What is Schema?
Schema is a form of coding embedded into HTML in ways that allows Google and other search engines to translate website content to a language that search engines can understand.
HTML tells a browser how to display a web page and what to do with the content on a web page, but it doesn’t actually tell the browser what the content actually is. Structured data mark-up on the other hand, explicitly tells the browser exactly what the content is in a clear, digestible way so that search engines can better match searchers with the content they are looking for.
For example with schematic mark-up, Google can see that your opening hours are not just a bunch of random numbers, they actually inform visitors about your opening times.
If you’re not sure why structured data mark-up is so important for your site, read what Google’s Gary Illyes had to say at PubCon in November 2017.
“Structured data. This is one of those things that I want you to pay lots of attention to this year.” “It is almost like we started building lots of new features that rely on structured data, kind of like we started caring more and more and more about structured data. That is an important hint for you. If you want your sites to appear in search features, implement structured data.”
“More importantly, add structure data to your pages because during indexing, we will be able to better understand what your site is about. And don’t just think about the structured data that we documented on developers.google.com. Think about any schema.org schema that you could use on your pages. It will help us understand your pages better, and indirectly, it leads to better ranks in some sense, because we can rank easier.”
Schema Markup Formats
There are three formats of schema markup:
- Standard schema microdata: this is marked up via HTML.
Your NAP details should be listed in an easily crawlable HTML text format.
To provide Google with key details about your business so they can show up in search results, you can specify:
- Contact Information: address, phone numbers and email address
- Business Hours
- Business Details (type, description, logo, website)
- Social profile info
- People (founder, owner, sales contact, support, specialties)
When properly implemented, structured data can enhance your SERP listing with an eye-catching display known as a “rich snippet”.
Rich snippets are a type of on-page semantic mark-up that allows webmasters to provide more information about their product or service on the search results page. This allows webmasters to advertise their offerings in a more visually appealing way. Examples include product-based rich snippets which provide information regarding a product’s price, image, availability, ratings or review count. You can add rich snippets to video, products, music info, businesses, etc.
Here’s an example of review rich snippets. Notice how they really pop out of the page.
As you can see in the above example, rich snippets have the effect of making listings stand out from similar results on the search results page. In fact, some websites have attributed a 30% increase in CTR to rich snippets after implementing structured data markup.
These results provides searchers with a concise summary of what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query, as well as customer ratings which are now key to purchasing decisions. They also tend to have a higher click through rate because people are naturally drawn to the listing because of the extra information.