What is Schema.org Markup
Simply put, these HTML tags (Schemas) allow webmaster to markup different sections of their websites which are better recognised by major search engines. Some of the more familiar ones would be reviews, product and organisation.
What are Schema.org Actions
Schema.org has expanded its structured data to give websites the opportunity to describe the actions they enable and how these actions can be invoked: Schema.org Actions. The new markup allows us to dictate how your action can be connected. The guys over on Seroundtable received the following answer from Bing on what it means:
The Action vocabulary is intended to be used primarily for describing actions that have taken place in the past [past actions] or could take place in the future [potential actions]. Let’s assume Barry shared an MSN article on Facebook yesterday. This is an example of a past action. Facebook might use schema.org to describe the action by indicating that Jason is the subject (agent) of the action, the action verb is sharing, and the object of the action is an MSN article. Now let’s say MSN wanted to expose the ability for applications to programmatically share an article on their website. This would be an example of a potential action. MSN might use schema.org to describe the potential action by indicating the action verb is ‘sharing’ and that you can perform this action by calling a specific URL
It was also summarised nicely in the comments section:
It’s a schema to add context to a link or block of content. It is a way of annotating content to cite sources and authors and the type of activity that happened between the two… i.e. Joe shared Susan’s post. Linda retweeted Billy’s Tweet. Simon liked Fred’s Photo… with URLs and dates and all the metadata to go along with it.
Schema.org Actions Available
actionStatus: Indicates the current disposition of the Action.
agent: The direct performer or driver of the action (animate or inanimate). e.g. *John* wrote a book.
endTime: When the Action was performed: end time. This is for actions that span a period of time. e.g. John wrote a book from January to *December*.
instrument: The object that helped the agent perform the action. e.g. John wrote a book with *a pen*.
location: The location of the event, organization or action.
object: The object upon the action is carried out, whose state is kept intact or changed. Also known as the semantic roles patient, affected or undergoer (which change their state) or theme (which doesn’t). e.g. John read *a book*.
participant: Other co-agents that participated in the action indirectly. e.g. John wrote a book with *Steve*.
result: The result produced in the action. e.g. John wrote *a book*.
startTime: When the Action was performed: start time. This is for actions that span a period of time. e.g. John wrote a book from *January* to December.
target: Indicates a target EntryPoint for an Action.
At Reprise we have always worked towards implementing such Schema markup and it seems the focus on semantics by Google has increased drastically since hummingbird. Google are regularly updating guidelines and working with the likes of schema.org to improve this process as is evident by a recent Google Webmaster Tools post on helping Google identify your business’s contact and local info.
Schema.org Markup Searchmetrics Study
With this in mind Search Metrics released a US case study on surrounding schema adoption and the affect it has on performance. (likely similar impact in the Australian Index).
Some key takeaways from the study are below. We believe the last point will influence companies to the point of implementation along with the benefits seen in CTRs through Rich Snippets which schema can also provide.
• Only 0.3% of the studied domains were found to include schema.org integrations.
• For only 34.4% of keywords examined, Google returned search results with neither schema.org integrations nor any other structured data involved.
• The share of websites with schema.org integrations is highest in Germany (compared to US, UK, FR and ES).
• The most common integrations are “Movies“, “Offers“ and “TV series“.
• Review and ratings integrations from schema.org are over 60% positive.
• Pages with schema.org integrations rank better by an average of four positions compared to pages without schema.org integrations.
You can read the full study at here.