What is Schema markup (or Schema.org) and how can it help you improve your SEO ranking?
In spite of what everyone thinks, you do not have to be a programmer to understand the Schema.org markup. SEO experts are already using this technique as part of their best practices, and it promises to be able to significantly improve your site’s ranking.
Are you ready to learn how it works?
Take a look at our tips for a great read!
What is structured data?
Structured data, also called “Schema Markup” is a type of code that makes it easier for search engines to find, organise, and suggest your site in its search results.
Google says on its developer’s page:
“Structured data is coded using in-page markup on the page that the information applies to. The structured data on the page describes the content of that page.”
“Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general.”
In simple words, structured data is a simple piece of code that can be added to your website pages to describe the content and help search engines understand what’s on your page, i.e. what your page is talking about.
Adding this code to your pages, means search engines can organise the content and display it in a useful and attractive way in search results – and that can help you attract the right kind of customer to your business.”
So, in addition to contributing to a more catalogued Internet, Scheme Markup makes your site even more complete, enabling an increase in impressions and sessions (and even conversions) by improving your position in the search engine results page ranking.
What is the difference between structured and unstructured data?
For people who are still unclear about structured and unstructured data, let’s explain each in detail:
A structured dataset consists of information that has been organized in a straightforward and intuitive way so that it is easily searchable and understandable by those searching for specific content.
The technique enables search engines to more easily interpret the content, which makes it more complete and detailed, as well as making the content easier to understand for users who seek such specific content.
Remember that assertive searches give you higher opportunities to build user loyalty to your website. If a user searches for a specific keyword, it is important to deliver content that answers that question.
Unstructured data, on the other hand, is unorganized information that mixes several formats on a single page, for instance:
And even Word files.
This can make search engines inefficient in interpreting the content of a page, which can harm the understanding of the content and, therefore, the ranking of your website.
Social networks, for example, are a perfect example of unstructured data, since they include images, text, and videos on a single page and contain little or no rigidity.
YouTube, for example, provides a type of HTML tag called embed, which can incorporate multimedia audio or video files into a site without complications. And as long as this type of content represents what the structured data on your page contains, it can be very useful to search engines.
How does structured data work?
To explain it, let’s compare it to a recipe. If you add a recipe to your site, you need to include a lot of information, right? Ingredients, preparation time, calories, and other details that may be pertinent to what your audience is looking for.
When you include all this data on your page, you are then working with structured data, making it easy for search engines to understand what your content is about and therefore making it easier to be found by a user looking for it.
If we have to create, hypothetically, structured data for a blog post on my website, we could put it together like this, for example:
“headline”: “What is Schema markup (or Schema.org) and how does it help you improve your SEO ranking?”,
“description”: “Boost your SEO through Schema and Structured Markup formats: a strategy that will take you ahead of your competitors in the search engine results. Here’s how!”,
“name”: “Boost Your Business”
“name”: “Boost Your Business”,
If you aren’t familiar with HTML or any programming language, it might be difficult to understand right away. That’s why we’ve added this link so that you can do some testing with structured data.
Schema is microdata ( a semantic vocabulary of tags) that can develop descriptions for your pages, making it easier for them to appear in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Using Schema, you can learn all the possible and accepted tags to create structured data. According to Google’s documentation, all queries should be made through the documentation, and a URL is provided for testing your structured data.
While this technique can be labour intensive, the short-term benefits are worth all the effort. For CMS such as WordPress or Joomla, for example, plugins are available that facilitate the application of tags and make this easier.
If your site is managed entirely by you, there are several platforms that can assist you in the formulation of these scripts. Remember that search engines don’t provide results by themselves, and as such, the incorrect use of this markup system can adversely affect your site.
Do not try to write these scripts manually, unless you’re very sure of what you are doing. Avoid publishing new content publicly without first using some structured data validator. And the good thing is most of the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) make this type of tool available for free.
Why is it important to use structured data on a site?
In general, structured data allows a simple Google search to present what users are looking for without much work. Often, the user doesn’t even need to click on a link, because the information he needs is already available in the SERP.
The standardisation required by structured data enables search engines like Google to collect information about everything that is happening on the Internet.
And while structured data is not a decisive factor for ranking, it absolutely does affect the results indirectly. This is because the more specific and detailed the information is, the greater the chance of receiving clicks.
The main advantages of using structured data
It is probably apparent by now how important it is to add structured data to your website. For your convenience, I have outlined the major advantages of using them as follows:
Relevance: Structured data enhances the relevance of your content since search engines will show the information users are looking for, making it easier to find and improving the overall user experience;
Assertiveness: providing more complete and specific information will deliver the content to those who are truly searching for it. In order to avoid mistakes caused by mismatching information, it is necessary to segment this content.
Improve the user mobile experience: using structured data also helps to organise the information in the SERP on mobile devices, contributing to an increase in the speed of the pages and also improving the usability of a website.
Contribute to a better internet: there’s no doubt the internet is still full of content with misleading or incomplete information. Therefore, the more sites adhere to the use of this technique, organising the content and “giving it ready” to the Search Engines, the better the user experience will be, making navigation in search engines increasingly dynamic – and trustworthy.
It is possible to appear in search results through images and videos when structured data is being used. It is important to remember, however, that you need to properly organize different resources on your page in order to ensure good functioning.
How to use structured data?
In order to improve user experience and your performance on Google, you need to know the best practices for using structured data.
Check out these important tips:
- Follow Google’s general guidelines for forming your tags;
- Form your tags as completely as possible;
- Do not create blank pages containing only the structured data tags;
- Do not provide partial, incomplete, or data that does not represent the content of your page in your tags;
- Always use the validatory script provided by search engines before publishing new content on your site;
- Make sure your content is organized. Make sure that the order of the text, images, and videos in your publications follows a logical order;
- Structured data scripts should be informed of all images and videos used in your pages. Don’t report unstructured data unless it is relevant to the user.
- Do not include logos or images of social networks on all pages of your site.
Google and other search engines are updated constantly. As a result, using good practices can greatly improve your brand’s current web presence.
What are the formats of Schema Markup?
Unless otherwise stated, Google Search supports the following structured data formats:
- Standard schema microdata: Like RDFa, it uses HTML tag attributes to name the properties you want to expose as structured data. It is typically used in the page body but can be used in the head. It is the most common, and the easiest to learn how to implement.
- RDFa: RDFa works well in a variety of different document types such as XML, HTML 4, SVG, among others. It is an HTML5 extension that supports linked data by introducing HTML tag attributes that correspond to the user-visible content that you want to describe for search engines. RDFa is commonly used in both the head and body sections of the HTML page.
Schema Markup for Local SEO
Implementing the Local business schema markup is a great step. As a result, you will rank higher in search engine results and also provide your customers with more information about what they are looking at before clicking through to find out if it’s of interest to them.
The search engines will display the data as Rich snippets when they’re generated from schema markup. They allow for the entity to appear as an individual item across multiple results, and provide more specific information than what is currently visible in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Businesses such as restaurants, hairdressers, coffees and doctors, for example, have been using schema markup to help generate rich snippets for their businesses, displaying opening hours, booking availability or their phone number directly on the results page.
However, it’s primarily pulling data from Google My Business listings and not from your website content. You can check the Local SEO full Schema here and apply it on your website pages.
However, while there’s no conclusive evidence yet, people have reported that Google searches with richer snippets (like those created by Schema) get better click-through rates – and it seems to be a big trend in 2021.
So experiment and see how your audience responds for best results!
Also, please feel free to contact me if you need assistance in implementing it on your website pages. After all, the success of your business depends on your decisions, so choose your next steps wisely!