Content is king! Microdata is queen.

Microdata logo

Microdata logo

Content is king, even more so for search engines! They don’t care about how your site looks or works, search engines care about your site’s content.

To improve your ranking you can optimise your content, for example by using better targeted keywords. Another approach is using Microdata, or data about your content that search engines can understand.

With the latest 3.3 release Joomla added Microdata support for articles. We couldn’t stay behind and with the upcoming releases of Docman and Fileman we are also adding support for Microdata.

What is Microdata

Essentially, microdata is one of three code languages designed to provide search-engine spider programs with information about website content. To understand how this works in practice, consider the following example provided by microdata listing website Schema.org:

Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example,
Avatar tells the browser to display the text string <h1>Avatar</h1> in a ‘heading 1′ format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.

In this case, microdata elements — also called “schema tags”– could be added to clarify that the “Avatar” in question is a movie, not a graphic image designed to represent a person online.

Microdata is a WHATWG HTML specification used to add semantic meaning to HTML elements so that search engines, web crawlers and browser can extract and process information properly. In short, microdata allows machines to understand what our web pages and their content are all about.

Introducing Schema.org

Microdata alone doesn’t solve the problem of making the web more accessible if everyone doesn’t rely on a standardized set of schemas. This is where Schema.org comes in, a collaborative effort between Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex to provide a collection of schemas to markup HTML pages and provided

To get a feel for what your finished marked-up code will look like, lets examine the Joomla 3.3 article markup using the Article and Person schemas:

<div itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Article">
    <!-- Author of the content -->
    <span>
        Written by
        <span itemprop="author" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Person">
            <span itemprop="name">John Doe</span>
        </span>
    </span>
    <!-- The content -->
    <span itemprop="articleBody">Here is the article text...</span>
</div>

In this example, the “article” microdata itemtype tag has been added to the “div” section, specifying that information in this text area of the site refers to an article. The “itemscope” tag tells the search engines that all content in this particular “div” section relates to the “itemtype” defined (in this case, “article”).

Itemprop attributes have been added to relevant “span” sections. The value contains the name of the property and tthe content of the section is used as the value for the property.

Microdata in DOCman and FILEman

We worked hard in the past weeks to implement microdata markup for the upcoming stable releases of DOCman 2.0 and FILEman 2.0.

DOCman will output microdata using the CreativeWork schema and uses the following item properties:

  1. itemprop=”name”
  2. itemprop=”datePublished”
  3. itemprop=”dateModified”
  4. itemprop=”author”
  5. itemprop=”genre”
  6. itemprop=”interactionCount”
  7. itemprop=”thumbnailUrl”
  8. itemprop=”description”

FILEman will output microdata using ImageGallery and ImageObject schemas and uses the following item properties:

  1. itemprop=”name”
  2. itemprop=”width”
  3. itemprop=”height”
  4. itemprop=”contentUrl”
  5. itemprop=”thumbnail”
  6. itemprop=”caption”

Microdata in DOCman and FILEman

For more insight on how to integrate microdata into your site’s HTML code, try reading the “Getting Started Guide” on Schema.org. More information about Microdata in Joomla can also be found in the Joomla documentation.

To check the microdata being used by Joomla or Joomla extensions consider running your site through Google’s “Rich Snippets Testing Tool” to be sure your microdata is parsing correctly and providing the maximum benefit to your pages.

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