Not only a fun word to say, “Schema” is also a word that’s likely to be heard more as search engines and social networks fight to improve user experiences (while adding levels of competition for revenue-generating advertisers). When SEO and content marketing folk start chatting about schema, here’s an overview of what they mean.
In the real world, we understand things largely by the context in which we experience them. For example: If I didn’t know English very well and somebody said “It sure is cold today,” I might be able to understand the word cold is related to climate because I can feel a cold day. But if someone said “I have a cold,” I might understand cold to mean something a person can possess, possibly a physical condition because we can see and hear when someone has a cold. If someone just said “cold,” without a context for me to understand the word, I wouldn’t know what he or she was talking about.
Now consider a search engine like someone new to the English language. If you search for a term, the search engine can have a difficult time deciding what things mean because it only has past user information from which to rely, AKA it’s experience. If 50-percent of searchers search cold as it refers to weather and 50-percent search cold as it pertains to human health, a search engine is going to spit out results for each kind of cold. A schema is a way to mark up and organize content so that search engines have an easier time figuring out what your content is about and/or means. Schemas provide a context for content.
Smart people with time and budgets to perform what I’ll just call “schematics,” will start to add specialized tags to their content in order to improve the likelihood that folks will find their content. You will notice I’ve added a few of the specialized tags here, see image. Of course it’s up to me to determine the value of the time commitment. I could tag every bit of information in this post, but if it doesn’t increase my search results, the investment was not worth the return.
For more info and a list of special schema tags visit schema.org. Let us know if you start to experiment schemas. We’d love to hear about it and anything else new you've thought about trying.