Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is never an easy task.
You have to work smart and hard to option higher ranks in the organic results of prominent search engines.
Schema markup is yet another tool in enhancing your brand visibility and results.
If you are new to online business and SEO strategies, schema markup is not the best thing to add in your initial checklist, because you have a lot of things to do beforehand.
But once you have established your brand on search engines and achieved stable ranks on organic results with rich content, you may proceed your way into schema markup.
Ok. So we have established the fact that schema markup is not for the beginners but for an established firm, which makes it an advanced SEO tool.
Let us now move into the basics of schema markup. Shall we?
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup is basically a code (a semantic vocabulary) that is added into your website HTML page so that search engines can understand the matter and content on your website clearly.
For example, your site may talk about a lot of things like, some famous musicians, concerts, music studios and may also contain a couple of videos.
Google might feel confused about whether the site is a personal one or an event-based or studio website.
In order to avoid such confusions of search engines, you offer schema markup to clarify your precise intentions, “What the website is really about”, so that search engines give an informative search result to its users.
Schema markup gets into the rich snippets (dense description) of the website in SERPs determining the accurate match of the website to the search query.
It was the Hummingbird and RankBrain Google Algorithm (click to know more about Google Algorithm) that gave importance to the intentions of the search query.
Rich snippets are this additional information giving more insight into your website, inducing more click through rates.
The popular search engines support three major schema markup formats:
Known as the “Google preferred format” compared to the others.
It does not have to be embedded within the body of the page- that is, inlined. But put in the script of tags and are placed anywhere on the page without changing the HTML elements.
- Microdata: They are the set of tags directly added to HTML of websites consisting of:
* itemscope: The description/about the item ( Eg: About a movie Home Alone)
* itemtype: What type the product belongs to in an item hierarchy (Eg: What type is Home Alone? A movie )
* itemprop: Any additional information about the item can be added here (Eg: The actors, directors, reviews and ratings of the movie)
- RDFa: Resource Description Framework in Attributes are attribute-level extensions added to HTML type documents to markup metadata within web pages. They are quite similar to Microdata that uses tag inlines into the existing HTML. In RDFa, the itemscope, itemtype and itemprop get replaced by vocab, typeof and property respectively.
Types of Schema Markup
Every website needs to stay categorized under specific types developed and improved by Google.
It is important that you select the types into which your business or products can be categorized into.
Thus, before moving into setting up schema markup it is rather crucial that you know about these preferable types of schema markup.
- Organization Schema Markup
If you are an owner of an organization, which is a school, an NGO, a corporation, a company or anything else that comes under the category, you set up an organization schema markup. It displays the following details in a rich snippet, on the top-right side of the search results page in a rectangle box.
- Brief Introduction
- Company Name
- Official Logo
- Contact Information
- Social Profiles
- Schema Person Markup
Any kind of person either alive or dead or fictional characters, from novels like Sherlock Holmes, have a schema person markup sessions which say some of their details such as:
- Family Members
- Schema Local Business Markup
Schema local business markup is for the local businesses and local branches of a large organization for the local customers to reach the place correctly. Restaurants, bank branches, medical practises, parlours etc. come under local businesses. They include the following additional information in the schema markup:
- Opening Hours
- Contact Information
- Menu (Restaurants)
- Reviews & Ratings
- Order Actions and Reservation Actions in case of restaurants
- Schema Offer and Product Markup
Offer and product schema markup deal with the selling of an item or service searched by the customer. Thus, the schema markup must have:
- Product information
- Price of the product
- Current status (In stock or sold out)
- Breadcrumbs Markup
Breadcrumb markups are this set of links that explains to the user how they are going to navigate to this particular page through website pages. Now, customers know how they reach the current page and it tremendously reduces bounce rates.
- Schema Article Markup
Schema article markup is majorly used for news articles and blog posts. A short description of the entire content under the title is beneficial for the search engines to know the gist of the content within.
- Video Schema Markup
It is rather difficult for search engines to comprehend video contents on various websites. Adding a VideoObject markup is an excellent idea that helps the search engine bots to crawl through the video contents and index them. This optimization helps the video contents to get ranked in Google video searches.
- Event Schema Markup
Whenever an event is happening such as seminars or concerts or festival or lectures event schema markup is set up providing information such as:
- Date of the Event
- Start and End Time
- Ticket Prices
- Any Offers on Tickets
- Recipe Schema Markup
A recipe website with numerous dishes requires a recipe schema markup that briefly explains the recipe with relevant keywords. Even though Google only asks for the name of the recipe, it is important that you give additional information for a rich snippet:
- Preparation Time
- Cooking Time
- Total time including preparation and cooking
- All Ingredients
- Image of the Prepared Food
- Nutritional Value of the Food
- Review of Customers (that is, people who have tried the recipe at home)
- FAQ Schema Markup
FAQ Schema Markup usually presents 3 or 4 related questions and their answers in a drop-down format that often catches the reader’s eye. It is such a valid SEO strategy, because if Google thinks that your content is closely related to the query and it answers the question asked, Google displays it as a FAQ schema that is sure to attract readers.
Why is Schema Markup Important for Websites?
Schema markups usually get referred to as – virtual business cards- of all websites. Why so? Because they talk to the outside audience what the website is all about. Schema markups are significant because:
- They Provide Rich Snippets for Websites
Schema markup set up with structured data makes your website look good in front of users in search engine results. A rich snippet contains all information in a nutshell that a user would ever want to know about a website and the product they came searching for.
They offer additional information regarding the website much neater and organized than meta descriptions by incorporating ratings, reviews, prices etc. offering dense contents.
- They Drive Organic Click-Through Rates (CTR)
When a website seems to express itself in a rich snippet, offering all basic information a customer needs to know, there are high chances that it would drive quality traffic via click-through rates. The more clicks the website gets, the higher are the possibility of the website to rank better in search engine results. CTR is an important ranking factor in all search engines.
- They Boost Your Website SEO
Along with rich snippets and CTRs, schema markups can enhance your website SEO at an advanced level. A structured data markup helps search engines to understand the contents in each and every page. A deeper understanding of the website contents makes them indexable than the websites without schema. So eventually, websites with data markup are more likely to rank high in top positions than websites that haven’t utilized schema markup.
How to Use Schema Markup?
There is nothing to worry you do not require a new developer who knows the computer code language nor you need to learn it by yourself.
It is relatively simple once you follow these steps, you can generate schema markup within no time.
Step 1: Go to Google Structured Data Markup Helper.
Step 2: Select the type of data that you wish to markup. From the list of types mentioned above, pick one that serves your business the best. Here, let us choose “Articles” for convenience.
Step 3: Paste the URL of the article you want to markup (or any other URL like webpage or website or so) and click Start Tagging.
Step 4: In the resulting page, you can see your article or website content on the left side and data items on the right.
Step 5: Highlight the contents and select the type of elements to be marked up. For example, highlight the heading of the article and select Name from the tooltip. Eventually, the heading of the content gets added to the Data Items in the right panel as ‘Name of the article’. Likewise, keep the data items as a reference and tag maximum contents from the article.
Step 6: Once finished, click on Create HTML. In the resulting page, you can see the HTML page of your article with different microdata incorporated into the spots selected now.
Step 7: Add the generated schema markup into your HTML page (source code) at the appropriate spots. A simple way would be to download the auto-generated HTML page and copy/paste it into your source code or CMS (Content Management System).
Step 8: Before publishing the article immediately, you must preview it in the Structured Data Testing Tool to see the final page with the added schema markups. In that case, you can evaluate each markup element and make changes now and then.
An in-depth reading through this article might have showered light upon your fear of SCHEMA MARKUP.
It is not that hard as it seems, most people still have not invested in this relatively new SEO strategy.
So, it is your peak time to reap the benefits of schema markup and include your brand in Knowledge Graph, which has rather benefits of its own.