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 themselves recommend an optimisation tool?
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 it more presentable.
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!
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. We can understand the divisions or structures present on a website as an audience. However, it can get a bit complicated for a web crawler, 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 the 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 inquired about it.
Take the Google search query “SEO Sunshine Coast”, for example, and proper schema markup will look like the below image:
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.
In the most basic sense, structured or linked data is a way to organise your information for better accessibility. Hence, any HTML that provides a proper definition of content can be considered structured data.
On the other hand, the schema contains particular types or vocabularies defined by the major search engines. To get the benefits of schema, specific structured values or vocabulary must be included in the HTML code. 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, using schema shows benefits for SEO. However, there’s no set path one can follow to achieve the desired results.
Most people will tell you that adding schema to the HTML code of your website would lead to the appearance 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 a 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, and they are more likely to go on your page.
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 the user experience for smartphones as they are dominating the market. Hence, using schema markup for mobile browsers optimises is just as useful, if not more.
Making an informed decision is very important for smartphone users. And, if you’re able to 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 different 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. 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:
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 through smartphones.
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.
You may know, eCommerce sites need to pay extra attention while adding markup to a website, especially when it deals with a popular product. Using the several different properties from the product markup type lets you make 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 need to 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.
When you search about someone with their full name, the search engine assumes that you want to get data about the individual. Hence, if you add this schema markup to a website, people would get a more information-rich result from your side. Google often shows elaborate rich snippets when people search for an important person.
On the internet, the first impression of an organisation rests on a good search result. So, using the schema markup for the website of an organisation can give results that include overall ratings, the address, the geographical area it serves, among others. Rich snippets are a great way for organisations to get the much-needed attention, especially while starting.
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 the other similar products displayed in the SERPs.
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 recipes markup helps search engines understand the intricacies of your web pages. With the markup, you can highlight properties like total cooking time, ratings, and even a short description of the method.
Letting the reader look at a recipe slice, you reasonably expect them to check out the whole site.
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
Among different types of data, it can be challenging for search engines to categorise medicine-related information. Hence, if you have a website with medical conditions, you need to use the schema markup type and the correct properties. Google has one of the most detailed listing 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, do keep in mind that even though most of the markup types listed on Schema.org work for Google, it may not be for other search engines.
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 are aware of it may encode it with RDFa, microdata, or JSON-LD right on the HTML. Schema.org even gives you examples of the different ways of using it for coding.
Hare, we will look at using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper for including the schema markup.
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 towards 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, if you want to markup QnA’s, select “Question&Answer page.”
3. Paste The URL Or HTML
If you already have access to HTML, go ahead and paste it into the box to start tagging. Otherwise, Google also gives you the option of adding your website’s URL. Once you click on the “Start Tagging” button, the page will move towards a screen where your content will be on the left side. Also, the right pane will contain the different data items.
4. Select Markup Elements
You only need to highlight the correct items in your content and match them with a markup element in this step. For example, if you have gone with an article, then for the markup element of a name, you should select the article’s title. You’ll notice that once you highlight a portion, a box appears 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 about it, go slowly and carefully tag each relevant item with schema markup. Do remember that it’s okay not to be able to find each and every item.
6. Generate The HTML
Once you are 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
The penultimate thing that needs to be done is to update the generated markup elements on the CMS or source code according to your preference. Google has made it easy to use, and all you need to do is download the generated HTML, copy it and paste it on the CMS or source code. And once you’re done, click on the “Finish” button.
8. Test Your Structured Data/Schema
When you click on finish, you’ll notice some suggestions, including testing the structured data. This step is quite important to know if you have assigned the markup correctly or not. You have to visit the “Structured Data Testing Tool” to do the test.
You can either put in the URL of your website or the code that was just generated a while back on the page. After pasting the code, click on the “Preview” button, and it will give you Google search results for the item.
Additionally, you can also go through the information of each and every markup that has been used in the code. It also allows you to edit the HTML to ensure that it leads to proper results. Remember that it may take some time to get the perfectly structured data when you start assigning schema markup.
Understanding Schema Markup
That’s everything we had to tell you about schema or structured data. We have tried to provide a comprehensive view of the technique to help you perform better SEO.
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 get more insight into the process by visiting Schema.org. The website also has detailed instructions on using the markup for your content to let the search engines understand it. 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!