Do you think Google will use Schema extensions built by experts?
Bill: There are subject matter experts and there are experts on creating Schema, and ideally an extension will involve both types of experts. To read up on extensions to Schema, there is a page on Schema.org specifically about extensions here.
There are experts writing in their fields. Here’s an example of a Schema extension about the Financial Business Industry Ontology. Here is another example from GS1, the organization that brought barcodes to brick-and-mortar stores. If you run an e-commerce site, visiting the GS1 demo is recommended.
Question: When should I not use Schema?
Bill: Schema is an opportunity to present information from your site in a machine-readable fashion, much like using an XML sitemap on your site is an alternative to an HTML sitemap. Just as the information from an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap should be consistent, the Schema vocabulary and the HTML you use on a page should be consistent as well.
The use of Schema allows a site owner to describe the content of a site in ways that may be meaningful to a search engine, using data definitions that have been agreed to by subject matter experts who have worked on the particular Schema vocabulary that may be appropriate for your site and the content that it contains.
The example in the slide below shows Schema Vocabulary using JSON-LD for a tourist attraction entity. With Schema, you are telling search engines about the entities that appear on your pages and giving them important information that makes it easy to identify the entities you are writing about.
Presenting the content your pages cover in this manner adds a preciseness to your pages in a way which can give the search engines a greater understanding of what your page is about, and that makes it more likely that a search engine will bring people interested in the entities and concepts you are writing about to your pages. The Schema in that example is about Hyde Park, and it provides a URL for more information about Hyde Park that helps the search engine identify the exact entity that the page is about.
Question: Is it OK to use the sameAs property to link to local citation URLs for Local SEO?
Bill: The Schema Property page for “Same as” limits the usage of this value to the use of URLs that have value as identifiers:
URL of a reference Web page that unambiguously indicates the item’s identity. E.g. the URL of the item’s Wikipedia page, Wikidata entry, or official website.
Wikipedia or Wikidata pages have notability requirements to meet before something may earn a page on those sites. If there isn’t one of those or an official website, you may not want to use a sameAs link.
Google has stated they do like seeing social profiles for sites and may include those in knowledge panels when they are in the Schema for a site. From Google Developers:
Use structured data markup embedded in your public website to specify your preferred social profiles.
They also tell us the social profiles specified should be ones people may see on the pages of the site in the HTML.
Unless Google specifies that they want to see local citation URLs for local SEO purposes in the markup of a page on your site, I probably wouldn’t consider using them, because it likely will not have any benefit.
There is a Schema.org community group where questions can be asked, and the group does include people from the search engines who work on Schema and interact with people who produce things such as rich snippets.
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