What Is Schema/Structured Data & How To Use It?

Is schema markup or structured data new to you? By following our guide, you will be able to use it correctly and gain an advantage in SEO.

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud — 13 minute read.

Every day, there is a new SEO technique that you might use for a better rank.

However, they can often be elusive and without conclusive results. But what if we told you that search engines recommend an optimisation tool such as javascript object notation (JSON)?

You would be on the right path if you guessed schema or structured data. Surprisingly, the technique is often neglected. However, using schema correctly can fetch you pretty good results in SERPs and make them more presentable.

Schema Structured Data

Many people believe that using schema is tough or an unnecessary tool.

Hence, we thought of bringing you this guide to explain everything about schema markup. And we are also going to tell you how to use it accurately. Believe us when we say it’s easier than you think.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

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What Is Schema Markup?

Let’s begin with the basics, and schema markup is a code added to a website to make it more readable for search engine crawlers. As an audience, we can understand the divisions or structures present on a website. However, a web crawler can get complicated, especially when the divisions aren’t well-defined.

Hence, schema makes the process easier by letting you add a clear code or type so that it’s understandable to search engines. And, when things are clear, search engines reward back by showing rich results (formerly known as rich snippets.)

You’ll find more information on Schema.org, created as a collaborative effort between Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo. It was started way back in 2011. It’s regularly updated to help you find more relevant vocabulary or descriptions needed for your website.

An example of using schema properly is when Google results bring forward snippets of restaurants with star ratings and price ranges. As Google can understand your content better, it can make the listing information-rich for those who inquire about it.

Take the Google Search query “ SEO Sunshine Coast”, for example, and proper schema markup will look like the below image:

Search Seo Sunshine Coast

What’s The Difference Between Schema Markup And Structured Data?

Schema and structured data are almost identical, and the terms are often used interchangeably. But structured data is the path we lay for the schema to work.

Mark Types Graphic

In the most basic sense, structured or linked data is a way to organise your information for better accessibility. Hence, any HTML that correctly defines content can be considered structured data.

On the other hand, the schema contains particular types of vocabulary defined by the major search engines. Specific structured values or vocabulary must be included in the HTML code to get the benefits of schema. However, web developers have made it easy by giving them access to well-defined tags.

Is Using Schema Useful For SEO?

One of the common queries among people is the schema for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). And, to tell you the truth, schema benefits SEO. However, there’s no set path one can follow to achieve the desired results.

Most people will tell you that inserting schema into the HTML code of your website, along with a well-curated meta description, could potentially lead to the display of rich results from Google. In most cases, that’s true, but the search engine may also give value to a website for other defined factors.

We recommend going that extra step in technical SEO to include clear schema markups in your code. The advantage of rich results can’t be neglected as it adds value to the website and increases its click-through rate.

You should know that only one-third of all Google Search results contain rich results. So, letting go of this opportunity can cost you heavily if there are other similar websites like you.

For example, the recipe type is a popular category where it’s must-to-use schema markup. When you use it to define the instructions of a recipe, a search engine can show it under the heading in the form of a rich result. This clear indicator helps readers click on a particular result, making them more likely to go on your page.

Graphic Showing Markup Types

On top of that, when your website has a higher click-through rate, Google and other search engines know that people prefer it. Hence, your website would get a higher ranking and a better priority score. Google itself wants you to use the schema markup so that it can have a better understanding of your content.

Is Schema Useful For SEO In Smartphones?

Gone are the days when we had to only think about optimising a website for the desktop. According to the current trend, you need to pay more attention to smartphone user experience as they dominate the market. Hence, schema markup for mobile browser optimises is just as useful, if not more.

Making an informed decision is very important for smartphone users. And, if you can get rich snippets, then the click-through rate for your website is bound to increase.

One of the reasons is the limited screen space in mobile phones. So, a reader would need to scroll past your rich snippet to reach the other results. This gives you more time to grab their attention.

What Are The Various Types Of Schema Markups?

Several schema markup types can be used while describing a website for SEO. Schema.org is an excellent resource for finding a type that would fit your content, and you can copy it to the HTML tags. The website also goes in-depth about each type and where it’s best to use them. And we want to add that currently, Schema.org lists 792 types.

Under each type, several properties can be used to define its components. For example, in the Recipe type, there are properties such as cookTime, cookingMethod, nutrition, recipeInstructions to specify those areas of your content.

Here are some of the most commonly used schema markup types and how to add structured data to your website:

1. Articles

As you may know, articles are one of the most common forms of content posted online. Adding the article markup to your content can do a special thing. It can add your website to a carousel view displayed close to the ads. The content is more visible to the reader, especially when browsing a smartphone.

2. Events

Is your hotel hosting some special events? If so, you can use the event data markup to highlight it for the search engine crawlers. And these events will be added under the search result heading of your website. Along with acting as a visual cue, in Google, these results are also linked to the Google Calendar.

3. Products

You may know that eCommerce sites need to pay extra attention while adding markup to a website, especially when it deals with a popular product. Using several different properties from the product markup type makes the item stand out. Along with highlighting additional information, you can add reviews, intended audience, brand, and other products that are similar to it, among many options.

4. Local Businesses

If you own a local business, it’s a must to use schema markup to let the search engines better understand where you stand out. You must display the information to help your product stand out and rank higher. And, without markup, the item can get lost in a complete list of big companies.

Local businesses can list various aspects, including the accepted currencies, opening hours, and price range.

5. Person

When you search for someone with their full name, the search engine assumes you want to get data about the individual. Hence, if you add this schema markup to a website, people will get a more information-rich result from your side. Google often shows elaborate rich snippets when people search for an important person.

6. Organisations

On the internet, the first impression of an organisation rests on a good search result. Implementing schema markup for an organisation’s website can give results that include overall ratings, the address, and the geographical area it serves. Rich snippets are a great way for organisations to get the much-needed attention, especially starting.

Markup Google

7. Reviews And Ratings

Well, reviews are often the deciding factor for many customers. You may have noted that searching for a particular product on a search engine often fetches you results that contain a star rating under them.

This is made possible by using the correct markup type that displays the reviews and ratings under the heading of the product you sell. Your listing would look better than similar products displayed in the SERPs.

8. Recipes

The internet is full of recipes, so it’s hard to believe that you’ll be posting one that doesn’t have a competitor. Hence, the recipe markup helps search engines understand the intricacies of your web pages. With the markup, you can highlight properties like total cooking time, ratings, and a short description of the method.

Letting the reader look at a recipe slice, you reasonably expect them to check out the whole site.

9. BreadcrumbList

Well, that’s an odd name, but it’s similar to the story of Hansel and Gretel. Showing the users a particular path is always helpful to get them interested in the information. Hence, if you add schema markup of BreadcrumbList, rich snippets will show the linked web pages in an ordered list.

10. Medical Conditions

It can be challenging for search engines to categorise medicine-related information among different types of data. Hence, if you have a website with medical conditions, you must use the schema markup type and the correct properties. Google has one of the most detailed listings of medical conditions on its search results.

As we have told you, there are various types of schema markups. Hence, you would need to thoroughly check the information on your website to see where the markup can be used for better SEO. And remember that while you write schema markup, even though most markup types listed on Schema.org work for Google, they may not be compatible with other search engines.

11. Video Markup

You can improve the ranking of your video by using video schema markup. As a result, search engines may also be able to display what is called a “rich snippet.” The rich snippet is the detailed information displayed with your search result in search engines. If you’ve properly marked up your video, you should be able to see an image of your video in your Google Search results, as well as the title and description that you added to the schema.

How To Use Schema Markups For SEO?

Now that you know about schema markup and the available different types, it’s time to know about the implementation. Those interested in coding or aware of it may encode it with RDFa, microdata, or JSON-LD on the HTML. Schema.org even gives you examples of the different ways of using it for coding.

Here, we will look at using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, a reliable schema markup generator, to include the schema markup.

Schema Markup Important Seo

1. Open Google Structured Data Markup Helper

You can either Google “Structured Data Markup Helper” or find it on Google Webmasters as a “markup helper.”

2. Select The Type Of Data

The first step toward getting the correct markup is to choose the data type. If you aren’t sure which data type would suit your website or web page, try taking help from Schema.org. For example, to markup Q&As, select “Question&Answer page.”

3. Paste The URL Or HTML

If you already have access to HTML tags, paste them into the box to start tagging. Otherwise, Google also allows you to add your website’s URL. Once you click the “Start Tagging” button, the page will move towards a screen where your content is on the left side. Also, the right pane will contain the different data items.

4. Select Markup Elements

In this step, you only need to highlight the correct items in your content and match them with a markup element. For example, if you have gone with an article, then for the markup element of a name, you should select the article’s title. Once you highlight a portion, you’ll notice a box with all the markup elements, and choosing one reflects on the right pane.

5. Keep On Tagging The Items

To get rich snippets, you need to assign the tags correctly. So, rather than hurrying, go slowly and carefully tag each relevant item with schema markup. Remember that it’s okay not to be able to find every item.

6. Generate The HTML

Once happy about adding schema elements, click the “Create HTML” button. This will give you a code that’s already updated with the relevant microdata of the schema markups.

7. Update CMS Or Source Code

Depending on your preference, the penultimate step involves updating the generated markup elements, or code snippets, on the CMS or source code. Google has simplified the process, and all that’s required is to download the generated HTML, copy it, and paste it into your content management system (CMS) or source code. And once you’re done, click on the “Finish” button.

8. Test Your Structured Data/Schema

When you click finish, you’ll notice some suggestions, including testing the structured data. This step is essential to know if you have assigned the markup correctly or not. You must visit the “Structured Data Testing Tool” to do the test.

You can either put in your website’s URL, or the code generated a while back on the page. After pasting the code, click the “Preview” button to give you Google Search results for the item.

Additionally, you can also go through the information of every markup that has been used in the code. It also allows you to edit the HTML to ensure it leads to proper results. Remember that getting the perfectly structured data may take some time when you start assigning schema markup.

Understanding Schema Markup

That’s everything we had to tell you about schema or structured data. We have endeavoured to give a comprehensive perspective of the technique to assist you in adding schema markup for enhanced SEO performance.

One thing to note is that the world of schema is still evolving. We have only mentioned some popular types and the simplest way of implementing schema markup for your content.

You can implement schema markup in a more effective way by exploring Schema.org. The website has extensive instructions that allow you to utilise markup, thus enabling search engines to comprehend your content better. And don’t forget to be experimental with it, as you can always expect a surprise.

With that, we have come to the end of this informative guide.

Let us know if you have any more schema or structured data queries!

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®.

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