When establishing online presence for yourself or your clients, one of the most important questions will always be “Are people going to be able to find this?”
After all, a beautifully designed website with engaging content means very little if it ends up kneecapped by improperly indexed pages and site errors. The devil is in the details when it comes to the visibility of a page, and one of these details is known as schema markup.
Schema markup is a set of microdata that can be placed within the code of a website. Personnel from top search engines - Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex - collaborated on this form of microdata and introduced Schema.org in 2011. Once embedded, search engines read schema markup and return a richer, more detailed description of a site on search engine result pages (SERPs).
In essence, schema markup is a tool to provide context among the vast amount of information that search engines return. For example, let’s say a local restaurant and a local fitness studio have, by chance, ended up with very similar names. This is where schema markup comes in handy - it is the tool that search engines use to intelligently classify and separate entries, thereby delivering effectively tailored results.
No Detail Too Small
Continuing with the above example, good schema acts as a name tag where you can list as much identifying information as you like.
New listings are also introduced periodically. The more recent additions include job postings, recipes, movie times, and academic courses. In short, adding schema markup to your site is a relatively easy way to inform search engines what you and your site are all about. As far as the best practices of SEO optimization go, it’s a crucial step that often goes overlooked.
E.g. “This local business is a restaurant, it is located at ___________, and it is open seven days a week.” The major types of schema listings are as follows:
- Local Business
The categories Local Business, Event, and Organization also have subcategories for greater detail. Additionally, you can list information about:
- Street address
- Latitude and longitude
- Hours of operation
- Phone number
- Product rating/reviews
- Company/organization logos
Easier Than You Might Think
Schema markup is certainly beneficial, but you may be wondering how much of a chore it is to implement. Fortunately, there are a good amount of online resources that do much of the legwork for you. Schema markup generators are tools that will essentially write code for you; all you have to do is enter the information you want listed, and the generator will return a block of code. Schema generators save considerable time and effort, especially if you find writing your own code to be tedious work.
Schema and Business Benefits
The contextualization of search results is helpful on its own, but when optimizing a business site, the rewards of using schema markup can go even deeper. Google actually gives priority to “rich results” (formerly known as “rich snippets” or “rich cards”) when returning information. And perhaps most critically, schema markup is proven to bolster the quality of user traffic. At the 2017 Google I/O conference, some impressive findings on the effects of schema were revealed. Across several websites in varying industries, effective schema markup results in higher time on page, lower bounce rates, and increased conversions.
Good schema markup also acts as a measure of futureproofing. The analytics company ComScore estimates that half of all search queries will be voice searches by 2020, which is approaching quicker than you might think. Luckily, Google automatically makes schema searchable by home assistant technology like Alexa. And furthermore, schema code is often used by chatbots to deliver more pertinent answers to users.
To summarize, schema markup is a quiet power player on your site. It provides context for search engines, improves the quality of your traffic, and leaves you well-prepared for future developments in the world of SEO. With all the benefits it provides, it’s truly a vital component of your website.