Back in June, Google, Bing and Yahoo! announced a joint effort to build a schema for describing content the web. The first schema.org workshop took place last week in Mountain View, CA. I had the chance to participate in the event, and meet the folks behind schema.org as well as other members of the web community such as Tantek Celik (Microformats), Ian Hickson (HTML5), Ben Adida & Ivan Herman (RDFa), Dan Brickley (FOAF) and many others. RV Guha from Google announced several interesting schema.org partnerships:
Lots going on around schema.org! You can read Eric Franzon's report for more details: Schema.org Workshop – A Path Forward.
One of the highlights of the workshop for me was the syntax break out session, where most of the key players of the microformats, RDFa and microdata communities were present. The room was full of people passionate about structured data, and the atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly. We exchanged our opinions and pros/cons about each syntax (more on that in a different post). The outcome was a rough consensus that the community needs to keep supporting multiple syntaxes, since they are currently all still evolving and learning from one another.
Coincidentally, I noticed on Monday that Google released a new version of the Google Rich Snippets testing tool which supports the schema.org types in RDFa. That's a big deal for Drupal 7 which ships with native RDFa support. I've put together a screencast which shows how it is possible today to enable Rich Snippets on Drupal 7 using the schema.org module.
In this screencast, I cover three types from schema.org: Person, Event and Recipe. See a screenshot of all of them below.
The examples are live on schema.openspring.net and I invite you to try them out:
While Rich Snippets don't improve the ranking of your site, they tend to drive more traffic to your site by making the results of your site more appealing on the SERPs, so this is great news for SEO.
Several weeks ago I had proposed an idea for Drupal 7 RDFa markup testbench for search engines. With Google Rich Snippets supporting schema.org/RDFa, it now makes more sense to do some QA to monitor the support of our markup by Google. In other words, with the right infrastructure, we would be able to detect pretty quickly if something breaks either on our end or on Google testing tool end. I've started collecting such markup snapshots which are known to work on the Google Rich Snippet testing tool, so we can keep a track record of what markup works.
Given the amount of interest in SEO and Rich Snippets in the Drupal Community, I'd like this to be a community effort. If you want to write documentation, record more screencasts, explore new schema.org types, poke at the Google Rich Snippet testing tool to figure out what types work or don't work, you are more than welcome. We also need people to go and try out Yahoo's and Bing's webmaster tools. Bing has plans to support RDFa but as far as I know they haven't launched schema.org support yet. Please get in touch in the schema.org issue queue or post a discussion in the Semantic Web group.