If you’re unfamiliar with Schema.org, it’s a vocabulary, which, when used as part of a page’s HTML markup, allows search engines to understand some of the ‘meaning’ of page content. Previously, search engines were dependent on keywords and other data to produce their results. This meant that it was impossible for them to understand products and their relationships in a way that could be communicated easily to searchers.
Semantic markup, using either microdata or RDFa syntax, allows a much more complex understanding of products, and has the potential to lead to significantly richer search results.
The recently announced integration of the two most popular eCommerce schemas means that eCommerce retailers can now indicate the nature of their goods in much more precise terms.
For example, there are now 25 product-specific categories available in Schema.org. Retailers can specify the physical properties of their products, including height, weight, and condition. They can also specify how products relate to each other: a wheel is a spare part for a car.
Other additions include extensions to offer-specific properties, among which is markup for offer availability, conditions, and warranty types.
At the moment, the major benefit of schematic markup are the rich snippets that appear on search engine results pages. Because Google and others can now understand the nature of products in a richer and more ‘human’ way, it can display those products so that relevant information is made immediately available to searchers.
From an SEO perspective, it’s an efficient way of making sure that searchers who click on a search listing are making the right choice. There’s also evidence that the appearance of the rich snippets encourages a higher click-through rate than standard results.
Schema.org and Magento
For users of Magento, there is an extension available to simplify the inclusion of schematic metadata in product pages.
Schema.org and WordPress
Online retailers should consider investigating using schema markup for their products. As the adoption of semantic technology grows, its usefulness will increase beyond search engine optimization. Getting to grips with Schema.org now will help to both future-proof sites and to ensure that they are making the most of the opportunity for increased visibility in Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and others.