Despite rivalry and competition, the “big 3” search engines teamed up on a new initiative, called Schema.org, which will help web publishers to make content more easily understood by search engines, and it is hoped, better represented in the SERPs. Google fellow Ramanathan Guha says, “With Schema.org, site owners can enhance how their sites appear in search results not only on Google, but on Bing, Yahoo, and potentially other search engines as well in the future.” How does it work, and why did the rival search engines come together on this project?
The move to standardize common web tags should benefit everyone from web masters to consumers to the search engines themselves. Webmasters can take any number of routes when marking up pages, or labeling content. Using a common language will make it easy to publish information and achieve greater accuracy in results. Guha says, “We know that it takes time and effort for webmasters to add this markup to their pages, and including markup is much harder if every search engine asks for data in a different way.”
Bing, Yahoo, and Google will then be better able to crawl and index sites, which should, in turn, produce better results for users. Schema has more than 100 HTML tags for categories, including events, people, places, organizations, products, movies and books, and reviews. How might this be helpful? Say a search for “who” is conducted. By using the tags, the search engines are able to distinguish between sites that offer information on The Who, the World Health Organization, or the correct use of who vs. whom without having to guess.