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INTERNATIONAL: Google Launches Schema.org Markup Support for Videos

by Brent Yorzinski, March 20, 2012

Estimated reading time:
2 minutes

Audience:
Webmasters
Top takeaways:
• Google announced video markup for Schema.org
• Modifying the markup is simple and outlined in this article.
• It's likely that this markup is valuable, so be sure to pay attention to it.

On Feb. 21, 2012, Google announced on its webmaster central blog that the search engine is launching video support for Schema.org, calling it “the recommended way to describe videos on the web.” This means, it is increasingly important that all on-page markup relating to video contains as much information as possible.

Schema.org is a partnership amongst Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex to create a structured markup to catalogue snippets of information and use them to enhance the way search engine results may be displayed. The ultimate goal of Schema.org is to make it simpler for people to locate relevant information. More information, including the full definition, can be found at Schema.org.

This, combined with Google’s announcement, makes it even clearer that following the guidelines suggested is valuable. Fortunately, adding the video markup is a relatively straightforward three-step implementation process:

1. Define an itemscope

2. Define an itemtype

3. Set the appropriate properties from http://schema.org/VideoObject.

Previously, markup code for a video about large green aliens might have looked as follows:

<h2>Video: Large Green Aliens</h2>
<object ...>
<param ...>
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" ...>
</object>
Check out this paranormal encounter with large green aliens followed by their in-depth interview with Brent Yorzinski and why they decided to visit earth.

With the addition of Schema.org code, markup for a video about large green aliens might look similar to:

<div itemprop="video" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/VideoObject">
<h2>Video: <span itemprop="name">Large Green Aliens</span></h2>
<meta itemprop="duration" content="T1M33S" />
<meta itemprop="thumbnail" content="large-green-aliens-thumb.jpg" />
<object ...>
<param ...>
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" ...>
</object>
<span itemprop="description">Check out this paranormal encounter with large green aliens followed by their in-depth interview with Brent Yorzinski and why they decided to visit earth.</span>
</div>

As well as the above, additional snippets can be added, such as the examples below (from Schema.org):

videoobject.png

From an SEO perspective, it is recommended to include as much detail as possible and utilize all relevant properties from the VideoObject chart. For example, ”caption”, “thumbnail” and “transcript” are likely to be relatively important search engine signals, although this is not an exhaustive list.

How this markup will display in Google’s search results is not yet clear. The ways videos are displayed currently is most likely to be similar to the way videos with this markup will eventually be displayed. Although Google suggests using its Rich Snippets Testing Tool to see if the markup data is formatted properly, at the time of writing, it does not provide an example of a preview for video markup, which is frustrating, but indicative of how new this is.

Based on Google’s recent announcement, its recent history of announcing modifications before fully deploying them, and the current usage of Schema.org markup within existing search results, there is little doubt that Google will eventually use this markup to provide better results to users. Watch that space!


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