What is schema markup?
Schema markup is a piece of code placed on your website to help search engines return more informative results for the user.
Once added, schema markup creates enhanced descriptions in search results, making your website more appealing and aesthetically pleasing to users, which can be key in order to differentiate your site from those of your competitors.
As search engines become ever more advanced, there is more reliance on structured data helping crawlers understand the content – and most importantly the context – of the site.
Determining the context of a query has been a struggle at times for Google, but it seems the process of marking up content bridges the gap and ultimately serves more accurate search results.
What are the benefits of schema markup?
Using schema markup on your website can have multiple benefits to the organic visibility and overall performance of your site, including:
- Improving crawlability of content – the specific format of structured data helps search engines better understand your content
- The potential to improve search appearance and organic click through rate. Features like rich snippets are generated when schema is deployed on a website and eventually pulled through to the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Types of schema markup
Not all types of schema markup are visible in the search results. Types of schema which operate ‘behind the scenes’ and help Google better understand the website include:
- Organisation – helps Google better understand your organisation and the services you offer
- Website – outlines a set of web pages and other items served from a single domain
- Breadcrumb (if applicable) – defines site architecture
- LocalBusiness (if applicable) – can strengthen local visibility
- Article – deployed on blog posts
Examples of schema markup types which appear in the search results include:
Applying markup to product pages which captures the aggregate rating (review) in the search results below:
Applying markup to showcase upcoming events to enhance click-through rate to the website:
Applying markup to individual job pages to showcase key information in the search results such as salary, employment type and location:
Google Jobs was introduced to the UK index in July and now job posting markup has become integral in order to rank highly in the Google Jobs platform.
Does schema improve ranking performance?
When schema markup implementation was first introduced into search, there were discussions of whether it was a cemented ranking factor. Currently, there is no indication that schema markup is a ranking signal and it should remain that way.
The role of schema markup is purely to leverage your content and help search engines better understand the context of your piece. If you’re content is high quality, well structured and uses the correct markup, it has every chance of ranking well for its target keywords.
If you’re producing high quality content but not marking it up, then you may not be improving organic performance as much as you could.
How to add schema markup to your site
Schema markup operates in 3 coding languages:
JSON-LD is the more user-friendly language as it is easy to test throughout your markup creation.
Schema markup can be deployed through various tools, including Google Tag Manager. Use Tag Manager to create a custom HTML tag, then pair with your trigger.
Make sure you test your markup code in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure it adheres to structured data guidelines.
An example of a custom HTML tag for ‘LocalBusiness’ schema markup type can be seen below:
The code above includes key business information that will help strengthen its local visibility.
As simple as schema markup is to implement, it’s still surprising how few businesses and websites have taken full advantage of it. Utilise schema to gain an edge over your competition and drive potential conversions in the long-term.