Schema markup is code that is used on websites to help search engines to return more informative results for searchers.
Schema.org was the result of the collaborative efforts of Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo to give the information that search engines need in order to understand the content of a site to provide the best search engine results at any one time.
Adding Schema markup to HTML makes improvements to the way in which a page is displayed on SERPs by enhancing the snippets that are shown underneath a title page.
Here, the Schema markup instructed the search engine results page to bring three different recommendations for websites with banana bread recipes included on their site- one from ‘Best Recipes’, another from ‘Women’s Weekly Food’ and finally one from ‘Delicious’. Something that is useful for a searcher – saving them a lot of time looking through the SERP for a suitable recipe.
What else does the Schema markup do?
As well as being able to look into what it does, let’s take a look at some of the hows and whys of the Schema markup.
Schema informs search engines what data means– not only what it says
Your website’s content will get indexed and then returned in the results of a search. That’s what search engines do. However, with added schema markup, some of your content will be indexed in an entirely different way.
The markup will tell the search engine exactly what the content means, and how it should be interpreted as a search result. An example of this is if the words ‘John Smith’ should be written into an article on your website, a search engine will see this, and the search engine results page entry will highlight the words, ‘John Smith’. That’s how search engines work, however, if the correct schema markup is placed just around the name ‘John Smith’ then the search engine now knows that ‘John Smith’ had written some of the content, and was not just a couple of random words.
Search engines will then also display more informative content about ‘John Smith’ for the user who was searching for that name.
To explain further
Many web designers will be familiar with HTML tags being used on the pages, which would usually be used to tell the browser how to display the information included within the tag.
An example would be <h1> Frozen </h1> will instruct the browser to show the word ‘Frozen’ formatted to display in heading 1 format on the page.
However, this HTML tag fails to give information about what the text means. ‘Frozen’ could easily refer to the hit animated kids film as much as it could be translated to what to do with veggies to keep them fresh.
This example shows that it can be more challenging for search engines to display the correct content relevant to the searcher’s intent.
Schema markup was made for users
Websites that use the schema markup can display what they’re all about once shown on a search engine results page. Searchers will then be able to see what a website is about, what a company or organisation does, the costs of products or services, as long as who they are. There’s plenty that the schema markup can do to the visibility of a website’s displays on a SERP.
Think of it like a business flyer giving a potential customer a brief overview of who a company are and what it does.
Search engines are designed to educate and inform users about what they wish to find out. With Schema markup in place, this user-focused improvement does exactly that.
Why is the Schema markup so important?
Here’s why you should be using schema markup for your website. By using it properly, you will see your website ranking better for a wide range of content.
For example, it could be used to highlight;
- Different articles
- Local businesses
- Tv shows and their ratings
- Best selling book reviews
- Moves and movie reviews
- Products and services
There are countless types of markup varying from local pet shops to movie scheduling to bring customers and potential customers up to speed with what is going on with your business by bringing people to your website.
Users of schema markup are going to rank higher on search engine results pages than those who choose not to use markup. Studies have shown that websites with the schema markup rank four positions higher on average on the SERPs than those without this markup. Although it is inconclusive as to whether the higher ranking is due to the markup alone, there is some correlation between websites that use it.
There are, however, one-third of websites that appear on the search engine results page do not utilise schema markup, meaning that there are millions of sites that miss out of a massive amount of SEO potential for their websites and their businesses alike.
By using this valuable source, you’ll get a huge leg up on your competition on the SEO rankings.
Some tips on using Schema markup
So we’ve looked into what schema markup does as well as why you should use it. Here are some tips to dive deeper to get better results from a schemer.
- Find the most commonly used schema
The Schema.org website has an extensive list of the most common types of schema markup, which can be found on the Organisation of Schemas page.
The more marked up, the better
When you begin to understand the plethora of item types, you will soon see how much content on your websites can be marked up.
The more content that is marked up, the better, however, you should only mark up relevant information, and not any hidden page elements which will enhance SEO rankings.
Schema markup is an SEO innovation that will develop over time. Use the skills and expertise of dedicated Digital Marketing Experts to make sure your website remains on top of the ranks.