Google, Yahoo and Microsoft unite to standardise web tags

Written on 17 June, 2011 by Charlotte Norman
Categories Marketing Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine giants Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing have joined together in an effort to launch This site provides one repository for a common set of schemas and HTML tags that webmasters can use to mark-up their pages in ways recognised by major search providers.

The group has already created more than a hundred HTML mark-up tags in categories ranging from movies to music to products. It is hoped that the numbers will continue to grow as the project gets further feedback from webmasters.

So why is there a need for such a uniformed approach? Well, many websites 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 mark-up 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. Mark-up can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.

This shared mark-up vocabulary will make it much easier for webmasters to decide on a mark-up schema and obtain the best results from doing so. It will hopefully have the intended effect of helping website publishers improve how their sites appear in major search engines, as well as making overall website content more enjoyable and relevant for users.

All of the schemas which are in the repository are listed either by type and listed in a hierarchy. Types include creative works, such as books, movies, or audio recordings, as well as places, persons, reviews or products.

The move comes two years after Google dipped a toe into the structured data mark-up pool with Google search snippets. It is thought that websites that already include micro formats or RDFa supported by rich snippets will still appear with rich snippets on Google.

What is provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags that webmasters can use to mark-up their pages in ways recognised by major search providers. Search engines including Bing, Google and Yahoo! rely on this mark-up to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.

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