If you’re looking for a way to drive more visitors via search, schema markup can help your website get more clicks from visibility. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of schema markup and why it matters for SEO.
What is schema markup?
Schema markup is code (also called semantic vocabulary or microdata) that you can add to the HTML for your website. This microdata helps search engines better understand your content so that they can return more detailed and informative results for searchers.
Once added to your website, schema markup creates a more detailed description for your page, called a “rich snippet,” that appears on the search engine results page (SERP). We will cover rich snippets in more detail in a later section.
Schema.org is a collaboration between many different search engines, including Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo.
How does schema markup structured data work?
Structured data involves matching names and values to make it easier for search engines to categorize and index your content. Microdata is a form of structured data that works with HTML5, the most universally used major markup language. Schema.org, or schema markup, offers a set of widely agreed-upon definitions for microdata tags.
Schema markup is most often used to add information about values in these categories:
- Creative work
- Medical entity
For a complete list of values and items you can mark up with schema tags, you can find the full hierarchy at Schema.org.
In layman’s terms, schema markup structured data tells Google and other search engines what a webpage’s content is all about. In turn, Google can pass that information along to searchers and show them the most relevant results.
“Creation of structured data varies from site to site based on opportunities for category schema mark-up,” Justine Amato, Sr. SEO Account Manager at Tinuiti said.
“Video content with structured data can provide search engines with additional information. Providing search engines with video descriptions, thumbnail URLs, upload date and duration can be used for videos and even top stories carousels with AMP (accelerated mobile pages).”
Ecommerce websites can utilize product schema to further enhance visibility with distinguishing factors of product name, brands, descriptions, reviews, product images, price, availability. This provides increased visibility within SERPs for a clear visual of a particular product.
The image above is a good example of an ecommerce site utilizing product schema -showing description, review rating, availability and price.
How does schema markup impact SEO?
When you use schema markup, Google can easily understand your webpage’s content. As a result, your webpage gets a rich snippet and can become an entity in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
A rich snippet is a Google search result that shows extra information between the URL and the meta description. Rich snippets often show up for recipes, reviews, and events.
For example, if you search “taco recipe,” you might see these two results on the SERP:
In this example, the first result shows a rich snippet. It includes information like the recipe rating, cook time, and a photo of the finished meal.
The information in rich snippets is often pulled from the structured data in a page’s HTML. When you add that structured data with schema markup, Google is likely to show rich snippets on the SERP when your webpage comes up in search results.
Rich snippets are more interesting and appealing than typical search results, so giving Google the data it needs to create a rich snippet can help drive visibility for your site and clicks from organic search.
Schema markup is also one of the main sources of information for Google’s Knowledge Graph, a knowledge base of entities and the relationships between them.
Image source: Ahrefs
The Knowledge Graph helps Google better understand users’ search queries, which in turn helps them provide more relevant results.
One significant benefit of being included in Google’s Knowledge Graph is getting a knowledge panel when people search specifically for your brand.
Google describes knowledge panels as “information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities (people, places, organizations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph. They are meant to help you get a quick snapshot of information on a topic based on Google’s understanding of available content on the web.”
For example, Tinuiti’s knowledge panel looks like this:
Knowledge panels are a great way to get all of the relevant information about your brand in front of searchers who are actively seeking it out.
While there is no conclusive evidence that included schema markup inherently boosts your rankings, that structured data helps get more eyes on your content and brand.
As more people click on your webpage — whether via a rich snippet or knowledge panel — Google will notice that people who search for either a relevant query or your brand name choose to click on your site over others. This tells Google that your page is a relevant result for that specific search, which in turn improves overall brand visibility.
For the best results, test out different schema markup tags on different pages and see how it affects your rankings and search traffic. To generate your own code, check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool.