Earlier this month Google , Bing and Yahoo in the spirit of sitemaps.org had come together to provide a shared collection of schemas that webmasters can use.
Search engines have been supporting Microformats and dealing with structured markup individually as per their algorithms but as the search engines for quite some time now . The search engines had come to a consensus on the submission of the list of URLs of a site in the form of an XML file as per www.sitemaps.org Now they have agreed to follow certain norms on data which is stored in structured HTML as per www.schema.org
A shared markup vocabulary makes easier for webmasters to decide on a markup schema and get the maximum benefit for their efforts. The no. of websites are increasing exponentially and as the sites are more focused on optimization for search engines and having a web presence on majority of the search options like videos, images, news, discussions, etc. the content embedded in HTML is increasing and the need to correlate the content to relevant search options and make it more easily available to the user on search engines a common set of schemas will surely make the web and search experience more structured and systematic for the users and the search engines .
The schemas are a set of ‘types’, each associated with a set of properties. The types are arranged in a hierarchy.
Browse the full hierarchy for schemas:
From the SEO perspective according to me these kind of collaborative efforts by search engines ensure the indexing as per more accurate relevance and correlation for search results and branding. I think this step of unitedly working on data formats for structured HTML will make the web experience qualitatively and quantitatively richer for the user and the search engines.
Related Links Where You Can Read More About schemas and Microformats: