefit most from the inclusion of microdata. But it can be useful to any business having trouble generating traffic through search results.
These tags can help your site get indexed and ranked more accurately, and the resulting rich snippets can help your site stand out from others on the results page and drive more traffic to you.
To get a feel for what your finished marked-up code will look like, consider the following fictional HTML page for the “Avatar” example:
Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)
In this example, the “movie” microdata tag has been added to the “div” section, specifying that information in this text area of the site refers to a film. The “itemscope” tag tells the search engines that all content in this particular “div” section relates to the “itemtype” defined (in this case, “movie”); and the “itemprop” tells its name.
For more insight on how to integrate microdata into your site’s HTML code, try reading the “Getting Started Guide” on Schema.org. After your coding is complete, consider running your website through Google’s “Rich Snippets Testing Tool” to be sure your data is parsing correctly and providing the maximum benefit to your pages.
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