What is schema markup?
Schema markup is structured data coding, recognized by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex, added to an individual webpage which gives those search engines additional context to the content of the page.
Basically, schema helps remove some of the guesswork for search engines.
Here is a use for schema example
Take the word crane for example.
Katy has a webpage to sell her crane.
Is she selling a bird classified as Aves? I totally didn’t have to Wikipedia that. Did you know cranes usually lay 2 eggs and incubate them for at least 30 days? Interesting. Or is she selling a machine that lifts and lowers large objects? Typically search engines would have to make assumptions on what Katy means by crane – unless she uses product schema to specifically tell search engines the crane she is selling is a Grove branded machine.
Here is a good way to think about it – page titles and meta descriptions tell search engines what the page content says; schema tells search engines what the page content means.
What are potential benefits of schema markup?
- Increase relevant traffic to your site
- Increase organic click-through rate
- Gain a competitive advantage
Increase relevant traffic to your site
Schema is a way to potentially increase relevant traffic to your website. The more search engines understand your content, the more confident they feel listing your site higher in the results, particularly for complex, long-tail queries.
Let’s go back to Katy and her crane. A user, who recently purchased an excavator online, searches, “buy a crane.” Katy added product schema to her page, including the crane’s name, image, description, brand, product code, price, and more. Since search engines have that structured data about Katy’s page, they can feel confident that her page will be relevant to the searcher’s query.
Increase organic click-through rate (CTR)
The additional context schema provides aids in receiving search engine results page (SERP) features like rich snippets, quick answers, and influencing knowledge graphs. These enhanced displays have been shown to increase CTR.
Back to the “buy a crane” search discussed above. Katy’s crane page may receive eye-catching features directly in the search results, including a picture of the crane, the price, the product’s rating, and more. The user searching for a crane will be more likely to click on Katy’s result when it stands out among the rest with all the SERP features.
Gain a competitive advantage
Schema still has a fairly low adoption rate even though Google continues to stress its importance. With Google getting deeper into machine learning, structured data will only become more important.
Back to the Katy crane example – if her organic result is the only one with any features, that is a huge advantage over any of her competitors. Way to be awesome, Katy!
Types of schema markup
Schema markup can be utilized for many content types. The full list can be found here. But here are the primary content types for schema markup:
Articles / Blogs
Schema can help amplify your blog. Your blog post may receive some of the following SERP features to help your post stand out from the rest:
- A larger than normal thumbnail image
- Title in headline format
- Publisher/author name
- Publisher logo
- Date published
Help prospective students find your courses. Your courses could stand out among the rest with the following SERP features:
- The title of the course
- A 60-character description of the course
- The provider’s / school’s name
Make it easier for users to find your events. Your event could stand out with following SERP features:
- Event name
- Date of the event
- Start and end times
Help your recipes stand out. Your recipes could receive the following SERP features:
- Recipe name
- A description of the recipe
- Prep time
- Calorie count
Schema can help users find your videos in search results. Your videos can stand out in the SERP with these features:
- Thumbnail image
- Title of the video
- A description of the video
- Upload date
In summary, the more context you can provide search engines about your page’s content, the better. Add schema markup to your webpages to help your SEO and potentially receive SERP features for relevant search queries.
Want help building out a schema strategy for your website? Contact us here to get started.