In Depth Guide to Schema

Schema is structured data or microdata, added to your HTML to improve how search engines read your web pages. Today’s SEO requires it be included as part of the influential factors that could affect Google rankings in the future. The schema markup informs the search engine about the content on your site, which in turn can improve domain authority and search engine ranking.

Surprisingly, many SEO experts are unaware of the importance of Schema, and only 31.3% include it, mostly at a basic level. RankBrain and voice search are becoming more influential, so they will need to ensure their web pages are designed to boost SEO and search visibility.

The task for an SEO is to structure your data  and content so that it’s readily available to search engines to allow for more diverse results. Structured data is easier to link via machines; Google reads the data and provides results that fit the content on your site. Google uses Schema to provide direct answers on the SERP, instead of directing users to a page where they have to negotiate a pathway or conversion funnel.

What is Schema Markup?

While Schema markup formats have been around for a while now, many people don’t know what they entail or how they can be included in a SEO strategy. Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary that can be utilised to make your website more visible and easier to understand for search engines to provide better answers for users. Schema.org serves as the centre of the Schema Project and is a collaboration between Yandex, Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

Add it to the HTML code of a web page to define how the content should be read, as well as providing additional information for search engine bots. Schema vocabulary includes structured data for everything such as places, people, movies, video games, music and anything else to be found on the web.

Google states that properly structured data improves the appearance of your web pages for search results. For example, the image below shows what happens when you search for “Leonard Cohen songs“.

Image Source: semrush.com

Schema markup indexes and returns your website differently. For instance, when the name ‘Howard Kogan’ appears in content, the search engine produces a SERP entry with the same name. However, when Howard Kogan adds a schema markup based on his name, he is effectively telling Google crawlers that he is the author of the article, which helps the search engine to display improved information when someone searches for Howard Kogan in future.

Does Schema have any benefits for search rankings?

There are several benefits of schema markup for your website. They include:

  • Local businesses can define how search engines describe their business, how customers can reach them, as well as convey what they sell.
  • Schema makes your pages look more engaging, attractive and informative by using images and striking snippets.
  • Search engines have a better understanding of what your business offers and the category under which it falls. For instance, Schema can tell the search engine that you’re a plastic surgeon, not a cardiologist, orthodontist or a dentist.
  • Users have a better understanding of your website and what you do, as well as your location and the prices of your products and services.
  • Google has stated that Schema might become a ranking factor in future, so you gain ground by incorporating it in your website.
  • Schema increases your CTRL. By attractively presenting your content, users are enticed to choose your particular listing, in turn driving traffic to your site.
  • It’s a way to take advantage of Google’s knowledge graph, such as in the example below.

Image source: www.digitalmarketingpro.net

If you have a local business, Schema Markup is a great tool, as it offers more information about your business and boosts SEO efforts. This is also an important requirement for any successful shopping campaign. To optimise your campaigns, Google verifies the data in your shopping feed with the microdata on your product landing pages.

Schema markup increases the chances of your web pages being picked up by Google for questions such as “What’s the difference between single glazing and double glazing?”

Your website will rank better in SERP than a site without markup. Research shows it can rank up to four positions higher.

What can you use Schema for?

Events

Videos

Products

People

Places

Reviews

Recipes

Businesses

TV series and ratings

Software applications

Articles

Restaurants

Events

These are all popular uses, but if you store any data online, Schema also features associated itemprops: itemtype and itemscope.


What are the most common types of Schema markup?

Organisational Schema markup: This is used for NGOs, businesses, schools, clubs and other related fields. You can add basic information, social profile links and logos. Oracle is given as an example in the image below. When you search for a company, it appears in the top-right side of your screen, displaying social profiles, their official name, the company’s logo and other information.

Image source: www.ovrdrv.com

Schema Person Markup: Provides information about an individual, including details about their family, social media icons and date of birth.

Local Business markup: A Schema markup for a local business, helping customers find your contact details, location, menu, opening hours and other information.

Same as Schema: Shows the organisation or social media profiles of a person in search results.

Product and offer markup: Used by e-commerce sites to sell a service or item, whilst displaying details such as price, currency, availability, name of the product, and other information.

Breadcrumbs markup: Reduces bounce rate by helping users view their location. For example, a search for ‘Universal Studios Price’ shows the following result:

Image source: www.ovrdrv.com

Video schema markup: Search engines struggle to crawl video content; subsequently, a Video Object markup makes it easier for Google to crawl and index video content on your site.

Recipe Schema Markup: Designed for recipe websites to display information in rich snippet form. Use properties such as review, image, cook time, prep time, ingredients, total time and nutritional information to enrich the description.

Common Schema terms

Itemscope: A common Schema term that organises your content based on topic. By grouping contents with an itemscope, search engines will know that all content in this section comes under the same topic.

Itemtype: Deeper categorisation that gives search engines information about the type of content.

Itemprop: Communicates more information about an item to search engine crawlers.

How to add Schema markup to your website


Using Microdata

This is an easy-to-use tool for beginners. Microdata is a set of tags that make it easier to annotate HTML elements with machine-readable tags. Note that when using microdata, you’ll need to mark every item on your webpage.

Firstly, which itemtype does your content fall under? Once you’ve answered this question, you can tag it accordingly. The image from search engine journal below shows the source code of a store that sells routers. The data information detailing what the business has to offer is between the two <div> tags. Simply include <div itemscope> at the top to identify a specific item.

Here is a list of all item types and extensions you can use to identify any entity. You might not find itemtypes for your particular niche however, as the list is not conclusive.

Using Structured Data Markup Helper

This Google tool is particularly helpful for those who don’t use WordPress and offers a simple process that works for any website. Google provides this tool to ease the process of adding Schema markup to websites.

Firstly, head over to the Structured Data Markup Helper page.

Copy the URL of your webpage and paste it into the tab marked ‘URL’. However, paste it into the HMTL tab if it’s an HTML tag.

Image source: neilpatel.com

Choose a category from the list. You’ll find one either directly related or close to your field. Options include movies, articles, local business and events.

After you’ve finished tagging, you’ll see two panes featuring your content (left) and the Schema markup tool (right). You can mark them by highlighting content on the left pane.

Create HTML in the right-hand corner after you’ve finished marking up.

Next, open the second box from the left and choose JSON-LD. A code is generated; thereafter, copy and paste it, as seen below.

Image source: neilpatel.com

For sites with static page files, download the markup and add it to your source code. Remove the current code for the new code. This is harder for non-static pages such as WordPress, because it splits the content. If the Schema goes in the header, go to your theme file and insert the code.

Schema markup tools


Schema Markup Generator
: Use this to enter information about an event, person, organisation, product or business to create JSON-LD code and paste it into your website HTML.

Schema Markup Validator: Test the markup using this tool from Google.

Content Markup Guide: Acquire rich snippets by implementing creative work Schema, using Google’s content markup guide. It applies to content you view, read or listen to, such as music, videos and articles.

SEMrush Site Audit Tool: This tool runs a thorough check for markups and offers information about the percentage of your site that uses Twitter Cards, Schema, Microformats and Open Graph.

Conclusion

If you don’t have any coding experience, hire a professional to complete the structured data markup helper. Bookmark Schema mark-up’s release page to keep abreast of new terminology and relevant updates. For the most part, Schema is easy to apply and you’ll reap the rewards of your labour when traffic starts flowing to your website. Structured data is becoming increasingly important, so if you want to stay on top of modern SEO practices, you’ll need to implement Schema markup in your website.

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About the author

Matt is an SEO Account Manager at Synapse. He's been working to help small and large New Zealand businesses dominate their search marketing for over 4 years. With rankings in his veins, he’s the guy you want running your search campaigns!

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