What is Schema Markup, and Why Is it Important for SEO?

If you’re just getting started with learning about schema markup and find it “too technical” or “scary” because it involves code, I’m here to tell you that it’s not. In fact, once you get started with creating and implementing structured data for your website and seeing improved results, you probably won’t want to stop. 

Schema markup is a great way to tell search engines more about the content on your page, help differentiate your website’s search results from others on the SERP, and improve click through rates to your website. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of understanding schema markup, common ways it can be used, different ways to implement it, and more.

Let’s get technical!

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What is Schema Markup in SEO?

Simply put, schema markup, also known as structured data, is organized information that we can pass on to search engines that helps them understand what a page is about. As the name implies, it converts unstructured data into structured data. 

A sample photo of Schema Markup code.

You can include schema markup across your website to tell Google a lot more detail about your pages. Then, search engines will take the structured data you have provided for a page and use it to enhance the result in the search engine results page (SERP). 

However, it’s important to know that there is no guarantee Google will show structured data in the SERPs for a particular page, even when implemented correctly. Google and other search engines can use this information to create rich results in search engines such as featured snippets, how to carousels, images, knowledge graphs, ratings and other rich snippet results. Rich snippets are built by using the structured data that’s “coded into” the page. 

Let’s take a look at an example of Product schema markup being used on one site vs. a normal result on the search engine results page (SERP). 

Below is a normal SERP result for Isle paddle boards: 

Normal SERP result for Isle paddle boards.

In comparison, below is a SERP result of another site selling an Isle paddle board that has added Product schema markup to the page to show users the product’s rating, the reviewer’s name, and other info. 

SERP result of another site selling an Isle paddle board that has added Product schema markup.

This is just one example of structured data being added to a page and Google showing it in the SERP. Depending on your business’ products or services, there are many different options for adding many types of markup to your website. 

There are a few different ways of doing schema markup, but Google recommends using and creating structured data through: 

  • Schema.org
  • JSON-LD 

 

Why Schema Markup is Important

Schema markup is an integral part of modern SEO. While schema markup won’t in and of itself ultimately help you rank better for your target keywords, it should help to increase click-through rate for your queries, which can. It can also help draw users’ eyes to compelling data. If you haven’t yet learned how to create and implement structured data for your website, now is the time to learn.

Although we’re focusing on Google guidelines here, schema markup is not just for Google. In fact, structured data can be read by Pinterest, Facebook, and the like. 

 

What are some ways you can benefit from using structured data?

There are many ways your website can benefit from structured data. You might specifically find it advantageous to use structured data if: 

  • Organic search traffic is important to you, and you want your page to stand out in the SERPs. 
  • Your pages include FAQs, how-to content, reviews, job listings, local business, events, products, courses, e-commerce, etc. 
  • You have multiple articles related to key terms and you want them to stand out as rich results in the SERPs. 
  • You want search engines to understand your website content better.

Now that you have a better understanding of schema markup and how your website can benefit from it, let’s jump into some schema markup types and practical examples of how you can apply structured data to your website. 

 

Common types of schema markup 

By going to Schema.org or Google’s structured data guidelines, you will find that there are many types of schema markup you can create. However, below are some of the most common types of markup you might need for your website, depending on your business and products or services. 

 

Product

Product schema markup is used for a product or service, not a software product (there is another type for software applications). This type of product markup would be for products such as shoes, clothes, tickets, etc.

Sample result of Product schema markup.

 

FAQ

FAQ page schema markup is meant for a page that contains a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic. 

 

HowTo

HowTo structured data can be used to explicitly tell Google that your content is a how-to, meaning it walks users through a set of steps to successfully complete a task. Although not required, HowTo markup can even feature images and videos in addition to text to help your results really stand out and increase click through rate to your content.

Sample result of HowTo markup.

 

Organization

Organization schema markup can help you build your brand. This not only can help your SERP result stand out, but it can also contribute to a Knowledge Graph. In organization schema markup, you would want to include things such as: name, logo, social profile, and contact information. 

 

Review snippet 

Review snippet schema markup includes a short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website (usually an average of the combined rating scores). When real reviews and ratings markup is found by Google, they might show a rich snippet that includes stars and other summary info from reviews or ratings. 

 

Local Business 

Local business schema markup can be for local businesses such as restaurants, bakery, self storage, travel agency, etc. With Local Business structured data, you can include information about your business hours, different departments within your business, reviews and more.

 

Event

Event structured data can be used for an event schedule for a business such as a concert venue or event venue showcasing, for example, a concert schedule. This type of markup makes it easier for people to discover and attend events through Google Search results and Google Maps. It both brings more interactive results and also increases discoverability and conversions for your events. 

 

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs show the structure of the website, such as the breakdown of the structure of where on the site the page is found. For example, you can use breadcrumbs for things such as a book title search. It would show up as: Books > Authors > Emily Henry > People We Meet on Vacation. In this type, you’ll need to fill in the information for each stage of breadcrumbs. 

 

SiteLinks SearchBox

A sitelinks search box is a quick way for people to search your site or app immediately on the SERP. 

Sample result of sitelinks search box.

As you can see, there are many different types of schema markup and ways that you can mark up your website to help search engines better understand your content. And, this isn’t even the full list. Now, let’s get to the fun part - tools and implementation! 

 

Free Schema Markup Tools You Should Bookmark

As you continue your journey into creating and implementing structured data, you’ll want to bookmark these URLs to use throughout the process:

Schema.org and Google’s Structured Data Guidelines 

These two sites are the basis for writing your structured data code and provide guidelines you should follow for creating schema markup on your website. 

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper will help you create structured data code for a specific page, allowing you to select certain parts of your page and assign the markup accordingly right from the page. 

Google’s Rich Results Test 

Google’s Rich Results Test allows you to see which rich results can be generated by the structured data on your page, and you can also preview how rich results might look in Google Search.

Schema Markup Validator

This one is especially important and just might be your best friend for correctly writing structured data code. Once you actually create your code, this tool allows you to test just a snippet of code or a live URL with schema markup on the page for errors or warnings in the markup. 

Technical SEO Schema Markup Generator

This one is my favorite – it will help you both feel and look like a schema markup pro without all of the manual work. This Technical SEO schema markup generator by Merkle is an awesome free tool; you simply enter the information you’d like to markup, and it creates the code for you. Although it cannot create the code for all types of markup, it has a pretty robust list of markup you can easily generate for items such as FAQ pages, Videos, Articles, How-Tos, Recipes, and so on. 

 

How to add structured data to your website

There are a few ways you can actually add structured data on your website. Those three ways include: 

  • Insert JSON-LD into an HTML page
  • Use Google Tag Manager to create structured data onto your web pages 
  • Usie a schema markup plugin (e.g. Schema Pro) 

Our preferred method of implementing schema markup is through Google Tag Manager. Doing it this way ensures that you don’t actually touch (or break) the code of the page. If you have a great development team and don’t want to touch the code yourself, they could implement the HTML markup into your CMS or source code of your webpage. Or, lastly, a plugin is also an easy way to add the markup on your website.  

There’s much more to learn! Stay tuned for a future step-by-step guide on how you can actually implement your schema markup using Google Tag Manager. 

 

Ready to get started?

As you can see, schema markup is a great way to help differentiate your website’s search results from others on the SERP, improve click-through rates, and tell search engines more about the content on your page. If you don’t yet have any structured data across your website, it’s time to get started. 

Not ready to take any of this on yourself? Jordan Digital Marketing has you covered. You can contact us to get help with your overall SEO strategy and how structured data fits in the mix.

 

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