Google, Yahoo, And Bing Collaborate On Structured Data To Make Search Listings Richer

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A la 2006, today, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo collectively announced that they will be partnering to create schema.org, a resource for site owners and developers to learn about structured data and gain insight into how to improve their sites’ search results. The site adds more than 100 new forms of website markup for content ranging from movies to places in an effort to standardize, and thus improve, how websites are crawled and presented in search results. “The site aims to be a one stop resource for webmasters looking to add markup to their pages”, Google’s announcement reads.

Yahoo was first to break the news, drawing historical comparisons to the last time the three leading search companies put their heads together to create sitemaps standards. It’s a very interesting move, and will no doubt have website creators the world over paying attention to the new standards advocated by schema.org.

Schema has elements of Yahoo’s longtime Search Monkey project and Google’s rich snippets, which enable websites to improve their position in search results by giving them tools and guidance as to how to do so, and uses meta data to enhance the search results display.

In other words, the site will provide a collection of schemas, or HTML tags, webmasters can add to their pages to make it easy for search providers to recognize their sites, which rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages — and for search engines to display them.

As Google pointed out, it’s a tricky and time-consuming process to add markup to webpages, especially if each search engine asks for data in different ways. How to fix this? Standardize the vocabulary. Which is exactly what they’ve done. And, hey, it might even work on other search engines. Whatever those are. Just kidding, Blekko.

For more, here’s Schema.org’s description of what they’re up to: “Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.”

And for good measure, here’s Yahoo’s announcement, Google’s announcement, and last but not least, Bing’s.