When we think of the term “SEO” we certainly start thinking about meta titles, descriptions, keywords, and content. But nowadays, one of the hot topics in SEO is Schema Markup.
Experts say that schema doesn’t affect your ranking, but it helps increase your site visibility and helps improve the click-through rate (CTR).
You might be wondering how?
To know this, we need to go back to the basics of how a search engine works.
For instance, Google (as a search engine) has the ultimate goal of showing its users the most suitable information about the query they searched for. To do this, Google needs to pick up only the relevant information from its vast database which includes billions of web pages.
And this is where Schema Markup comes into the picture. It helps search engines understand the information available on different pages on your website so that they can analyze what this page is about.
Read the complete blog to learn more about schema markup and how it is important for SEO.
What is Schema Markup?
In the most simple words, schema markup is a vocabulary of structured data that helps search engines understand the information available on a particular webpage. By doing this, Google can better analyze the information on the web page and show rich results to its users.
Let’s understand this with the example shared by schema.org
“Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means—”Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.”
Schema markup tells a browser what this information is about and how to display it to a user. Take a pizza recipe for instance. When you search the term “pizza recipe” Google will show you the exact web pages that contain recipes to make pizza. Because the site owner has added the ‘recipe’ schema markup as shown in the source code.
Importance of Schema Markup for SEO
One of the major importance of schema markup is it helps in search engine optimization (SEO) by improving the chances of indexing your content faster. With tons of content being uploaded to search engines, not everything gets crawled and indexed. However, if you have schema markups on your site; it helps search engines to understand the content better which causes your web pages to index early.
In addition, schema markup helps improve the CTR (click-through rate) of your site because of the rich snippets. Consider the following example.
This is a site without any markup and the user can only see meta title and description. But in the case of schema markup, users can also see other helpful site links that they might be interested in. This helps increase the CTR of your site.
Furthermore, schema markup is also one of the helpful ways to optimize your website for voice search. As voice search is more popular than typing and 71% of users prefer it, you need to optimize your sites for voice search. With the help of Speakable markup, you can do this.
And lastly, schema markup helps in improving brand awareness by creating a knowledge graph, important information that your viewers need to know. The knowledge graph, present on the right side of the search results also includes social media tabs that improve engagement.
Is schema markup a ranking factor?
As discussed earlier, schema markup won’t give you a ranking boost but helps the search engine understand the information on your web page which it can show on the SERP when someone searches about that.
According to Search Engine Journal,
“There is no evidence that microdata has a direct effect on organic search rankings.
Nonetheless, rich snippets do make your web pages appear more prominently in SERPs. This improved visibility has been shown to improve click-through rates.“
Furthermore, check out this tweet reply from Googler John Mueller who also confirms that SD (structured data) can’t boost ranking.
What Are The Different Types Of Schemas?
Based on different categories Google supports 32 types of schema. Let’s have a look at some of the major schema types one by one.
‘Article’ is one of the most common types of schema. It is used to specify that the information available on the webpage is in the form of a news article or blog article.
‘Carousel’ which is also known as an item list, is used to show rich results in the form of a list that users can swipe. The major content format for the carousel are – Course, Movie, Recipe, and Restaurant.
‘Event’ schema is used to display rich results for different events, where users get the information and can book that event directly from the SERP.
To display a step-by-step process to complete a task with appropriate images or videos, you can use “How-to” schema markup.
↳ Local Business
‘Local Business’ schema is used to show different business details like contact, reviews, address, timings, etc. to your users.
To display all the information about a product like a price, reviews, and other details, you can use the ‘Product’ schema markup.
↳ Review Snippet
The ‘Review Snippet’ schema is used to display the reviews for different products, services, recipes, movies, etc. on search engine results.
‘Sitelink’ schema is used to show extra navigational links within your website that can be helpful for your users.
How To Add Schema Markup To Your Site
Similar to every other element on your website, the schema markup also has to be implemented in the form of code. There are three formats to implement schema code to your website. They are JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata.
These three formats are accepted by all the major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc. However, Google recommends using JSON-LD whenever possible because it is easy to implement.
With the help of Google’s Webmaster Markup Helper, you can easily generate schema markup for your web pages with a few clicks.
⇀ Go to Google’s Webmaster Markup Helper Tool, paste the URL of the web page where you want to implement schema, and select the type. If you are a techie and know about your site’s HTML code, you can also include that. Lastly, click on the “Start Tagging” tab.
⇀ How you will see your web page. Select and highlight different elements and select the suitable data item for that element. E.g. name, author name, publish date, etc. As you select any item you can see that appearing on the panel on the right side.
⇀ After selecting all the data items, click on the “Create HTML” tab. The schema markup code will appear on the right side. You can also change it from JSON-LD to microdata from the dropdown menu on the top.
⇀ Click on the “Download” tab to download the HTML file of generated markup. You can paste this code into your CMS or source code.
⇀ You can also test your generated markup with the free Google Structured Data Testing Tool or Schema Markup Validator. Just paste your generated code and you can see the results on the right-side panel.
⇀ Check for any errors or earrings and fix them appropriately. Once, you do that, you are ready to publish your site.
Apart from that, there are several schema plugins available for CMSs like WordPress. The method for generating schema can be different for different plugins.
Furthermore, after implementing the markup, you have to be very patient as search engines can take several weeks to crawl your site.
Schema Markup or Structured Data is a helpful element that tells the search engine about the information available on the webpage. Even though schema markup is not considered a ranking factor, you should not ignore it as it is found helpful in increased visibility and higher CTR.
There are different types of schema markups that help the search engine categorize information and display the most suitable results when users search for that. By implementing appropriate schema markup you can have several benefits in the form of rich results, and knowledge graphs.
And lastly, implementing schema to your site is not complicated as it seems. With the help of different tools, you can add and test your markup with a few easy steps. By adding schema, you make sure the search engine displays your site information in the right format when someone searches for it.