First of all, what is schema? In essence, schema markup is a form of microdata. It provides context to web pages and helps search engines to understand what they are displaying. Once incorporated into a page, schema creates a developed description of something that can then appear in search results. These descriptions that appear in search results are also known as rich snippets.
To put it into perspective, imagine feeding a child a mixed vegetable soup. Imagine then asking that child to identify every single vegetable in the soup. They probably couldn’t, right? But if you listed each vegetable and fed them individually to the child, they would then be able to identify each one.
Search engines work much the same way. They need to be fed information in a structured way so that they can identify individual areas and categories within your website. Schema does the leg work for you, it categorises items within your website that it can then describe to search engines. Schema is also known as structured data.
What Does Schema Look Like?
Schema is a markup system and form of code that is placed on websites to make it easier for search engines to understand its contents. Schema.org is the home of schema, providing guidelines and templates for a multitude of schema types.
We mentioned microdata earlier. Microdata is a set of tags that strive to make annotating HTML elements with tags much simpler.
If you’re not a developer, the code can look a little scary and complicated. We recommend commandeering the expertise of a website developer, just to make sure you’re doing it right.
Here’s what a piece of ‘LocalBusiness’ schema looks like for our Birmingham Mortgage advice client. We based this on the Local Business schema guidance from schema.org.
Schema in the Structured Data Testing Tool:
What Types of Schema are There?
There are hundreds of types of schema out there. Some will be more relevant to your business than others. To be specific:
“The schemas are a set of ‘types’, each associated with a set of properties. The types are arranged in a hierarchy. The vocabulary currently consists of 779 Types, 1390 Properties 15 Datatypes, 81 Enumerations and 437 Enumeration members.”
Some of the most popular uses of schema (that can be displayed as rich snippets in search results) include:
- Local Businesses and Organisations
- Products and Offers
- Articles and Top Stories
- TV and Movies
Some other types of schema that we recommend using include FAQ, Breadcrumbs and Site Navigation Element. Whichever types of schema you choose, make sure they are relevant to your business and will help to boost performance for your target areas.
How Does Schema Help SEO?
Both schema and rich snippets will help to boost your SEO performance. If your website is being displayed in search engines in a stand out way, traffic will be more likely to notice and engage with your website. When users search the web, they are looking for quick, clear and helpful answers. That is exactly what schema and rich snippets can help to provide.
Schema is the perfect opportunity to get your listing noticed and it is not one to be missed. Research has suggested that businesses implementing schema and displaying rich snippets increased their website clicks by over 150%. It’s simpler than it looks but is vastly effective in results.
We all know that Google and all search engines favour websites that clearly portray information for both their website crawlers and website visitors. They reward them too, so schema is not an SEO technique to be passed by. Google’s Structured Data developers state:
“Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. However, you can provide explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page.”
Schema can be a key anchor in getting ahead of your competitors. With schema, your website will be more indexable than those without. To be clear, schema is not currently a direct ranking factor, but it is a huge booster in your overall website performance.
To summarise, schema helps boost SEO by:
- Generating detailed rich snippets in search results
- Driving organic click-through rates
- Boosting website SEO
Get Started with Schema
Schema is no new thing, leading search engines first started collaborating to create Schema.org, back in 2011. Types of rich snippets, cards and schema have changed over the years and are continuing to evolve. Google constantly tests a variety of features to be displayed. Since accepted features are so regularly changing, we recommend marking up all of your text and keeping tabs on how your schema is performing. Do the research and stay on top of your schema so that it is as optimised as it can be for your website.
If you would like further guidance on schema and how it should be implemented on your website, get in touch with our Birmingham digital experts today. We can not only offer you advice but do the dirty work for you too.