Microdata: Help Search Engines Better Serve Your Visitors with Schema

Schema and schema.org is a joint effort “sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex.” The goal of schema is to promote and maintain “schemas” for structured data online. Although schema is sponsored by the aforementioned organizations, many members of the web community have made substantial contributions to the growth and adaptation of schema. From Schema.org, you can learn a lot about the overall effort and discover that Github is used to track issues and store the different vocabularies. You’ll also learn that greater than 10 Million websites use schema.

Schema has been around for more than a few years and recently it’s getting more and more popular, but I am also amazed at how many developers and search engine optimizers completely neglect schema MICRODATA. I can only assume they don’t think it’s worth the time. Unfortunately for them and their clients, it is. It’s an incredible way to tell search engines more about a webpage. The products and services on the webpage.

Luckily for you, this article isn’t entirely about Schema, it’s an article that’s going to show you examples of how to use schema MICRODATA to better optimize your website for search engines. Don’t worry, it’s not hard to do, but it is an extra step in the already very long-list of tasks webmasters and optimizer’s have to do. That said, it’s worth it.

Schema has been around for years. It’s well documented and there are a great deal of online resources dedicated to helping you create and test schema for just about anything. You can create schema and test to ensure it’s accurate before putting it online.

By using Google or Bing to search for specific schema examples, you can help ensure you use the best markup for your service, product, website or address. The schema examples below are using the microdata format.

<h4>Local Business Schema Markup Example</h4>  

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
   <span itemprop="name">XYZ Plumbing </span>
   <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
     <span itemprop="streetAddress">12122 E. Example Drive</span>
     <span itemprop="addressLocality">Cedar</span>,
     <span itemprop="addressRegion">Michigan</span>
     <span itemprop="postalCode">85678</span>
     <link itemprop="sameAs" href="https://plus.google.com/+XYZPlumbing">
   </div>
   Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">555-555-1234</span>
   <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Toys%22R%22Us/@33.2690821,-111.9287079,12z/data=!4m5!1m2!2m1!1stoys+r+us!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x1652189ff8cc0a0d" itemprop="maps">URL of Map</a> 
</div>


<h4>Law Firm Schema Markup</h4> 

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Attorney">
   <span itemprop="name">XYZ Law Firm PLC</span>
   <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
     <span itemprop="streetAddress">5558 E. Fake Road</span>
     <span itemprop="addressLocality">Erie</span>,
     <span itemprop="addressRegion">New York</span>
     <span itemprop="postalCode">94949</span>
     <link itemprop="sameAs" href="https://plus.google.com/+XYZLawFirmPLC">
   </div>
   Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">555-555-4598</span>
   <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Toys%22R%22Us/@33.2690821,-111.9287079,12z/data=!4m5!1m2!2m1!1stoys+r+us!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x1652189ff8cc0a0d" itemprop="maps">URL of Map</a>

<h4>Physician Schema Markup</h4> 

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Physician">
   <span itemprop="name">Dr. Pickens</span>
   <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
     <span itemprop="streetAddress">34226 Westlake Drive</span>
     <span itemprop="addressLocality">St. Louis</span>,
     <span itemprop="addressRegion">Washington</span>
     <span itemprop="postalCode">90210</span>
     <link itemprop="sameAs" href="https://plus.google.com/+DrPickens">
   </div>
   Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">555-545-3333</span>
   <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Disneyland+Park/@33.8120962,-117.9211629,17z/data=!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0x80dcd7d12b3b5e6b:0x2ef62f8418225cfa!2sDisneyland+Park!3b1!3m1!1s0x80dcd7d12b3b5e6b:0x2ef62f8418225cfa" itemprop="maps">URL of Map</a> 

<h4>Real Estate Agent Schema Markup</h4>

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/RealEstateAgent">
   <span itemprop="name">ABC Real Estate</span>
   <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
     <span itemprop="streetAddress">12 S. Westerlake Rd</span>
     <span itemprop="addressLocality">Mesa</span>,
     <span itemprop="addressRegion">California</span>
     <span itemprop="postalCode">85296</span>
     <link itemprop="sameAs" href="https://plus.google.com/+ABCRealEstate">
   </div>
   Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">555-555-8888</span>
   <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Disneyland+Park/@33.8120962,-117.9211629,17z/data=!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0x80dcd7d12b3b5e6b:0x2ef62f8418225cfa!2sDisneyland+Park!3b1!3m1!1s0x80dcd7d12b3b5e6b:0x2ef62f8418225cfa" itemprop="maps">URL of Map</a> 
</div>

T-Shirt Product Schema (using the generator above will produce a much more 
condensed piece of microdata, you can use the generator or this example, both
will be helpful for search engines).

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
  <span itemprop="brand">LBZ</span>
  <span itemprop="name">Large Skate Shirt</span>
  <img itemprop="image" src="large-skate-shirt.jpg" alt="Large Skate Shirt" />
  <span itemprop="description">LBZ's large skate shirt is comfortable and built well. It's durable and 
meant to form fit around the body. 
  </span>
  Product #: <span itemprop="mpn">929892</span>
  <span itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating">
    <span itemprop="ratingValue">4.8</span> stars, based on <span itemprop="reviewCount">93
      </span> reviews
  </span>

  <span itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
    Regular price: $29.99
    <meta itemprop="priceCurrency" content="USD" />
    $<span itemprop="price">15.99</span>
    (Sale ends <time itemprop="priceValidUntil" datetime="2016-11-05">
      5 November!</time>)
    Available from: <span itemprop="seller" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization">
                      <span itemprop="name">Executive Objects</span>
                    </span>
    Condition: <link itemprop="itemCondition" href="http://schema.org/UsedCondition"/>Previously owned, in excellent condition
    <link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/InStock"/>In stock! Order now!</span>
  </span>
</div>

<h4>Recipes Schema</h4> 

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Recipe">
  <h1 itemprop="name">Key Lime Pie</h1>
  <img itemprop="image" src="keylimepie.jpg" />
  By <span itemprop="author" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
       <span itemprop="name">Donald Trump</span>
     </span>
  Published: <time datetime="2012-10-05" itemprop="datePublished">
    October 5, 2012</time>
  <span itemprop="description">This is Donald Trump's famous Key Lime Pie reciepe and is absolutely delicious.</span>
  <span itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating">
    <span itemprop="ratingValue">5.0</span> stars based on
    <span itemprop="reviewCount">5555</span> reviews </span>
  Prep time: <time datetime="PT60M" itemprop="prepTime">60 min</time>
  Cook time: <time datetime="PT1H" itemprop="cookTime">1 hour</time>
  Total time: <time datetime="PT2H" itemprop="totalTime">2 Hours</time>
  Yield: <span itemprop="recipeYield">1 9" pie (8 servings)</span>
  <span itemprop="nutrition" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/NutritionInformation">
    Serving size: <span itemprop="servingSize">1 small slice</span>
    Calories per serving: <span itemprop="calories">200 cal</span>
    Fat per serving: <span itemprop="fatContent">9 g</span>
  </span>
  Ingredients:
    <span itemprop="recipeIngredient">1 lime</span>
    <span itemprop="recipeIngredient">3/4 cup key lime juice</span>
    <span itemprop="recipeIngredient">3 cups sweetened condensed milk</span>
    <span itemprop="recipeIngredient">1 tablespoon grated lime</span>
    <span itemprop="recipeIngredient">whip cream</span>
  ...

  Directions:
    <div itemprop="recipeInstructions">
      1. Mix ingredients together
      2. Add whip cream around the edges of the pie.
      3. Decorate the pie with the lime
      ...
    </div>
</div>

<h4>Articles Schema</h4>

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/NewsArticle">
  <h2 itemprop="headline">12 Reasons Why High Blood Pressure Kills</h2>
  <h3 itemprop="alternativeHeadline">America's New Deadly Phenom</h3>
  <span itemprop="description">This article discusses why and how blood pressure kills.
It's a comprehensive look at what it's doing to American's and why it can't be easily stopped.</span>
  <span itemprop="articleBody">The full body of the article</span>
  <img itemprop="image" src="bloodpressure.jpg" alt="thumbnail 1 summary"/>
  <img itemprop="image" src="obeseman.jpg" alt="thumbnail 2 summary"/>
  <meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2012-12-05T08:00:00+08:00"/>
</div>

Developers.Google.com offers a great deal of information about the many different schema markup languages including RDFA, JSON-LD & MICRODATA. The above examples are only a fraction of the microdata possibilities your business can use to increase user engagement, increase click-thru rates, increase conversions and possibly increase rankings.