Schema markup, also known as structured data, is the language of search engines using unique semantic terminology. This is the code used to provide information to search engines more clearly in order to understand your content. In turn, this helps users to obtain more accurate information in rich snippets displayed under the page title.
You might have heard the words Schema Markup, Schema.org, Structure Data thrown around in discussion. And you probably are thinking what your teammates (especially web developers) are talking about.
Well you are lucky, here we are going to explain exactly what they are and why they matter.
Search Engines work really hard to understand the content of the page. That is where Schema markup plays the role.
Ryan MacKeller, in his “My Six Search Resolutions for 2018” infographic, had the best short and skinny definition of Schema, in my opinion:
“No matter how smart we think Google is, it still struggles to make sense of what a web page is actually about. That’s why there’s schema markup. It’s a form of metadata added to a website that tells the algorithm what it is drawing and how to categorize it. In December 2017, Google even launch an algorithm update that penalized websites without.“
Simply put, schema markup, also known as structured data, is the language of search engines using special semantic terminology. TopSpot SEM does a great job of semantics.
“At its basis semantic vocabulary is simply the ability to break down a sentence (in any language) into its varying parts. For example, while you may be able to interpret “mydogneedswater” as “my dog needs water,” a computer typically can’t. In the same way, schema markup uses semantic vocabulary to break down the language of the computer. In this case, the computer’s language would be its code.”
This code is used to more clearly provide information to search engines to understand your content. In turn, this helps users to obtain more accurate information in rich snippets displayed under the page title.
Some schemes that you may be familiar with, or you might not even suspect, show this rating / review, product / service (price or closed) and news articles that appear directly on Google when you enter questions.
Depending on the platform on which your site is built, there are several ways to implement the scheme. For example, there are plugins for WordPress that you can install.
For other CMSes, depending on the type of language, it can be either manually at the top of the page or embedded in HTML.
This is very important for search engines, the schema.org website for markup schemes is actually the result of a collaboration between Google, Bing and Yahoo. If it gathers participants like this, something important will happen!
Search results that implement the scheme inform the user faster.
The user can immediately see the details of your page, which will help them decide whether to click on the more relevant or continue.
This information helps your site to get a higher rating for all types of content, found and, in turn, receives more clicks.
I recently did some research on a new dehumidifier for my basement, and I never paid attention to all the details of SERP before I started writing this article.
Learning more about schemes, I began to pay more attention to them. Here I am looking for search results from Frigidaire 70 Pint Dehumidifier.
I quickly saw all the ratings for the dehumidifier, and if I was able to price it was going to cost me. Then, I go through the peoples review of what people were saying about the dehumidifier. Many reviews were right there!
Keep in mind that this is not SEO hacking, it is the main product that helps search engines find and display your content.
The only way a scheme can harm you is if your competitor uses it and you do not.
Using the scheme, you can get 30% more clicks, according to Search Engine Land.
At IMPACT, we are implementing a very simple schema to help with your company profile, such as logos, website URLs, phone numbers and social media profiles.
In the blog, we also implement markup for the article’s layout, which includes the title, image, author, publication date, and much more.
At Syndiket, we believe four types of SEO exist – and we have an acronym to represent those 4 types of SEO. The acronym is T.R.A.P.
“T” stands for Technical, “R” stands for Relevancy, “A” stands for Authority, and “P” stands for popularity. Search engine optimization has many smaller divisions within the 4 types, but all of them can be placed into one of these 4 buckets.
Generally, technical SEO for local businesses carry the least importance for ranking. Technical SEO has a bare minimum that is required and this usually includes things like site speed, indexation issues, crawlability, and schema. Once the core technical parts are done, minimal upkeep is required.
Relevancy is one of trivium elements of SEO. It has equal importance with popularity signals and authority signals. Relevancy signals are based on algorithmic learning principles. Bots crawl the internet every time a searcher has a search. Each search is given a relevancy score and the URLs that pop up for a query. The higher the relevancy score you attain, the greater your aggregated rating becomes in Google’s eyes. Digital marketing is a strange thing in 2020, and ranking a website requires the website to be relevant on many fronts.
Google’s Co-creator, Larry Page, had a unique idea in 1998 which has led to the modern-day Google Empire. “Page Rank”, named after Larry Page himself, was the algorithm that established Google as a search engine giant. The algorithm ranked websites by authority.
Every page of a website has authority and the sum of all pages has another authority metric. The authority metric is largely determined by how many people link to them (backlinks). The aggregate score of all pages pointing to a domain creates the domain score, which is what Syndiket calls “Domain Rating”, per Ahrefs metrics. The more a site is referenced, the more authority it has. But, the real improvement to the algorithm came when Google began to classify authority weight.
If Tony Hawk endorsed Syndiket for skateboarding, it would carry a lot more authority than 5 random high school kids endorsing Syndiket. This differentiation in authority happened in 2012 with the Penguin update. Authority SEO is complicated but VERY important.
Popularity signals are especially strong for GMB or local SEO, but popularity and engagement are used for all rankings. The goal of this signal is for Google to verify its own algorithm. You can check off all the boxes, but if your content is something real people hate, Google has ways to measure that. Syndiket has proprietary methods of controlling CTR (click-through rate) but we also infuse CRO methods into our work to make sure people actually like the content. Social shares and likes are also included in this bucket.
There are hundreds of different types of markup because there are so many different questions that people asked in search engines.
You may ask yourself, well, are there particular schemes that work only on certain search engines? Since large search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo!) work together, as we have already discussed, the answer is no. They all seek and read the same information.
Here is an FAQ from Schema.org to explain further:
Currently, there are many standards and schemas for marking up different types of information on web pages. As a result, it is difficult for webmasters to decide on the most relevant and supported markup standards to use. Creating a schema supported by all the major search engines makes it easier for webmasters to add markup, which makes it easier for search engines to create rich search features for users.
Here are the 10 most common schema markups that are used.
The organization schema markup clearly explains your company introduction, including official logo, location, contact info and social profiles. It also makes it simple for people to see the information they need to contact you right away.
2. Person Market Schema Markup
The Person Market Schema assists you in providing information about an individual, such as name, birthday, education, address, and family members.
Google believes that if you are looking for someone by name, you are looking for basic information.
By using this schema, it is aiming to deliver the answer you want without you needing to click through to another website.
3. Local Business Schema Markup
The Local Business Schema Markup is pretty good for local companies or a local branch of an organization. It enables consumers to find the company’s location and other information such as the address, opening hours, contact info, etc.
Local Business is a certain physical business or branch of an organization, for example, restaurant, branch of a bank, bowling alley, medical practice, etc.
4. Product & Offer Schema Markup
If you want to sell a specific item of a service or product then product and offer schema markup is used.
Both products provide information delivery, such as price and status. Product markup only requires the name property, but the Offer markup also requires the price and price currency properties.
This will make you unique and special and your product or service will stand out from the rest of your competitors if they aren’t using it, or it enables the users to easily compare you to other competitors if they are selling the same product/service you are.
5. Breadcrumbs Markup
Breadcrumbs markup enumerates the path leading to the current page. This helps users see their location and helps lower bounce rates.’
Schema Article Markup is usually used for news and blog posts.
This makes it easier for search engines to understand the content that falls into the title, the time it was posted, the drawn image, and sometimes the video. However, there are different types of Article Schema Markup for different types of articles, such as blog posts, news articles, and scientific articles.
Video Schema Markup is a suitable way to assist Google crawl and index videos on your website, as we all know it is difficult for search engines to do so.
It also makes your video available in the Google Video Search, alongside those from YouTube.
Event Schema Markup provides extra information for certain events to be happening (i.e. webinars, concerts, lectures, etc.) such as date, location, and price.
This makes it easier to attract people to the specific events they are looking for and gives them the basic information needed to make purchases.
Recipe schema markup is made for the recipe website pages to show as a rich snippet.
Besides making searchers hungry, it helps them evaluate the finished product before they click through
Who sees reviews before buying a service or product? The markup of the rating scheme does everything possible directly on the pages of search results.
This will help in obtaining useful information relevant for customers from the front without having to dig deep.
Looking for the full list of items that Schema Markups can define, you can find them here.
Off-site SEO is a list of improvements you can make that occur outside of your actual website. You can improve your SEO by using off-site factors that are trustworthy, reliable, and relevant. When reputable sources link to your profile (social media shares, links to your website, etc.), your SEO improves.
Off-site SEO consists of many factors including building trust by linking to relevant, high-authority sites. Off-site SEO is also improved through using a healthy number of links–including internal links–that are anchored with target keywords, the keywords that search engines have determined as most relevant or desirable.
There are only 3 types of encoding Schema Markup. They are JSON-LD, Microdata, RFDa. SEMRush does a great job for the average marketer to understand.
As a marketer, it is important to understand that RDFa and Microdata are the old way of writing schemas.
This type of language requires the implementation of the correct code in HTML, and this can create more complications on your page, such as incorrect HTML syntax and your page does not load properly.
JSON-LD is the preferred method for adding structured data to your site because it is easiest to implement and also embed in your site code. Until recently, not all search engines used this type of language, so you had to use others.
RDFa stands for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes. It is a form of code that can be added to any HTML, XHTML, and XML-based document.
Ultimately, they all do the same thing for getting your schema out there for search engines, the only difference is how they are applied into your site.
RDFa’s attributes include:
Microdata implementation is similar to RDFa, and its attributes include the following:
Looking for a more technical definition of each (maybe for your developers) Google has a great definition of each.
Now you probably told yourself another great coding language that you need to learn, or more money that you have to spend with a developer to implement on your site.
That’s not the case!
You don’t have to learn any new coding skills!
Here are some steps you can take using some of Google’s tool to get your schema markup generated.
Use the list of data items as a guide and continue to highlight other items in your article to add them to the markup list. If you can’t tag each item, don’t worry, get only those that are needed. But keep in mind that the more the merrier.
There are plenty of other tools out there that will assist you in creating your schema markup, and even validate it.
Here are just a few.
Validators and test tools
For those WordPress people, here are a couple of plugins.
In 2017, Bing and Catalyst conducted a study and reported that only 17% of people used schema markup. If you are not involved in the schema markup, it is time to connect and implement it as soon as possible. Thanks to this, you are more likely to defeat your competitors and gain brand recognition.
Need help getting started with schema markup? Talk to IMPACT!