Joomla 5.0 introduced new tools to help add Schema.org compliant metadata to your articles. Metadata is just information on an HTML page not immediately visible to the user - usually used by the browser or other applications to learn and do things with your webpages. Using a standardized format makes it easier for external applications, such as search engines, to index, analyze, and use the information found on your website.
Schema.org is an organization that maintains guidelines for publishing this metadata.
Why Use This?
Suppose you run a food related website that publishes recipes alongside affiliate links to recommended cooking products. When people are looking for recipes online, there are some common pieces of information many people might want to know - before they click a result. At the very least, being able to see a photo of the completed recipe alongside the calorie count per serving might be useful.
In fact, if you search for a recipe on Bing, the very first section contains links with these details.
Now, suppose your website is missing these details. Sure, Bing's algorithms might be able to pull the information from the general content of the page, but if we could explicitly provide this information, that would be better. It could give our recipe an edge over any site that doesn't publish this metadata. I would much rather my recipe appear near the top of the results with the information the user wants, instead of buried farther down just because I forgot to include this basic information.
Beyond recipes, you can use Joomla's Schema.org plugin to add metadata on blog posts, events, people, jobs, books, and more.
Another reason to publish schema.org compliant metadata is to aid in accessibility. Certain assistive applications for individuals with disabilities can benefit from metadata being published predictably.
With that, there may be scenarios where it's actually disadvantageous or unnecessary to add extra metadata.
Foremost, if your content is stored behind a paywall or subscription service, adding this metadata could make it easier for people to index or copy your database of paid information. If you don't intend to make the information public to begin with, adding extra metadata may be pointless.
There is a time cost to consider. Adding metadata to your articles requires you to manually enter the extra details. If your website has several authors, editors, or publishers, you need to ensure they're all trained to add accurate information to the schema fields similarly. It's up to you to decide if it's worth retroactively adding metadata to all your previous articles, or just adding it to new ones moving forward.
Finally, not everything needs or fits a schema data type. Joomla doesn't yet support every schema listed on schema.org - only a few of the more major types. I'm sure more plugins will come out in the future, but for now, we're limited to the handful that Joomla starts with. The guides and tutorials on this website, for example, don't fit neatly into any of the schema types offered by Joomla (yet). So for now, I won't be adding schema data to most of the pages on this site.
Setup The Plugin
Begin by opening the Schema.org system plugin from the plugin manager (Admin Menu -> manage -> plugins -> search for schema).
Note that there are many schema.org plugins available in the plugin manager. You can leave them all enabled, or only enable the ones you intend on using. They should all be enabled by default.
Next, you need to publish some basic information about your website. This is included with the schema data of all pages on your site. Select if your website represents a person or an organization. So if you're a business or organization, select organization and enter your organization name. If your website is more personal, a portfolio, or similar, select person and enter details on the person the site is about.
The image field can be your logo, or you can leave it blank. The name field is required for the plugin to work. When you're done, save it.
With the plugin setup, you're ready to start adding Schema data to your articles. Open any article as you would usually and notice the "Schema" tab near the top. This tab contains all the schema.org settings for this article.
Select the schema type corresponding to the article and enter the details.
Depending on which schema you are using, there may be many fields to fill out.
If you need more detailed information on how to fill out each field, check the official documentation at schema.org, which contains detailed descriptions of each field.
Of course, remember to save when you are done.
Checking It Worked...
Since the schema data isn't visible on the page itself, but rather, it's hidden, you can check if it's there by looking at your page's source HTML. In most browsers, you can get here by right clicking the published page and click "View page source."
In the <head> section at the top of the document, you should see the schema data as a json object. If you're unfamiliar with json, it might seem kind of confusing (json is just a format for sharing information, kind of like a table or a spreadsheet, but meant for computers to read).
If you look closely, the long string of text I pointed out contains all the information I filled out in the schema tab of my recipe. It is working properly!