As an SEO executive whenever there’s a big change in the digital marketing world it’s a big deal and, as sad as it may be, I become fixated on it. So when I first learnt about Schema Markup nearly six months ago it became my mission to learn the ins and outs and utilise it to its full potential. The more I researched Schema Markup the more I realised it wasn’t just a really cool piece of code but in fact a huge part in the future of SEO.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema Markup is a piece of code that you mark up your content with to give search engines extra information so they can better analyse and display your content. The idea is that users get more information about a website before they click on it due to the extra information displayed in the search results.
Why is Schema Markup so important?
Schema Markup is the result of collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex meaning all these search engines are really pushing websites to mark up their content with Schema Markup and are even using it a ranking factor.
What types of Schema Markup are there?
There are 10 types of Schema that you can currently experiment with on Google’s’ Structured Data Markup Helper, they are as follows:
- TV Episodes with Ratings
- Book Reviews
- Local Businesses
- Software Applications
- TV Episodes
You first select between website or email, both of which can be marked up with Schema Markup. Once you’ve selected a ‘type’ from the list above you simply enter the page URL or paste in the raw HTML and click ‘start tagging’. Depending on which Schema type you selected you will then be presented with various options on how you can markup your page and add in extra tags for those not displayed.
Of course, this is just Googles little tool to help the not-so code savvy still get involved with using Schema Markup. You can create the code yourself from schema.org which gives you thousands of field options that you can edit as you see fit. If you have any general HTML knowledge I’d definitely recommend getting to grips with marking things up directly into the HTML as the extra field options would give you the upper hand over any competitors who have marked up their page using the data markup helper.
What are the best outcomes from Schema Markup?
There are three main reasons I’d markup a page using schema: To give search engines extra context about what’s on the page, to get our answer featured as a rich snippet or to earn organic Google Stars in the SERPs. Each of these outcomes require a different type of Schema and set of fields to execute – but when done properly the results are incredible.
Do you have to use Schema.org in a hierarchy?
Just like the majority of elements in SEO, Schema markup is used in a hierarchy structure to give search engines as much information as possible. The majority of schema.org types start with “Thing” – this is the most generic type of markup. You then go down the hierarchy to explain that “thing” – it could be a Creative Work, Event, Person, Organisation, Place or Product.
This seems confusing written as above, but when you start putting it to practice it’s pretty simple.
- Creative Work
- bookEdition (text)
- bookFormat (BookFormatType)
- illustrator (person)
- author (person)
- isbn (text)
- numberOfPages (integer)
- Creative Work
So now from a user point of view, it looks exactly the same. There’s a page talking about a book, it’s author and much more in-depth details such as the number of pages. But now that you’ve marked up this information using the fields above, you can get much more information to appear in the SERPs.