What is Schema Markup and Why Do I Need it?

Schema.org graphic

What is Schema markup?

You’ve probably seen some of it already, but what is Schema Markup? Schema gives webmasters a lot of options to make their website’s listing appear far more informative on search engine results pages (SERP’s).

It’s the difference between this…

and this…

Schema is a type of ‘rich snippet’, an HTML markup that adds additional details to the text under the URL in search results.

As you can see from the examples above, if you’re  searching for ‘tiramisu recipe’ you are far more likely to click on the result that includes images, starred ratings, even a calorie count. There are many bits of information that a webmaster can provide to make a result look more appealing…and even better, more informative!

Rich snippets are a way for you to tell search engines directly who you are, where you are, what you do and give more refined information about your products or services.

It’s also a signal that reduces any confusion related to search intent, Schema can tell search engines that when you’re searching for ‘panda’, you’ll get the rap song and not the mammal.

Schema is also the preferred method of markup for Google, Bing and other search engines. They all contribute to Schema.org.

Should I be using Schema markup?

Absolutely. The biggest reason being that very, very few websites have implemented this yet. Sure, you see it on larger websites. But this is still a rarity on local business websites and niche markets.This is the perfect time to get it in there and boost your organic search rankings. If you want your listings to jump out to searchers, it’s imperative to do this.

It’s not only important for SEO reasons. It’s also to benefit of the searcher. If they can view a more detailed result, they can begin the process of making an informed choice and not wasting their time. I really feel well planned out schema can help build trust in your web presence…both from Google and from searchers. The bigger picture is to make all searches more relevant and make the internet a better place.

How to use Schema

Schema.org is the project’s website. Here you can see the vocabulary needed to markup your page properly. It helps to have some basic HTML skills.

Schema.org describes the principles very clearly here…

Your web pages have an underlying meaning that people understand when they read the web pages, but search engines have a limited understanding of what is being discussed on those pages. By adding additional tags to the HTML of your web pages – tags that say “hey search engine, this information describes this specific movie, or place, or person, or video” – you can help search engines and other applications better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way.

The HTML is all available on the Schema.org website, so you can explore and learn about how to mark up your own rich snippets in various ways.

If you want some additional guidance for markup, you can also use Google Structured Data Markup Helper. There are also several plugins you can use if you’re WordPresser.

This is a pretty cool tool. You pick your item type, paste in your URL and begin highlighting data on your web page. You help Google navigate through your data, and it will reward you with the proper code to insert into your site.

Don’t forget to test that it’s worked afterwards by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool found in the same location.


Pro Tip:

Here’s a link to a Google Doc that contains the json script for my local business schema. Feel free to use. Just add in your info and insert the code into the head section of each page you want to use it on. There’s a lot more schema you can add too. We offer full SEO Services for businesses and can give your site a schema overhaul to increase your organic rankings.


In conclusion…

The use of Schema markup to clearly identify the content of your page will help search engines better understand your page.

If search engines can read your page clearly then this information will be passed on to searcher within the snippet. This will also lead to your page ranking higher in a SERP. Take advantage of the fact that hardly anyone is doing this yet and start today.

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