Introduction to Schema Markup

Mohsin Khan is an engineer turned SEO professional. As an SEO Analyst at Infidigit, he is result driven and enjoys sharing knowledge through his conversational blogs.

Introduction to Schema Markup

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    Schema Markup, which is simply known as “Schema”, is one of the advancements in the digital marketing industry. It refers to a structured data code (known as semantic vocabulary) that can be added to your website so that the search engines can easily understand your Web pages. These codes help them identify the relationship between the entities mentioned on your website and queries entered on search engines.

    And, in turn, the search engines can show more authentic and relevant results on a search engine result page (SERP) whenever a user puts in a query. That is why the schema has now become a very critical part of the SEO strategy when designing the digital marketing plan for businesses.

    What is Schema Markup?

    Schema markup is a code (semantic vocabulary) that can be added to your website’s HTML, making it easier for search engines to understand your webpage. This will, in turn, help search engines to show more relevant and informative results to users on a SERP when they key-in a query.

    What is Schema.org?

    Schema.org is a co-operative endeavor between major search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! to standardize structured markup. The standardization of the structured markup was done to help search engines provide more relevant results to the users for their search query.

    How Does Schema Markup work?

    Just like any other markup formats, a schema is added to the content of your webpage to specify what it is and how it should be interpreted by search engines when displayed on a SERP.

    Let’s try to understand this with a real-time scenario:

    Webmasters are familiar with the HTML tags that can be used on a webpage. These HTML tags only tell the browsers how to display the information added within the tags. For example, <h1>Apple</h1> will display the text “Apple” in a heading 1 format. However, it does not provide any data about what the text means. Here, “Apple” could refer to a fruit, or it could refer to the brand ‘Apple’ whose electronic products are popular among people. This can cause ambiguity among search engines while displaying the search results on the SERP. You can resolve this by adding ‘Organization Schema’ to the webpage of Apple Inc., telling Google bots that the page is about a company or an organization and not a fruit. 

    Schema markup combined with the RankBrain algorithm and Google’s BERT update will help you find the most relevant answer on SERPs for your search query. 

    What is the Importance of Schema Markup?

    Below are a few of the major advantages of adding schema to your webpages:

    • Increased brand visibility within the knowledge graph.
    • Offers a quick preview of the content on SERPs
    • Can increase Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

    What is semantic search?

    The word “semantic” refers to the study of meaning or logic in a language or a set of words. So, semantic search is an advanced data searching technique in which a search engine searches data based on not only the keywords, but also the intent and contextual meaning of the words used for a search. It helps search engines generate more accurate results on the SERP.

    Why is schema essential for semantic search?

    After understanding schema and semantic search, you should be able to understand the relationship between the two. If semantic search involves the searching of data based on the intent and contextual meaning of words used for the search, it is the schema that provides this meaning to your content.

    By applying structured codes to your content, schema markup in SEO helps search engines accurately match and display your content on the SERP whenever a user searches for something related to your business. For example, if the content on your website is a speech, the schema is the vocabulary that a search engine understands to identify and decode the speech.

    Schema is recognized by all prominent search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex. 

    What are the Different Formats of the Schema Markup?

    There are three different formats of schema markups that are popularly used today. They are listed below:

    • JSON-LD: Google declared JSON-LD (JavaScript Objective Notation for Linked Data) as the preferred format of the Schema markup in 2015. It need not be present in the <body> of a page but can be placed in a <script> tag anywhere on the page. JSON-LD is hidden, making it easier for webmasters to implement it without affecting the rendering of the webpage.
    • Microdata: Microdata is a set of tags that are added directly to the HTML code of your page. This can get tricky if you are someone who is not familiar with programming.
    • RDFa: RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes) is similar to Microdata and is an extension of HTML5, which uses tags inline with the existing HTML. RDFa is used to markup metadata within the webpage.

    Is Schema Markup a Rankings Factor?

    Adding Schema Markup will help crawlers understand your page better and rank it accordingly on the SERP. However, Google’s John Mueller, in one of his Webmaster’s hangout sessions, indicated that it is not a ranking factor yet.

    Check what Matt Cutts has to say about Schema Markup

    YouTube video

    How to Add Schema Markup on a Webpage?

    Now let’s learn how to add schema markup on a webpage. Follow these simple steps mentioned to successfully add a schema markup

    Google Structured Data Markup Helper

    • Select the Type of Data you plan to Markup

    Select the schema which you wish to add to the target page. For the below example I am going to use “Article” as it is the most common type of content.

    • Insert the URL of the webpage that you want to markup

    Insert the URL of the webpage where you want to insert the schema as shown below and then, click on “start tagging.”

    Note: If you only have an HTML code Webpage, you can paste that by selecting HTML instead of URL

    Structured Data Markup Helper     Once you click on “start tagging”, Tag Data page will be loaded as seen in the below screenshot

    Structured Data Markup

    • Highlight & select the type of items you want to markup.

    Start Tagging the item to respective section on your page. For example, for name item, you can highlight the title of the article page and select “name” in the drop down.

    Structured Data MarkupAfter selecting the desired data item from the drop down, you will see the same in the right-hand side panel. For example – select “name,” from the dropdown & you will see the tool adds it to the “Data Items” on the right side.

    Structured Data Markup

    • Continue adding markup items

    Use the list of data items as a guide & highlight the other items of your article which you want to add in the schema. Don’t worry if you are not able to tag all the items, just add how much you can and leave rest of them as blank

    • Create HTML

    Once you’re done tagging all the items you require, click “create HTML” on top right corner

    Create HTMLYou will see the JSON-LD code which is generated of your webpage with all the fields you tagged in the earlier page.Google Structured Data Markup Helper

    • Add Schema Markup to your webpage

    Now, download the automatically generated JSON-LD code via the download button & copy-paste it into your CMS or source code.

    Structured Data Markup DownloadWhen you will click “Finish,” you will be presented with the “Next Steps.”

    Structured Data Markup Download Finish

    Structured Data Markup Tool Next StepsUse the Structured Data Testing Tool to find out how your webpage will look with the added markup.

    Structured Data Testing Tool

    What are some of the Important Schemas?

    There are numerous schema markups available that one can use depending on the type of content. Some most commonly used schemas are listed below:

    • Organization Schema

    Organization Schema Markup clarifies the introduction of a company, including its official logo, address, contact info, short description about the organization, reviews & social profiles.

    Organization Schema Markup

    • Breadcrumb Schema

    Breadcrumb Schema Markup lists the path links that lead to the current page. Breadcrumb is not seen about the Title on SERP page

    Breadcrumb Schema Markup

    • Article Schema

    Search engines retrieve article-specific information such as topic, headlines, date of publication, featured images, embedded videos and more. Also, schema markup varies for different types of content such as blog posts, news articles, scholarly articles, journals and publications and more

    • Event Schema

    Event Schema Markup provides information for the scheduled events. It shows information such as date, location & price for webinars, concerts, lectures, etc.

    Event Schema Markup

    • Recipe Schema

    Recipe Schema markup is used by the recipe website pages to show as a rich snippet.

    Recipe Schema Markup

    • People/Person Schema

    The People/Person Schema Markup is used to show information of an individual, such as name, birthday, address, education & family members.

    People/Person Schema Markup

    • Local Schema

    This Local Schema Markup helps local company to rank on local listing. For example, below screenshot shows local listing for query “grocery stores near me”

    Local Schema Markup

    • Product Schema

    Product schema markup is ideal for eCommerce websites and online stores, where specific product information could be shared with users instantly. This will give insights like product specifications, availability, pricing, estimated delivery, and more. 

    • Review/Rating Schema

    Review/Rating Schema Markup helps a service provider to build trust among the people on SERPs even before visiting the page & making an online purchase for services or products.

    Review/Rating Schema Markup

    • Video Schema

    Google Schema Markup makes it easier for search engines to crawl & index videos on the website. It also indicates search engines about the content of a webpage containing a video.

    Video Schema Markup

    • FAQ Schema

    FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Schema Markup contains a list of questions and answers to a particular topic. Webpages marked-up with FAQ schemas will be eligible to have a rich result on SERP.

    FAQ Schema Markup

    We’ll talk about them individually in our upcoming blogs.

    • Speakable Schema

    Speakable Schema markup enables virtual assistants or even Google assistants on smartphones to retrieve a featured snippet, key point, or take away from specific topics and narrate them to users. 

    This could be a topic or story’s key points, summary, bottom line, or any aspect of information users will find useful and interesting in a short span of time. Users can listen to updates on the go or at times when they can’t access a tangible interface to access the required information.

    Using Schema Markup for SEO

    Now that we have understood what is schema in SEO let’s move on to understand how we could use schema markup for SEO benefits. 

    • Discover the Most Commonly Used Schemas

    The first step in using schema markup for SEO is to get an idea of the most commonly used schemas in your niche or segment. To do this, you can head to schemas.org and check out all the distinct types of schema markups ideal for your business. 

    • Use Multiple Schemas in Your Webpage

    For the uninitiated, there are different types of schemas. When you visit the portal, you will find types that are suited for different purposes. Depending on your needs and your intention with what to markup, you can use multiple schemas in your webpage.

    • Use More Schemas to Markup Your Various Content Elements

    As far as schemas are concerned, the more the better. As you explore the types of schemas, you will begin to understand the purpose and potential of each. So, use all the schemas to markup content that will be visible to your web page visitors. At this point, remember not to markup content that will be hidden at the backend. 

    What Did We Learn About Schema Markup?

    Google does not promise to push your rank higher on SERPs if you include Schema on your page. However, adding schema markup can boost your chances to be featured in the ‘rich snippet’, which in turn can increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Implementing Schema Markup in the right way can put you ahead of your competitors in the race for more web traffic.

    Let us know what Schema Markup you are using and how it has helped. 

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