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Schema markups are code designed to help search engines understand the meaning of your digital content, creating an enhanced description in search results, called rich snippets.
Schema markups show an accurate answer to the question users make to a search engine. But search engines don’t “think” like we do. They just process information at face value. Providing to-the-point answers doesn’t occur automatically.
When search engines were the new thing, users had to carefully word their search queries to get a proper result, often having to add or remove words to your question until you finally got the search engine to understand exactly what you wanted.
Then structured data stepped into the scene, giving search engines specific clues about the page’s information. (The Digital Marketing Institute expands upon this topic if you want to learn more about it.)
Structured data used to be something very technical only programmers could do, and most content creators never got around to apply it. Those days are over.
Because schema markup entered the picture.
If you use schema markup effectively, you can increase your click-through-rate (CTR) by 28%, as Search Engine Land explains (citing results from Dutch car insurance website operator Independer).
By adding certain tag words to your content, you inform the search engine, whether it’s Google, Yahoo, Bing or other, what you’re actually referring to in your different website pages.
Let’s say a site contains the word “penguin.” Everytime you use the word “penguin,” the search engine can’t really tell if you’re referring to the animal or the clothing brand.
However, if you add a schema markup tag, you can easily erase that doubt by giving extra information to the search engine that won’t show up on the final page your users see.
Instead, it’ll give the reader a glimpse of the specifics they’re looking for in the form of a rich snippet, improving the chances of your page being the one opened among the others.
If you add schema markup to websites, you can include all kinds of useful data that the search engine will retrieve as a rich snippet, quickly answering the specific question users asked the search engine.
A musician on tour may add locations, dates, times and even price of their future shows to their search engine results page (SERP), which is, most likely, what the user’s searching for in the first place.
In an article, you can mark with schema important personal names, clarifying what the person does for a living, clearing any doubts about their identity, or making sure the basic information that you’ll cover on your content is readily available on your search result.
The list of possible markups available is so massive that anything you need is likely to be there. There’s data markup for events, products, recipes, movies, health, organizations, people, local business, places and much more.
But don’t worry. You don’t need to know them all, just the ones you’re more likely to use.
Schema markup gives users a much better SERP, so when you use structured data SEO you have the opportunity to give users exactly what they’re looking for, attracting them to your website because you answer all of their questions.
Rich snippets will easily catch the eye of your users, improving your click through rate and bringing interested traffic to your site.
Tip: If you use schema with other SEO tools, you’re more likely to power past bottom SERPs.
Schema.org provides a shared vocabulary that allows webmasters and developers to enhance the user’s experience by marking their webpage content with schemas, which are specific words that allow the search engine crawlers to understand the context of the data available on the webpage’s code. This provides users with an accurate SERP.
As Schema.org states:
Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet. In addition to people from the founding companies (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex), there is substantial participation by the larger web community, through public mailing lists such as firstname.lastname@example.org and through GitHub.
When you start looking into schema markup SEO for your website, it’s very likely that your data or content will have an itemscope, itemtype and itemprop suitable to use.
Let’s take a look at these elements:
Itemscope defines the attribute of the associated data of your content. For example, if you’re talking about a movie, the itemscope will mark the part of your webpage that has information about the film.
Itemtype is what specifically defines what your content is about. In this case, you’d use Itemtype to identify the fact that you’re talking about a movie.
Itemprop lets you mark specific information to your content, such as who directed the movie, the main cast, the genre, the soundtrack, etc.
Schema markups tell search engines what your data means in terms they can process, so you won’t have to write your content in a keyword stuffing mode or provide the users with awkward snippets.
This gives you an interesting chance to plan and develop your content strategy focusing on quality and empathy towards the needs of your readers, rather than on technicalities only, like it used to be.
Your best schema for SEO happens when you tag content with useful schemas and highlight the information users are most likely to search for, without sacrificing the visual design or writing style in the final version of your website.
There’s a major gap between what you literally write on your website and the results search engines show. Unless you use schema markup well to show readers meaningful information in the form of rich snippets after they perform a search.
In Schema.org’s own words:
Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string "Avatar" in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn't give any information about what that text string means—"Avatar" could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.
Although there’s no evidence that using schema markup directly affects your search rankings yet, the rich snippets schema markups create can raise your webpage’s visibility.
By adding visibility to your page, schema markup will organically grant you more traffic and CTR, having a positive impact on your search ranking, by being more helpful and accurate than your competitors.
It’s an easy way to make sure your target audience sees your already high-quality content.
Although about one third of Google’s search results have rich snippets, only a very small amount of websites use schema markups properly. This means if you learn how to use schema markup for SEO you can stand out on SERPs quickly and increase traffic.
Wondering how to write a schema markup in your web page code?
We’ve got you covered — and you don’t need to rely on coding as the only way to add schema markup tags. You can easily use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to tag your webpage.
Let’s see how:
1. Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
It’ll tell you the steps to follow and give you the options to work from a uniform resource locator (URL) or to copy your code on a hypertext markup language (HTML) tab. It also will ask you to select a data type from the following options:
2. Pick the Data You Want To Mark Up
On the list at the bottom of the page, pick the type of data you’ll be marking. Let’s say “Article.”
3. Enter the URL of Your Desired Page
Now, paste the URL of the page you’ll be marking on the URL field box and click the “Start Tagging” button.
4. Highlight the Elements You Wish To Mark Up
Now you’ll see a split-screen, with your page on the left side and a list of items on the right. To start tagging, just highlight text on your displayed page. For example, the article’s title.
5. Pick the Type of Mark for Your Element
An action box will appear with a list of possible item types. In this case, since we highlighted the article’s title, we’ll choose the type “Name”. When you do that, the right screen will update with the highlighted information.
6. Keep Marking Elements
Now you have to repeat the process with the different item types you wish to add to your page, by highlighting the content and marking it with the appropriate tag once the action box appears.
7. Create the Marked-Up HTML
When you have marked all the necessary items, simply click the “Create HTML” button in the top-right of your screen.
The page will automatically generate the code with the Schema tags.
8. Add the Generated Code to Your Page
Now you can either add the Schema Markup codes on your page’s original code by copying it from the HTML provided by the tool. It will be highlighted on the scroll bar so you can find it without having to search through the whole code.
Quick tip: Download the HTML generated by the tool, then copy and paste it on your original code.
Click “Finish” and you’ll reach a dialogue box with options. Select the option to test your code.
9. Test Your New Code With the Structured Data Testing Tool
Now use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Paste the code on the “HTML” field click preview to see what your page will look like on Google’s SERP. You can also check all the markups that you added and, if necessary, edit them directly on the testing tool and preview it again.
When you start working on your schema markup strategy, you’d like to consider these:
1. Find Popular Schema Markups
You can find the most popular types on Schema.org and choose the ones that suit your content. This will ensure more visibility on searches.
2. Don’t Leave Any Useful Schema Types Out
Use all the schema types that match your business by checking the full list. There are a lot of schema markup types, so be patient and thorough.
3. When In Doubt, Err on the Side of Excess
The more you mark, the more information you give search engines and the easier it’ll be for you to appear on top of SERPs. Don’t be shy when tagging. Try to find as much meaningful information around your content as possible.
4. Look for Inspiration
If looking through the many item types provided by Schema.org seems daunting, it’s because it can be.
However, a faster way to get started is to look for SEO schema examples already available. Search for content that’s similar to yours and if you find markups that you can add to your content page, you’ll save lots of time.
5. Start With Your Most Seen Pages
We know that adding schema markups to your whole website can take a lot of time and effort. You can maximize results by tagging your most visited pages first and going down the list of popular content afterwards.
This way you’ll make a better use of your time by increasing the visibility of the most prominent articles first, which is likely to cascade on more organic views of the rest.
Schema markup isn’t just code that experts secretly use, but a necessary tool to distinguish yourself from competitors in a sea of content. Learning how to do schema markups will increase your organic traffic by adding value to your readers and relevance to your SERPs.
Climbing the ranks is possible.
You just need a strategic and multifaceted approach to SEO that, apart from using schema markup, follows these 4 steps:
Planning your SEO strategy based on your objectives, your target audience and what your competitors are doing.
Analyzing data that helps you bolstering your rankings and click through rates.
Producing the kind of content that search engines are more likely to crawl is your main goal.
Polishing your pages to stay on top of the evolving SEO landscape is as key as creating content.
Kantaloupe can help you out with enterprise SEO services. We provide:
We build a roadmap customized to your needs.
We analyze your site content and code structure, looking for areas of improvement.
We write content search engines crave for. We laser-focus on driving traffic to your site and converting it into qualified leads.
Ready to outperform your competitors? Go Kantaloupe.