When you hear the phrase “search engine optimization” (SEO), some of the topics that first come to mind may include keyword research, link building, on-page optimization, technical SEO, mobile-friendliness… okay, you get the picture. But have you stopped to think about schema markup and what it means for your website?
What’s schema markup, anyway, and why is schema markup so important? It’s a way for search engines to provide users with more informative results about a website in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is great because users don’t have to click through to a website to see what the content is about. They can view a preview of that content and if it’s not what they’re looking for, they won’t have to waste their time with a click. If it’s what they’re looking for, then they’ve found the ideal piece of content in the fraction of the time they’d spend without the benefit of schema markup.
HOW DOES SCHEMA MARKUP WORK?
Schema code helps search engines understand your content. Once major search engines Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex can understand your content and what it’s about, they can provide the best possible search results to users.
As a result, users will know what your website is all about, where your company is located, what you do, how much your products/services cost and more. You can think of schema markup as your virtual business card.
While you want to create content for humans first, search engines still need to process and interpret that content in order help your website rank and increase online visibility. Search engines may be smart, but they can’t consume content the way we do. They need code, and that’s pretty much what Schema Markup is, code that you add to your site’s HTML for a more clear, informative search result.
Schema markup is also great because it helps your web pages look better in the SERPs. It does this by enhancing the rich snippet that’s underneath the title of your content. For example, say you wrote a review about a product.
Having schema markup will let it display the star rating you gave the product in your review and the publication date. Or, if you’re a local business, the search engine results will show your company’s logo, name, address, phone number, hours of operation, star ratings from customers, and more. Without schema markup, the SERPs will just display the metadata Google chooses. Generic, much?
Now that you know how schema markup works, here are some of the key benefits it has to offer.
PROVIDES STRUCTURED DATA
Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary of tags or microdata. These tags are what help it categorize the content. For example, regular HTML code of an image will tell search engines what that image is probably about and the file name of that image. On the other hand, Schema code will tell search engines the exact name of the image and its actual URL.
For even more clarity, let’s look at another example. Let’s say you’re using a basic HTML tag to display the text string Avatar in h1 format. But this doesn’t give any information about what the text string means. It could be referring to the movie or it could be talking about a type of profile picture. Who knows? This can make it difficult for search engines to display accurate, relevant, and precise content to users in the SERPs.
Using schema markup, search engines don’t have to guess and rely on semantic intelligence. This more structured way of feeding search engines data allows them to display more exact, specific information to users.
You can use structured data to mark up all kinds of items in the SERPs. The different schema markup types include:
- Articles: Helps content appear in News and article search suggestions. Depending on your content, you can choose NewsArticle or Blogposting schemas.
- Events: Provides extra information for concerts, lectures, webinars, and festivals. This information is typically the date, location, and price of the event.
- Businesses and organizations: Organizations like schools, companies, and clubs can add logos, social profile links, and basic information. If you have a local business, this markup can show physical stores and locations.
- People: Provides information about a person such as their date of birth, family, social media accounts, etc.
- Products: Many e-commerce sites use product and offer schemas to show specific information like price, status, and availability in the SERPs.
- Recipes: This schema is for recipe web pages to show a recipe rich snippet. Usually displays an image of the recipe, prep and cook time, nutritional information, and user reviews.
- Videos: If your page has video schema markup, search engines will show small video thumbnails next to your search results.
Schema markup may not be a direct ranking factor, but it can put your website in a better position to rank in the SERPs. By feeding the search engines structured data, you’re helping them understand your web pages quicker. As a result, you may see a ranking increase. That’s because a data markup helps search engines understand your web page content, which in turn, makes it more indexable than websites without schemas. An indexed site automatically has a better chance of ranking than a site that’s not indexed.
DRIVES ORGANIC CLICK THROUGH RATES (CTR)
Search results created using Schema have more extensive rich snippets. These enhanced rich snippets make your results appear more attractive, informative, and more engaging to users. A user is more likely to click results that provide relevant, fast, and easily digestible information, which can dramatically increase your click-through rates (CTR).
Schema Markup is especially important now. Schema can provide content to an otherwise complex and disorganized webpage.
On-page schema markup is not a ranking factor. Schema helps search engines understand the information on webpages and provide better results.
Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary that helps search engines understand the content and return more information for users.
Schemas can be complex and are commonly used to describe databases, XML files and other data. In websites, schema markup can be used to help search engines understand the pages better. Schema uses a library of terms and definitions that better describe content.
To wrap up, implementing schema markup is one of the best things you can do for your website’s SEO. Without it, you’ll be making the search engines pretty much guess what your content is about. While they’re really smart and oftentimes spot-on, search engines make mistakes, too. If you hate coding and just don’t have the patience for it, we can help. At WP Suites, we strive to build websites that attract, inform, and convert. Contact us today to learn more.