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schema.org seems to enable us to provide metadata for some search engines including Google and Bing so that our pages will display nicely on the web.

My question is should we follow the schema.org and implement the stuff they are introducing?

It looks very reliable and it will last longer than the individual stuff that every single SE is implementing.

What do you think?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Use microdata to mark up useful data

It makes sense to use schema.org markup if you are representing any of the supported data types, and when that data is likely to be useful.

Be aware that microdata makes file sizes bigger

How you evaluate whether data is 'useful' or not is a matter of personal taste. Just be aware that microdata can add weight to a page, so using it for everything isn't necessarily a great idea.

To give you an idea of how much code it can add to a page, here's an example from the ImageObject spec:

Without schema.org microdata:

<h2>Beach in Mexico</h2>
<img src="mexico-beach.jpg" />

By Jane Doe
Photographed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Date uploaded: Jan 25, 2008

I took this picture while on vacation last year.

With schema.org microdata:

<div itemscope itemtype="schema.org/ImageObject">
  <h2 itemprop="name">Beach in Mexico</h2>
  <img src="mexico-beach.jpg" itemprop="contentURL" />

  By <span itemprop="author">Jane Doe</span>
  Photographed in
    <span itemprop="contentLocation">Puerto Vallarta, Mexico</span>
  Date uploaded:
    <meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2008-01-25">Jan 25, 2008

  <span itemprop="description">I took this picture while on vacation last year.</span>
</div>

The extra code isn't necessarily a bad thing, because humans aren't likely to have to read it, but it's worth considering the effect of extra microdata on page load time over mobile networks, for example. For this reason, it might be best to consider what data on your page is likely to be useful to automated scripts and machines, rather than adopting an all-or-nothing approach.

Google recommends you use microdata now

Google already uses schema.org microdata in certain search results, and they say that the number of results (and companies) using it is only likely to increase. From their schema.org FAQ:

Search engines are using on-page markup in a variety of ways—for example, Google uses it to create rich snippets in search results. Not every type of information in schema.org will be surfaced in search results but over time you can expect that more data will be used in more ways. In addition, since the markup is publicly accessible from your web pages, other organizations may find interesting new ways to make use of it as well.

They also point out that they see schema.org microdata as the future of structured data markup, and that they don't plan to support 'competing' formats such as RDFa and microformats:

Historically, we’ve supported three different standards for structured data markup: microdata, microformats, and RDFa. Instead of having webmasters decide between competing formats, we’ve decided to focus on just one format for schema.org. In addition, a single format will improve consistency across search engines relying on the data. There are arguments to be made for preferring any of the existing standards, but we’ve found that microdata strikes a balance between the extensibility of RDFa and the simplicity of microformats, so this is the format that we’ve gone with.

Browser makers are gradually supporting microdata

Browsers are slowly supporting microdata too, so it's likely that we'll start to see better integration in software, which might one day help to automate the process of adding a contact to your address book straight from a web page, or adding an event to your calendar, for example. (Support in the Firefox and Opera browsers is in progress.)

Consider RDFa Lite

Google gave advance notice of support for RDFa 1.1 Lite in November 2011. Although RDFa Lite isn't as descriptive as schema.org microdata, it's easier to learn and implement, and might prove more publisher-friendly for users wanting to adopt microdata fairly quickly. Details of the proposed spec are on the RDFa Lite draft page.

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It's not so much that the schema.org markup makes your pages display nicely, it's that the search engines are able to display more useful data in search results if you've marked up your pages. This may result in more traffic to your site, but it's not guaranteed.

So it's probably worth the effort.

It looks very reliable...

Agreed, as the big players are involved it does look like it might be around for a while.

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Yes it is useful. Also you will get an increase in ranking, compared to your competitors who don't use schema.org tags.

My website. It has applied schema.org tags and it is indexed wonderful. After i added this tags i began ranking higher for the same search results than the websites that were in the business earlier.

It does not hurt to add this tags. I can only strongly recommend it.

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