You may have recently heard Google talking about ‘schemas’, which they hope will allow them to implement their more intuitive ‘semantic search’.
Essentially these schemas are small lines of codes called ‘markups’ that act as annotations for Google’s spiders. These markups tell Google what certain elements on the page actually are, allowing the engine to use them more intuitively.
However this isn’t all that schemas can be use for, and as well as helping Google, these also open up a ream of opportunities for other developers and there are vast applications for how this can be used.
These Schemas are not only used by Google, but Bing, Yahoo and other search engine also understand and display them in their search results.
In case you’re still lost, schemas are basically bits of code that search engines look for to help them categorize your content.
For instance there are markups which tell Google where the relevant images are on your page. This then will allow Google to, in some cases, bring up your link on the SERPs alongside a picture from your site.
This picture can then act as a little advertisement almost like a listing on eBay, and in theory that will draw more attention to your link when people are skimming the SERPs.
The earliest example you might have seen is in the star ratings next to the rich snippets that give you a little glimpse of how popular a service or product is. As a Google user you can now browse for the most well-reviewed page.
If you are on WordPress you can use Author hReview plugins to create these rich snippets for your reviews. The plugin automatically add these markups to your post/pages.
In the future we can also expect to see other raw data in other forms appearing on the SERPs – prices, weights, addresses, durations, distances, dimensions, specs etc etc.
For the visitor it makes for quicker and more informed decisions on what to click, for Google it results in people staying longer on their page.
These Schemas gives an opportunities to present the information in an user friendly way. You can categories the information with the markups and search engines will present it in a way which will benefit the readers.
These will benefit the webmasters also as it will increase the chances of getting their link clicked. It is very easy to add these markups if you know little bit of HTML and it can be done from the HTML editor. You can get detail instructions on how to add these markups in your post from Google Official FAQ.
You can get the full list of supported markups from the official page of Schemas. Currently you can assign wide range of markups including Book, Movie, Music, Event and Creative Work.
These schemas are arranged in a hierarchy order, so you will be able to mark every little detail about your content. You can get the full hierarchy view for these.
These are somewhat similar to Google Sitelinks, which gives an extra exposure in SERP’s. These markup also provide the extra exposure in the SERP listing, which can help in getting a targeted audience.
But for those who have an idea of how to write their own spiders (which are surprisingly easy to do with a little basic coding knowledge) these will present a lot of opportunities.
Before you would have to try and extract raw data from a qualitative source that had no uniform structure – in other words finding where on a website it told you the price of an item would be difficult and would be different for each website.
Now however you could get it to just search for the markup, and the price immediately following that would be the price of your item.
This would be the same for every website (if they all start using schemas) and so simple scripts could mine the web for huge amounts of specific data like this and not worry about layout changes etc.
Idea’s which can generate Leads
So what will we see as a result? Well one obvious application is aggregate review sites – which could easily crawl a few big review sites and use some simple maths in Java or PHP to show an average score for a product.
Likewise you might expect to see more impressive directories and website listings.
Meanwhile you could also realistically expect to see financial reports and financial modelling web apps, you could expect to see performance statistics in various industries, and you could browse for items in an online shop that directly linked to all the other shops on the web.
Price comparison websites meanwhile will have just become a lot easier to code and maintain meaning there will probably be a few more of those popping up soon.
But what will be really interesting will be the more innovative and exciting uses of these schemas. If you know a little code yourself, then now is the time to start innovating…