One of the great ways to present your web pages to search engines – and make them stand out from the competition – is by adding schema markup.
This schema markup is then used to display rich snippets – a search result that shows detailed information about a website.
But, as useful and increasingly important schema markup is, and being a well-known advanced SEO technique – with well-proven benefits, it is still the least-utilized technique today.
“Schema.org’s website claims that “over 10 million websites” use Schema.org markup, which translates into less than one per cent of all websites; an investigation by ACM Queue put the figure at 31.3%, while a study by Bing and Catalyst found that just 17% of marketers use Schema.org markup.
Either way, even the highest estimate of Schema.org adoption still comes in at less than a third of websites.”
What this means…
If the statistics are to go by, you have an advantage – now that you’re reading this – to beat your competitors.
So this article aims to show you what and how you can use schema markup to boost your website’s search traffic on the search engine result page (SERP).
Let’s start by understanding what schema markup is…
What is schema markup?
Schema markup is a structured data (microdata) markup that uses semantic vocabulary to provide more precise information about a web page to benefit search engine users.
It’s a piece of code that you can put on your website to help search engines return detailed information about your products and services to searchers.
Search engines like Google use this structured data to display special search result features and enhancements – known as Rich Snippets.
So, if you’re familiar with rich snippets on SERP, then structured data markup should not be strange to you.
You can use structured data to show users a recipe page in a standardized format:
- What the recipe page is about
- The ingredients
- The cooking time
- The temperature
- The calories counts
Or, a book page… to show more detailed information such as:
- About the book
- Price of the book
- Author name
- Star ratings or reviews
Structured Data Markup Is Not Limited To only Google
The use of structured data markup – and, Schema.org – is a collaborative effort of the major search engines, including Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and Google.
This initiative was launched in June 2011, and by November 2011, Yandex joined the initiative.
To allow websites to mark up themselves with metadata, these giant search engines proposed using schema.org vocabulary – along with the Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD formats.
Let me briefly explain what these formats are…
RDFa stands for Resource Description Framework in Attributes. It’s an extension to HTML5, which can be used to chain structured data vocabularies together, most especially when you want to add data that stretches beyond the limits of Schema.org.
RDF is similar to microdata, and you can read more on that here.
Taking the recipe web page as an example, let us look at how the JSON-LD would be structured.
- [Insert codes]
Microdata is a set of tags used to nest structured data within the HTML content of a page.
Whenever you want to display any structured data, you include the information in HTML tag attributes in the body or within the head.
Microdata is easy to implement, but it could be time-consuming – as you’d need to mark up every item within the body tag individually.
I’m not going into details on how you can manipulate your HTML codes to structure your data… as we don’t need to choose the hard way when we have a simpler and easier solution.
Plus, I know many of us feel intimidated once we start seeing codes.
So instead of going to your HTML codes – and trying to figure out things…
There’s an amazing tool that’ll help you tag your web pages.
It’s Google Structured Data Markup.
All you need to do is to select your item type, paste in the URL of the target page or content, and then highlight the different elements so that you can tag them.
Here’s a breakdown…
How to add schema markup to your webpages
The main purpose of adding schema to your website is to provide extra information about your web pages. It may not directly affect ranking, but it thus attracts visits to your site.
Step 1: Go to Google Structured Data Markup helper.
Step 2: Select the type of data you would like Google to generate markup for.
To illustrate better, I’m going to choose articles.
But feel free to select options that match your business websites.
Step 3: Paste the URL of the page or content that you want to markup.
Since I have my URL, I’ll be pasting it and letting Google fetch the page’s content.
Now, you’ll see where you can add missing tags to the items shown at the right pane.
Again if you’re working with a local business and you’ve chosen it as your markup data, what you’re going to see at the right pane will be different from mine, which is an article.
Step 4: Highlight and select the type of elements you want to markup.
Now, this is where you get to weave in your data. Go to a specific element of your content and highlight it. In this case, I have highlighted the title and entered it as a name. And then, author as author.
Once you select any items, the tool will automatically add and attach them to the data item at the right pane. Continue tagging other items as possible you can.
Step 5: Click “create HTML” to see the HTML code with microdata markup for your page.
Step 6: add the microdata markup to your source code.
Here, in my own opinion, I think it’s better to download the generated HTML and copy/paste it into the page source code or CMS such as WordPress.
Now, if you’re done downloading the file, click finish.
Step 7: Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure Google gets it correctly.
I’m going to use the URL and as well the HTML. Use any method you like; once you’re done pasting, click on the preview button. And let the tool shows you exactly how it would look on SERP.
Want to make changes to the schema?
This tool makes it easy…
You can inspect the microdata markup elements – plus, update the HTML within the testing tool by editing it directly – and save and preview again.
Now you can see how pretty simple it is to mark up your web pages.
I do this for all the content on my site – including the one you’re reading now.
This is one of the ways Google gets to know the precise information about your web pages.
So, start optimizing the content on your page as long as they’re written for users; any hidden content on your website is a signal to Google to flag your site.
The more content your markup, the better it is for your SEO.
But, don’t forget, misinforming Google will drag your site through the mud – Google is way smarter than you think.
Commonly used schema types.
Schema.org provides a list of the most common types of schema markup. You can visit the Organization of Schemas page to see this list. Check out the types that are best suited to your business.
To understand and implement the type of microdata markup for your business, the Schema markup website has a list of commonly used types and illustrations on how to use it with the three formats we discuss above.
Visit schema from https://neilpatel.com/blog/get-started-using-schema
Schema markup on Rank Math SEO plugin
Summing it up…
Schema markup is not a Google ranking factor. But when you implement it on your web pages, you get a rich snippet that can make your site to:
- stand out
- Visually appealing
And thus, it gets more clicks and drives more traffic to your site.
If you’re not yet using this, start now!
Here are some FAQs… but feel free to ask me anything in the comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Schema?
Schema markup is a piece of code that you put on your website to help search engines return detailed information about your products and services to searchers.
Is schema markup a ranking factor?
Schema is an SEO best practice that helps you communicate what your web pages are all about. It is “currently” not a ranking factor. Meaning, it doesn’t directly influence your site rankings on search engines.
Is schema markup important for my SEO?
Search engines like Google use this structured data to display “special” search result features and enhancements – known as Rich Snippets. This makes your snippet stand out and thus attracts more clicks.
What are rich snippets?
Rich Snippets provide extra information about your website to searchers before they click on it. Sites that contain rich snippets have schema markup on their web pages.
Where can I get additional resources on schema markup?
Schema.org has all the necessary information that you might need to get you started and dive deeper into structured Data knowledge.