Schema plays a big role in search engine optimization, but it’s surprisingly underused. If you haven’t used a schema in your website, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to increase your click-through rate and offer more information to readers in the SERP. Fortunately, adding schema to your site is a fairly easy and straightforward process.
Schema was first introduced in 2011 with the purpose of helping search engine algorithms understand what the text of a website really means. It has become especially important since big Google changes like the 2013 Hummingbird update, which placed emphasis on natural language and context over keywords, and the 2015 RankBrain update, which introduced AI to better understand written language.
Google and other search engines have made great progress over the years in interpreting natural language. Schema helps search engine algorithms understand the overall context and purpose of a web page instead of just the individual keywords. You should understand what schema is, what types of formats are available, and why it’s important to include in your local business website.
What Is the Schema Markup?
Schema is a type of structured data markup that builds an enhanced description of a web page. This description, also known as a rich snippet, appears in search results in addition to the page title, URL, and meta description.
HTML tags tell the browser how it should display information, but they don’t tell the browser what the text really means. Schema provides semantic vocabulary to Google, which gives it a better understanding of the meaning of the text and the purpose of the web page. This helps the algorithm deliver more relevant and helpful results to users.
Types of Structured Data Markups
There have been two types of structured data markups: Data-vocabulary.org and Schema.org.
Data-vocabulary.org: This site was introduced in 2009 as the first structured data resource. However, as of April 2020, this type of data is no longer eligible for rich snippets in the Google SERP. Google has been moving toward Schema.org for several years now, so they are discontinuing the use of Data-vocabulary.org.
Schema.org: In 2011, Google, Bing, and Yahoo collaborated to create Schema.org. This site lists all of the available schema markups. Because all the major search engines collaborated on Schema.org, developers can use the data and maintain consistency across all three sites.
Types of Structured Data Formats
The three structured data formats are microdata, RDFa, and JSONLD. These are all languages of code that you can add to your HTML to embed metadata.
Microdata: This format consists of a set of tags that are used to annotate HTML tags. The data is directly embedded within the HTML. It’s straightforward and easy for beginners to understand, but it requires you to mark each individual item on the page. This is time-consuming and can get messy.
RDFa: This stands for Resource Description Framework in Attributes. It is an HTML5 extension that embeds data in the HTML tags. It can chain structured data vocabularies together, which is helpful if you’re using a combination of Schema.org tags and others.
Types of Schema Tags
There is a wide range of schema markups you can add to your site. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Businesses and organizations
Almost any content or data on your website will have associated schema markups. You can explore Schema.org to look for tags that are relevant to your site.
Why Schema Markup Is Important for SEO
There is no evidence that schema directly improves your ranking. However, schema benefits your site in several ways.
Schema allows your site to appear in the SERP with a rich snippet, and results with rich snippets have a higher CTR than results without. When users see more information in the search results, it’s easier for them to judge whether or not the site will be helpful. Also, appearing with a rich snippet makes your result larger and more prominent in the SERP, which naturally draws attention.
Schema helps search engines deliver more relevant results, which is good for both marketers and searchers. Your website will reach people who are searching for exactly what you’re offering, so you’ll receive high-quality leads.
Schema is a powerful tool, but many developers still haven’t added it to their sites. This is a great opportunity to get ahead of your competitors and increase your visibility in the SERP. Getting started is easy, and it can deliver good results right away and Google also has a structured data testing tool to help with schema errors.