schema.org FAQ

About schema.org

What is schema.org?

schema.org is a collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! to improve the web by creating a structured data markup schema supported by major search engines. On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on webpages and provide richer results. A shared markup vocabulary makes it easier for webmasters to decide on a markup schema and get maximum benefit for their efforts.

If you’ve marked up your content for rich snippets using microformats, microdata, or RDFa, then you're already familiar with the process. schema.org works the same way, using the microdata markup format and a vocabulary that is shared by all the search engines and that supports a wide variety of item types and properties. To learn more about microdata and schema.org, read the Getting Started guide.

Why did you create schema.org?

Having a single vocabulary and markup syntax that is supported by the major search engines means that webmasters don’t have to make tradeoffs based on which markup type is supported by which search engine. schema.org supports a wide collection of item types, although not all of these are yet used to create rich snippets. With schema.org, webmasters have a single place to go to learn about markup for a wide selection of item types, search engines get structured information that helps improve search result quality, and users end up with better search results and a better experience on the web.

Why microdata? Why not RDFa or microformats?

Historically, we’ve supported three different standards for structured data markup: microdata, microformats, and RDFa. Instead of having webmasters decide between competing formats, we’ve decided to focus on just one format for schema.org. In addition, a single format will improve consistency across search engines relying on the data. There are arguments to be made for preferring any of the existing standards, but we’ve found that microdata strikes a balance between the extensibility of RDFa and the simplicity of microformats, so this is the format that we’ve gone with.

To get an overview of microdata as well as the conventions followed by schema.org, take a look at the schema.org Getting Started guide.

How does schema.org relate to Facebook Open Graph?

Facebook Open Graph serves its purpose well, but it doesn't provide the detailed information search engines need to improve the user experience. A single web page may have many components, and it may talk about more than one thing. Even if you mark up your content for Facebook Open Graph, schema.org provides an additional way to provide more detail about particular entities on the page.

For example, a page about a band could include any or all of the following:

  • A list of albums
  • A price for each album
  • A list of songs for each album, along with a link to hear samples of each song
  • A list of upcoming shows
  • Bios of the band members

Each of these pieces of information can be represented as a schema.org type. If you mark them up using schema.org, search engines will have a much stronger understanding of your page's content.

Is schema.org available in multiple languages?

Schema.org markup can be used on web pages written in any language. The schema.org site is currently available in English only, but we plan to translate to other languages in the future.

Why should I add markup? What will I get out of it? How will the data be used?

Search engines are using on-page markup in a variety of ways—for example, Google uses it to create rich snippets in search results. Not every type of information in schema.org will be surfaced in search results but over time you can expect that more data will be used in more ways. In addition, since the markup is publicly accessible from your web pages, other organizations may find interesting new ways to make use of it as well.

Marking up content with schema.org

How do I mark up my site using this schema?

Check out the Getting Started guide on the schema.org site, or browse the type hierarchy. Many of the types list examples showing sample HTML before and after adding schema.org markup, which you can use to figure out the corresponding markup that applies for your own site. You should also test your markup to make sure it is implemented correctly. You can use the Google structured data testing tool to see what information Google can extract from your pages.

Why doesn't the structured data testing tool show a preview of my search result snippet?

Currently, you can use the testing tool to see what information Google can extract from your pages. We're working on updating the tool so you can see how content marked up with schema.org might appear in search results.

Will marking up my content change my site’s search result snippet?

Google currently supports rich snippets for people, events, reviews, productsrecipes, and breadcrumb navigation, and you can use the new schema.org markup for these types, just as with our regular markup formats. Because we’re always working to expand our functionality and improve the relevance and presentation of our search results, schema.org contains many new types that Google may use in future applications.

Does schema.org support all the information types already supported for microdata/microformats/RDFa?

Yes. Anything that could be done using a previous markup format can be done using schema.org.

I’ve already marked up my content using microdata / microformats / RDFa. Do I need to start again from scratch?

Google will continue to support rich snippets for existing content, so you don’t need to redo existing content in the new schema.org format. Changing to the new markup format could be helpful over time because you will be switching to a standard that is accepted across all three companies, but you don’t have to do it.

Do I have to mark up every property?

It’s fine to mark up only some properties of an item—markup isn’t an all-or-nothing choice. However, marking up as much content as possible helps search engines better understand your content and present it in the most useful way. For many types, Google needs a minimum amount of information to be able to present your content in rich snippets. You can use the structured data testing tool to see what information Google can extract from your marked-up pages (we don't yet support previewing how your content might appear in search results, but we're working on it).

Will using schema.org improve my site’s performance in search?

Google doesn’t use markup for ranking purposes at this time—but rich snippets can make your web pages appear more prominently in search results, so you may see an increase in traffic.

My website contains content that isn’t supported by schema.org. Will you add it? How do I mark it up in the meantime?

If you publish content of an unsupported type, you have three options:

  • Do nothing (don’t mark up the content in any way). However, before you decide to do this, check to see if any of the types supported by schema.org—such as reviews, comments, images, or breadcrumbs—are relevant.
  • Use a less-specific markup type. For example, schema.org has no "Professor" type. However, if you have a directory of professors in your university department, you could use the Person type to mark up the information for every professor in the directory.
  • If you're feeling ambitious, use the schema.org extension system to define a new type.
How do I report bugs or make suggestions? I still haven’t gotten an answer to my question.

Check out the official schema.org FAQ, or try posting a question in our forum.