If you’ve ever done any reading into improving your website’s SEO, there’s no doubt that you’ll have come across the term schema markup. Schema is by no means anything new in the world of SEO, however, it seems that there’s still plenty of organisations missing out on using schema markup as a competitive edge in the search engine results.
Throughout this blog, we’ll go deeper into the subject of schema markup and show you how you can use it to give your SEO a boost.
What is Schema Markup?
Formed in 2011 following a collaboration between Google, Yahoo and Yandex, schema markup is a simple language that search engines use to understand the content of your webpage. When used correctly, search engines use the data found in schema markup to provide enhanced descriptions in your search engine results.
Have you ever noticed that some results have star ratings next to their organic listing? Or how some blog posts will show their read time directly on the search results? That’s schema markup. These pages include a little piece of extra code which tells Google information about that particular content which they can then use to quickly inform their users.
Will Schema Markup Improve my Search Rankings?
There’s no evidence that using schema markup can improve your search rankings. After all, it’s very common to see pages not using schema ranking in the top positions, and those using schema scattered throughout the search results. However, it has been known to improve your click-through rates by up to 30%, primarily due to the extra Google real-estate that you can capture.
Organic space on Google has been known to be diminishing for several years now, with paid ad space occupying large areas at the top and bottom of the page. It’s becoming more important than ever to do all that’s in your power to gain exposure on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Schema could just be the answer if you’re willing to put in the extra work.
Types of Schema Markup
There are many different types of schema markup due to the sheer number of questions people are asking search engines on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of schema that you might want to implement yourself.
Local Business Schema Markup
Local business schema markup if perfect for businesses that target customers in their local area. With some schema markup added to your page, you’ll be able to display additional information about your business such as opening hours, address, contact information and even a review from your clients. This should be a priority as part of any local seo strategy.
Recipe Schema Markup
If you list recipes on your website, you can use schema to display extra information about each recipe in the search results. BBC Good Food and Gordan Ramsey use this to good effect. The schema allows them to show additional information such as cooking time, calories and rating directly in the search results.
Event Schema Markup
Event schema can be used to display a small amount of information about upcoming events that you list on your website. You’ll be able to show date, location and a direct link to the event listing.
Rating/Review Schema Markup
Perhaps one of the most common forms of schema that you will notice is the rating/review schema markup. This can have a dramatic increase in your click-through rates from organic search, as it gives users a quick snapshot of the quality of your product/service.
How-to Schema Markup
How-to schema is one of the latest variations of structured content released by Schema.org. And as you’ve probably guessed, it allows you to display your how-to guide directly on the search results.
FAQ Schema Markup
FAQ schema is another form of structured data that Google launched early this year at the same time as How-to and Q&A. It’s not had the greatest reception from marketers, with some businesses reporting significant traffic losses since implanting FAQ schema, as users are finding their answers instantly on the search results page. On the flip side, it could lead to less time-consuming calls to your support desk as users will be able to find their answers quicker.
Product Information Schema Markup
Display additional information about a particular product that’s listed on your website. You’ll be able to show price, ratings and stock availability. These are key if you offer the same product as your competitors but want to stand out in the SERPs.
Video Schema Markup
Video schema can be used to allow Google to crawl and properly index your videos. With this schema implemented, you’ll receive a badge on the image in mobile image search results, which can encourage more users to click through to your video content.
Article Schema Markup
You can add article schema to your news, blog or articles to increase your exposure in the search results. Features include headline text, larger thumbnails and potential placement in the top stories carousel, host carousel or visual stories.
You can view the full list of schema markup here and see examples in Google Search Gallery.
How to Add Schema Markup to Your Site
Many tools can help you add the different types of schema markup to your web pages. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper should be your first port of call. With this tool, you can select which schema you would like to use along with your URL and you’ll be able to highlight the required data to include in the code. The tool then generates a simple code which can be inserted below the head section of your HTML.
Taking Inspiration From Your Competitors
You might have already noticed that some of your competitors have better search results by using schema markup. Luckily, you can easily run their website through the Google Structured Data Testing Tool and it will display every piece of structured data that they’re using. You can then implement these on your own site to gain the same enhancements in the search results.
Using structured data throughout your website should be a key part of your SEO strategy. Google is all about organising the world's information, making it universally accessible and serving it at speed. Giving Google further access to understand your content aligns with this goal and in return, you will receive enhanced listings in the search results. What’s even better is that there’s still a large proportion of businesses not implementing schema, so this could just be the SEO edge that you’ve been looking for.
If you're looking for help with implementing schema markup on your website, please feel free to speak to one of our digital marketing experts on 020 3397 4155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.