Schema Markup: What is It and How Does it Help?

jordanfowler@moonandowl.com SEO Leave a Comment

What if you could put an SEO road sign on every page of your site that told Google and search engines exactly what a given page was about?

You can with Schema Code (aka Schema Markup).

Summary: Schema can help with rankings, and it gets you more clicks from users.

What is Schema Markup?

While the easy metaphor to understand is a road sign, here is a more technical definition:

Schema is a type of structured data (microdata) that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can serve relevant results to users based on search queries.

Schema.org is the result of collaboration between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! to help you provide the information their search engines need to understand your content and provide the best search results possible at this time. Adding Schema markup to your HTML improves the way your page displays in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title. (Source)

There isn’t a single website that can’t benefit from including schema and it isn’t too difficult to do. (Or just leave it to us!)

How Does Schema Code Help Search Engines?

As search engines crawl your page, they read the content on the page. Recently the search engines have become smart enough to read a page and see the semantic relevance of terms on a page. They can see the word laser coupled with Jedi to assume the page is about Star Wars or the word laser coupled with veins to assume the page is about vein laser treatment.

But there is still a high degree of guessing the search engine must do. Schema is a way to clarify to the search engine the topic of the page along with other relevant data. It’s a bit of code language that spells things out clearly.

Where Do You Use Schema Code?

Schema can be inserted into the header code of any page, where the search engines see it but your viewers do not. You can use schema site-wide or, better yet, tailor the schema for each page on your site.

Of course, you want the schema markup to match what is real content of the page to get maximum credit. It won’t help your search engine optimization or rankings to write a page about ice cream but put schema in the header saying the page is about dogs (unless you sell ice cream to dogs, then by all means, do so.)

Schema Code Examples

Here is a sample of schema code that tells the site about a simple webpage topic.

What is Schema Code

Here is a local business schema code that tells Google and other search engines:

Schema Local Business

1. It’s a Local Business.
2. Here is the address of the local business.
3. Here is what the local business does (medical/oncology).
4. Here is the phone number of the business.
5. Here are the office hours of the business.
6. The map longitude and latitude of the business.
6. The other properties related to the business (in this case their Facebook page).

These road signs mean Google doesn’t have to guess about the page. The structured data code clearly tells Google what it needs to know.

What Difference Does Schema Make?

This clarity of page intent may help increase your ranking and your website traffic.

Keyword Performance writes:

Well-executed Schema markup can mean the difference between good SEO and great SEO, edging out the competition and bringing organic traffic up. Schema markup not only organizes the information on your site, making it easier for search engines to understand the content and giving a slight ranking boost but also catches the eye and makes SERP results more attractive to humans as well.

Schema User Friendly

In this example, two of these search results used a review schema which provides the star rating they gave the product in the listing – one ad result and one organic result. Two didn’t use schema. Users will click the organic schema listing (with stars included) up to 40% more often.

A Google Search Engine employee and search expert recently reported on how using Schema can help match your page to a long or confusing entry by a searcher who doesn’t clearly indicate their intent:

“But sometimes we can recognize entities better if you markup entities on a page. Which is kind of a more flexible type thing where if someone gives a really long query to us and we recognize, Oh, they’re asking us about this entity and not using exactly those words and we know this other page is also about this entity, maybe doesn’t use exactly the same words, that we can still match. That helps us to try to find more relevant results together.” (Source)

Be in the Minority

Here’s a helpful and hopeful tip. Use schema because most of your competitors aren’t. A recent audit by SearchEngineLand.com shows that only 20-40% of pages use schema properly. That creates huge room for you to use schema as part of your SEO strategy when your competitors aren’t.

What are the Different Types of Schema?

There are tons of things you can indicate with schema, from an event time, to review ratings, to a product or service type, and a ton of other items. See a full list of everything you can label with schema at http://schema.org/docs/full.html. That’s a huge list.

Schema Generators and Testers

There are tools that can help you generate schema and add it to your site, or, of course, we can do it for you along with the rest of your SEO.

One great tool is https://technicalseo.com/seo-tools/schema-markup-generator/.

You want to make sure that you are careful when creating the code. You can do more damage than good if your schema code has errors.

Once you get the code inserted into the header of your page, you can check to make sure Google sees it properly without error at https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/. There you can either enter the code itself to test it before you insert it OR check a given page you’ve already inserted the code into to make sure Google can read it properly.

If you need help with SEO, reach out to us at 817-889-1487.

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