Schema.org Actions Help Google Better Understand Your Content
Schema.org Evolves, Adds Actions
If you want to improve the line of communication between your site’s content and Google’s robots, then there’s big news in the world of semantic markup.
For the uninitiated, the Semantic Web, contextualized by languages like Schema.org, is critical in translating and clarifying structured data for search engines to recognize, making it the backbone for services like Google Now, Cortana and Siri. Specifically, Schema.org is used by search engines to create rich snippets in search results to display additional information about reviews, events, recipes, and more.
Last week, Schema.org announced a new vocabulary of actions to help search engines better understand web content. It is hard to speculate exactly how search engines might use this new vocabulary to enhance search results with rich snippets, but the new Action schema could affect search in the following ways:
Why the Schema.org Update is Important For Businesses
Bing was quoted by Search Engine Land as saying the following:
“The primary goal of schema.org has always been to provide webmasters with a common vocabulary for use in describing their data. The new Actions vocabulary, especially the terms associated with potential actions, extends this goal to include describing services as well.”
This has huge implications for businesses. The new action vocabulary essentially allows businesses to markup their services using Schema.org. For example, at Chicago Style SEO, we could use similar code to that shown in the below example from Schema.org to markup our web development service and make our content even more apparent to search engines.
As a business, using Schema.org in this manner will help search engines understand your services better. Rather than using keywords and hope Google understands what services you offer, you can now use the new action vocabulary to explicitly describe your services to search engines – not that I’m advocating anyone to stop using keywords.
Schema.org Update for App Developers
Bing has already been using a draft version of the new EntryPoint schema to enable app linking in search results, which is simply the ability for browsers to link to actual apps when appropriately cued by a relevant search. Now that Schema.org actions are finalized, app linking will probably become even more prevalent within search results. Startups take note—using app linking could create a direct link to your app from within search results, which would certainly increase conversions.
The end result of Schema.org Actions will ultimately be felt on the user’s end. Theoretically, as the adoption of Schema.org increases, the search results given to the user should become more accurate and relevant. Search engines are pushing for the adoption of schema.org by webmasters, and have been steadily rolling out more rich snippets.
Alexandre Passant, a contributor to DERI, envisioned the new action vocabulary being used to make the web a more social space. If sites like Facebook, Yelp, Spotify, etc. adopt the new Schema.org actions, they can markup their users’ behaviors in a shared language, meaning actions by their users such as reviews, comments, listens, etc., could be integrated into search results and between apps.
According to a study by Search Metrics, sites with Schema.org markup have an average ranking FOUR spots above sites that do not (though it’s important to keep in mind that sites using schema are probably implementing other types of optimization). And even though Schema.org adoption is pretty insignificant at the moment, that is exactly the reason why you should be using it. The schema.org vocabulary will continue to grow and evolve at the strong behest of the search giants, and you should be considering ways to implement it on your site if you’re not already.