Why Use Schema?
You might be hearing a lot about schema markup, microdata, and structured data. However, many of us have no idea about what it is and how to use it.
Let me tell you this: Schema Markup is one of the latest evolutions in SEO and is the most potent but least-utilized form of SEO among marketers despite its considerable benefits.
According to a study by Bing and Catalyst, merely 17% of marketers use Schema.org markup.
It’s becoming increasingly important in the age of voice search and acts as a signpost that leads digital assistants towards the information that correctly answers the user’s voice query. In addition to this, it can also help in boosting your website in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Let me help you understand a basic question that might be bothering you when you read the headline.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup is a form of microdata that can be added to your webpage to create an enhanced description (also known as a rich snippet) that appears in the search result.
It’s crucial in the age of Hummingbird and RankBrain to determine the context of a query. In 2011, top search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and Google collaborated to create Schema.org.
In a nutshell: Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to enable search engines to give more informative results for your users. The schema markup tells the SERP to display the desired information.
I am sure you might be wanting to know something more about schema markup.
Let’s dive deeper.
FACT#1: Schema conveys to the search engine what your data truly means.
Every content on your website gets indexed and returned in search results. Once you use the scheme markup, some of the content gets indexed and returned differently.
How does this happen?
Schema markup tells the search engine what the content actually means.
For example: If the word ‘Hemal Bhatt appears in an article, then the search engine will produce a SERP entry with Hemal Bhatt.
When you place the right scheme around the word ‘Hemal Bhatt,’ you’ve told the search engine that Hemal Bhatt is the author of the article and asks the search engine to display better information for the user searching for Hemal Bhatt.
FACT#2: Schema markup utilizes unique semantic vocabulary in microdata format.
All you need to do is add bits of schema.org vocabulary to your HTML Microdata. Schema is an inter-industry collaboration where you need to agree upon a set of code markers that tell you what to do with your website’s data.
FACT#3: Schema markup was invented for users.
A website with schema markup allows users to see everything about a website in the SERPs. You can even call it a ‘virtual business card.’
Schema markup helps users get the information they need.
Why is Schema Markup Important?
Schema markup helps to rank your website better for all types of content. You can get data markup for the following:
- Local Businesses
- TV episodes and ratings
- Software applications
For movies, rich snippets come in varying sizes, depending on the website.
For instance: A major website like IMDb has a small amount of information listed in their rich snippet, displaying the movie’s rating.
While another website like Rotten Tomatoes, the rich snippet is much bigger and shows the rating, genre, runtime, etc.
It doesn’t just happen because Google decides to show you more or less information.
Everything depends on the Schema markup that has been added to the page. Adding schema to your site will allow search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. to help your users understand your context.
Schema markup exists because search engines want to provide more avenues to supply desired information about your content on your website pages.
It powers rich snippets that have higher click-through-rates than regular search results. This means more traffic to your website.
The function of the markup is to help search engines understand your content better.
This one is a fantastic example by Ahrefs about what *Google’s Knowledge Graph looks like.
*Google’s Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base of entities and the relationships between them.
Here, all the edges that are connecting the nodes represent real schema markup properties.
By looking at the above google knowledge graph, you can tell that schema markup aims to provide easy-to-read information about your company, products, services, content, and likewise.
- Google helps you to understand things better than plain text.
- Users are likely to get more relevant search results.
- Marketers get rich snippets and can become an entity in the knowledge graph.
Getting included in the knowledge graph offers excellent branding opportunities in the SERP. You get a knowledge panel whenever people search for you, and your brand name appears as a relevant solution for non-branded queries.
Thinking about the bigger picture, schema markup is an essential part of structured data that enables semantic web and search.
It also allows URLs to convey the actual meaning of your content to Googlebot.
I firmly believe that schema is essential for SEO as it:
- Provides you with a distinct set of data.
- Matches with your search query or intent.
- Increases user experience on search engines.
- Improves search engine optimization practices of UX.
- Enhances your ranking factor.
Let me give you 3 reasons why schema markup is important for SEO:
- It offers extensive rich snippets.
- It drives organic click-through rates.
- It boosts your website SEO.
As said above, schema markup provides rich snippets for articles, movies, products, events, and many more.
In addition to this, there are hundreds of other data markup types for different genres. You can get many like these from entertainment to medical schedules. As a matter of fact, any type of data on your website can have an ‘itemtype’ and ‘itemscope’.
Let me give you a concrete example from Schema.org.
If you have a page about the Hollywood movie ‘Avatar’. Your website links the movie tailor and provides all information about the director, cast, run time, reviews, etc.
In this case, your HTML code should look like this:
If you want to get details ‘about’ the movie, add the itemscope element to the HTML tag that encloses the item’s information.
Adding an itemscope means you’re specifying that the HTML displayed in the <div>…</div> block is about a particular item.
If you want to specify the type of item using the ‘itemtype’ attribute, then the markup specifies that the thing is a movie as defined in the Schema.org type hierarchy.
I will continue explaining the 3 common ways schema is useful for SEO.
- It offers extensive rich snippets.
Schema markup will make your web page look better in SERPs since it enhances the rich snippets displayed under your content’s page title.
The first result contains all the information the user is searching for. It shows that the rich snippet looks way better than the second one, which has the metadata that Google chooses.
Which one would you choose?
Obviously, the first one as it consists of an extensive rich snippet.
A structured data markup allows you to display the exact information you need your users to see on your web pages’ snippet.
- It drives organic click-through rates.
An extensive rich snippet that’s well-presented in search engine result pages will garner the highest organic click-through rates.
In the above example, the first snippet is classified as an extensive rich snippet resulting from a structured data markup on a specific web page.
It can also provide an indirect SEO benefit because it makes your web pages indexable easily by offering targeted metadata that’s accurate than only keywords.
Other significant ranking factors include SEO behavioral data like time on site, bounce rate, click-through rate, etc.
Schema markup is an indirect ranking factor but is one of the powerful SEO practices that can help rank your website at the top of the search engine results pages.
A structured data markup can aid in:
- Enhancing your rich snippets
- Driving higher click-through rates
- Allowing search engines to understand your web page content
- Making your website more indexable than other websites without schema markup
Experts have also claimed that web pages with a structured data markup can rank up to four positions higher than those that do not utilize a data markup. Thus, we can say that investing your effort in schema markup can improve your SEO. Try it!
To round it off
SEO and schema markup are a huge world in itself. Use schema to make your website trustworthy and give it a sense of authority on search engines.
Make the most of the common schema types that suit your business niche and give you richer results.