When search engines announced a universal vocabulary for the next generation of structured data markup we all thought our lives just got a lot easier. The Schema.org vocabulary offers a greater flexibility in the choice of attributes to mark up data on a web page. Richard explained the background in greater detail over on seomoz.
I decided to ask, ‘does it work?’ by testing it on a site that has hReview rich snippets in Google’s search results.
For our test, we replaced the existing hReview aggregate with the Schema.org aggregate-review equivalent:
Testing structured data implementation
During testing, it was extremely difficult to ascertain whether a Schema.org code snippet will parse correctly into Google’s search results as the rich snippets testing tool doesn’t validate that the code will parse into a snippet:
This could simply mean that the tool needs an update to validate this mark up.
Once we had embedded the schema.org mark up on our case study site, this too was tested in the rich snippets testing tool with the exact same result.
No rich snippets produced after re-indexing / caching the page
We eagerly waited for the site to be cached in Google. After the page was reindexed, nothing. We waited several weeks only to find rich snippets were not being generated. Throughout the test we were extremely confident that the code was correctly implemented and matched the appropriate vocabulary at Schema.org
It’s important to note the following considerations for our test:
The domain benefits greatly from its rich snippets. We were unwilling to roll out the change site wide unless we saw evidence that the markup would work in the testing tool or in the search results pages.
The test page itself used only Schema.org (all Microformats were removed).
We assume that approval for Microformats also wins approval for Schema.org.
So is it worth it?
The short answer is we don’t know. With Google bringing updates for their own Microformats support [can you link to whatever this is] I’m left wondering how schema.org will fit in and what, if anything Google and the other search engines plan to do to encourage webmasters to implement the approach. It’s extremely difficult to find anyone who has had success with the markup, so it seems there’s a long way to go.
A slightly confusing example in the wild:
This website has integrated schema.org vocabulary but if you check in the Google testing tool for the above rich snippet, you will notice mark up for hreview-aggregate. If this code is removed from the page, no rich snippet is generated in the testing tool and I suspect this for Google as well.
I would love to see some examples of sites using Schema.org returning a rich snippet in Google’s SERPs. If you’ve come across any, do leave a comment!