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Google-Yahoo-BingWhen the top three Internet search providers work together on a project, the web pays attention. On Thursday, Google, Bing, and Yahoo introduced schema.org, a resource for website owners and developers that want to add markup to their pages.

Search engines rely on schemas, or HTML tags, to improve results and make them more accurate. When webmasters set out to optimize their sites for SEO, they can use these markups to help push their sites to the top of results.

A lengthy note on schema.org gives a little more background and explains why finding common ground with website markup is so important:

Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.

This isn’t the first time the biggest players in search have collaborated on a project of this nature. In 2006, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft came together to create sitemaps.org, which helped standardize Sitemap protocol.

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