Introduction to Schema.org Markup

Sam Mannell     6 June 2019

 

 

Adding schema markup to your website is a powerful tool in your SEO toolbox. It’s a helpful method for giving users and search engines precise and succinct information about yourself and your web page very quickly, so today we’re going over the basics.


What is Schema Markup?

Search engines don’t think like people. Instead, search engines decode the contents of your page in a very specific way, and implementing schema markup helps make this process easier. The markup vocabulary used for this comes from Schema.org, an inter-industry collaboration between Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Schema markup – also known as structured data, or sometimes just schema.org – is a vocabulary of HTML tags that you can use in your website’s code. They help identify different parts of your website so Google’s crawling algorithm knows what it’s looking at. This can lead to better rankings, as making things easier for Google pushes you up in their system.

Essentially, schema markup tells a search engine what your data means, not just what it says. In doing this, your webpages can be displayed to users with additional context, and this works to make the user experience more streamlined.


Why is Schema Markup important?

Because UX is everything to Google, and schema markup directly improves how your webpages look in the search engine results page (SERP). Using schema.org markup, you can add information to the metadata of your web-pages, and create rich snippets. These rich snippets give you the option to display aggregate ratings, upcoming events, and more.

Having all these details at a glance can greatly improve your click-through rates, and reports show that by implementing schema properly, you could get as much as a 30% increase in CTR. This, in turn, improves your site’s ability to rank.


Will Schema Markup improve my rankings?

There is no evidence that supporting microdata such as schema markup has a direct effect on organic search rankings. However, it’s more complicated than this statement suggests.

This is our take: Anything you can do to help a search engine better understand your content is worth doing. As part of a wider strategy, schema markup can be instrumental to improving your overall rankings.

Not to mention that, even if rich snippets don’t necessarily push you up the SERPs by themselves, they make your webpages stand out. If you’re already on page one, a user may well skip down and find you, instead of clicking on the more generic-looking results.


How do I implement Schema Markup?

You don’t need to learn any new coding skills to use schema.org structured data. All web pages with markup use HTML, so all you or your web developer needs to do is add the schema.org vocabulary to your HTML microdata before you can use it.

Beyond that, there are some basic steps you should take to get started:

1. Look for commonly used schema types

Schema.org provides a list of the most common types of schema markup, such as Event, Organization, Person, Place or Product. Choosing the best ones for your business is the first step toward getting the perfect rich snippet.

If you run an e-commerce site, for example, a search box will allow your customers to search your site directly on the SERPs. Search engines are starting to make use of Action based schema.org in search results, starting with the Sitelinks search box.

the warehouse NZ action structured data

To implement this structured data, all you need to do is copy paste the code. Below is the JSON-LD ( JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) implementation type:

<script type=”application/ld+json”>
{
  “@context”: “http://schema.org”,
  “@type”: “WebSite”,
  “url”: “[website url]”,
  “potentialAction”: {
    “@type”: “SearchAction”,
    “target”: “[website search url]={search_term}”,
    “query-input”: “required name=search_term”
  }
}
</script>

Another more common example is the organisation structured data, with a code template below.

Organisation structured data example for New Balance NZ
<script type=”application/ld+json”>
{ “@context” : “http://schema.org”,
  “@type” : “Organization”,
  “name” : “[organization name]”,
  “logo” : “[logo image url]”,
  “url” : “[website url]”,
  “sameAs” : [
  “https://twitter.com/[username]”,
  “https://www.facebook.com/[username]”,
  “https://www.linkedin.com/company/[username]”,
“https://www.instagram.com/[username]/”
]
}
</script>

2. More is better, except for hidden page elements

When you’re searching for markup schema to apply, applying as many as possible to given elements is usually a good idea. The more information you can give a search engine about your site, the better. However, the opposite is true when dealing with hidden text. If the text isn’t visible to a user, it’s less important to mark it up.

It’s worth visiting schema.org itself for the full lowdown on how to get started – they provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide to using structured data.


Learn the true potential of Schema markup

Though easy to implement, not all businesses are taking advantage of schema.org’s great potential – in fact, Google reports that less than a third of websites bother with it at all. It’s a great opportunity to get a head-start, as any single ranking factor could be the make-or-break moment for your website’s position.

If you need help boosting your SEO using Schema Markup, contact the experts here at Pure SEO!

Author: Sam Mannell

Sam Mannell has been a writer for the Pure SEO content team since August '18. He quickly found his place in the company as resident Dungeon Master and coffee expert. Sam holds a BA from University of Auckland, where he double-majored in Linguistics and English.



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