Blog

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

Have you just heard about schema mark up or structured data? Don't worry, our guide will help you in using it correctly and gain an advantage in SEO using it.

Photo of Stephanie Salud
Stephanie Salud

Let’s be honest, it seems like 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 there’s an optimisation tool that is recommended by search engines themselves?

If you guessed schema or structured data, then you’re on the right path. It’s surprising that the technique is often neglected. However, using schema in the right way can fetch you pretty good results in SERPs along with making it more presentable.

What Is Schema Structured Data

Having said that, many people are led to 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 in the correct way. Believe us when we say it’s easier than you think.

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

Want to receive updates? Sign up to our newsletter

Each time a new blog is posted, you’ll receive a notification, it’s really that simple.

What Is Schema Markup?

Let’s begin with the basics, schema markup is a code that’s added to a website to make it more readable for search engine crawlers. As an audience, we are able to understand the divisions or structures present on a website. 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, which was 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 in the proper way is when Google results bring forward snippets of restaurants with star ratings and price ranges. As Google is able to understand your content in a better way, it’s able to make the listing information-rich for the person who inquired about it.

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

Search For Seo Sunshine Coast

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

Well, to tell you the truth, schema and structured data are almost the same things, and the terms are often used interchangeably. But, structured data is actually the path we lay for the schema to work.

3 Mark Up Types Graphic

In the most basic sense, structured data or linked data is a way to organise your information for better accessibility. Hence, any HTML which provides a proper definition of content can be considered to be structured data.

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

Is Using Schema Useful For SEO?

One of the common queries among people is related to the usefulness of schema for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). And, to tell you the truth, using schema definitely shows benefits when it comes to 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.

Having said that, 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 to click on a particular result, and they are more likely to go on your page.

Graphic Showing Various Markup Types

On top of that, when your website has a higher click-through rate, Google and other search engines know that it’s preferred by people. Hence, your website would get a higher ranking along with 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 optimising for mobile browsers 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 a great 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, there are several properties that 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.

Having said that, here are some of the most commonly used schema markup types:

1. Articles

As you may know, articles are one of the most common forms of content that are posted on the internet. Adding the article markup to your content can do a special thing. It can add your website to a carousel view that’s displayed close to the ads. In this way, the content is much more visible to the reader, especially when browsing through a smartphone.

2. Events

Is your hotel hosting some special events? If so, then 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, e-commerce 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, then 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 that will help your product to stand out and rank higher. And, without markup, the item can get lost in a full list of big companies.

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

5. Person

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.

6. Organisations

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 really great way for organisations to get the much-needed attention, especially while starting out.

Example Of How Markup Looks On 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 the other 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 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 have a look at a slice of the recipe, you can very well 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 certain 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 hard for search engines to categorise medicine-related information. Hence, if you have a website to do with medical conditions, you need to use the schema markup type along with the correct properties. Google has one of the most elaborate ways of 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 what is schema markup and the different types that are available, it’s time to know about the implementation. Those who are 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.

Why Schema Markup Is So Important For Seo

1. Open Google Structured Data Markup Helper

You can either Google “Structured Data Markup Helper”, or find it on Google webmasters as “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 about 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, then 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 would be 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 name. 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 to not be able to find each and every item.

6. Generate The HTML

Once you are happy about adding schema elements, just 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, just click on the “Finish” button.

8. Test Your Structured Data/Schema

When you click on finish, you’ll notice some suggestions, which includes 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.

On the page, you can either put in the URL of your website, or the code that was just generated a while back. After pasting the code, just 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 make sure that it’s leading to proper results. Do remember that it may take some time in getting the perfectly structured data when you get started with 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 that can help you perform better SEO.

Having said that, 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 how to use 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.

Do let us know if you have any more queries regarding schema or structured data!


Photo of 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™ and LinkedIn.

Image Optimisation: Is It Worth It?

Image Optimisation: Is It Worth It?

Photo of Brodey Sheppard

Have you been thinking about utilising image optimisation techniques for your website? If yes, check out our guide to learn if image optimisation is worth your time!

Website User Testing

Website User Testing

Photo of Kristi Ray

Now that your website prototype is ready, it's time to test if it will work in the real world. Here's how you can use website user testing for a successful business.

Importance Of Clear Call To Actions On Your Marketing Material

Importance Of Clear Call To Actions On Your Marketing Material

Photo of Brodey Sheppard

Is your business suffering from a weak call to action? You can fix your problem today by following our tips and tricks.

Ready to get started?

Ready to grow to the next level with sitecentre?

Get Started 1300 755 306