Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces to launch a new website called schema.org. This website was created and will support a common language for structured data markup on web pages.
A shared markup vocabulary will make it easier to gain the maximum benefit from the three big guys and any other company adhering to this standard. Now you don’t have to decide on which markup standard to use.
In terms of your Real Estate website, your developer can now begin to adhere to a common set of standards instead of trying to figure out which markup will work best. Search engines want to make it easier for people to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of this structure.
Here’s a good FAQ right from Schema.org on why this is a positive change.
There are lots of schemas out there. Why create a new one?
Creating a new schema with common support benefits webmasters, search engines and users.
- Webmasters: Schema.org provides webmasters with a single place to go to learn about markup, instead of having to graft together a schema from different sources, each with its own rules, conventions and learning curves.
- Search engines: Schema.org focuses on defining the item types and properties that are most valuable to search engines. This means search engines will get the structured information they need most to improve search.
- Users: When it is easier for webmasters to add markup, and search engines see more of the markup they need, users will end up with better search results and a better experience on the web.
Will Schema.org replace Facebook Open Graph? NO. Open Graph is a great markup that establishes a connection between websites that’s content associated with real life things such as a news article, photo, video, or similar and in essence turns your webpage into a Facebook page. This means when a user clicks a Like button on your page, a connection is made between your page and the user. Your page will appear in the “Likes and Interests” section of the user’s profile, and you have the ability to publish updates to the user. Your page will show up in the same places that Facebook pages show up around the site (e.g. search), and you can target ads to people who like your content. The Open Graph data you provide defines how your page will be represented on Facebook.
OK, so let’s break this all down into something we all can understand.
What is markup language? The markup language is code developers put into your webpages (the world does not see them) that helps the search engines better understand and helps them easily find the relevant data on your web page. This is really important when your webpages are talking to a database (example your listings).
Why use Open Graph? Let’s face it, Social Media is a foundation in the Real Estate Industry and with Open Graph you can make your web pages behave like a Facebook page, how cool is that? Now you can take pages like community and news and insert them into the Facebook world.
Our developers at RE/Advantage have embraced all of these concepts and they leverage these into the projects they create, giving you more exposure for your website. As competition increases every little positive change you can make is important for your website’s success. If you need some help with your website, drop me a note. I would be happy to take a look.