Schema – What is it?
Schema markup is one of the most under-utilised SEO techniques, yet it offers several digital marketing benefits to businesses and website owners.
Have you ever searched on Google and seen certain results display additional information such as reviews, prices, recipes and cook times, top stories, links to purchase tickets etc? Maybe you’ve searched for a business, and in the Google My Business listing on the right hand side you’ve seen additional information such as founders and social media profiles.
Ever wondered why other business websites get these perks and you dont? Because you’re not utilising Schema markup. Surprisingly, studies show that around 33% of search results contain Schema markup, yet according to Schema.org ‘Over 10 million sites use Schema.org to markup their web pages’ which is a fraction compared to the 1.8+ billion websites currently out there.
There’s been several benefits to using Schema markup for quite some time, though in a world where smart technology is advancing at an extraordinary rate, you may not be aware of the benefits of implementing Schema markup into your website now for the future potential let alone the ones it currently offers.
In 2016, Google stated that over 50% of searches were now carried out from mobile devices with 20% of all mobile searches being voice searches. It’s estimated that by 2020, this number will be in the region of 50% and this is partly down to the growing family of devices that offer voice enabled searches; Google home, Google Assistant, Siri, Echo, and so forth.
We now have various smart devices that can perform these voice-based searches and the trend is likely to grow as technology shapes the world we live in and smart devices are the future. When we ask these devices a question, the way they can understand and respond is heavily dependent on Schema markup being implemented into a websites code.
Schema markup is a global standard language that search engines use to help them better understand content and context. Google is very clever. We all know that. But Schema is the difference from Google and other search engines understanding that ‘Managed SEO’ is a service, and not just a couple of words randomly within a bunch of other words. Or that ‘Silver Scope Media’ is the company name, for example. Schema.org explains it like this which is another good example:
Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — “Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.
By implementing structured schema markup on your website, not only will you benefit from improved CTR which will lead to better rankings, but you’ll also have content that is optimised for voice search. Now is the time to start thinking about how your site is optimised for the future and the benefits it can bring to your business.
There are hundreds of Schema markups options currently available though some common ones include:
Local business and organisation information
Ecommerce products and offers
Article and news
A full list of Schema markups can be found here.
My website is built on WordPress and my theme already has Schema markup
Are you sure? Various WordPress themes claim to have Schema markup, though there are so many types of Schema markups as mentioned above, and the ones found within popular themes are based around the website structure and not the content itself. You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google to see what Schema is implemented on your webpages or to check Schema markups for errors before putting it live on your site. Unless you’ve done this process manually, via a plugin, or got an agency to do this for you, you don’t have the schema you think you have.
Does Schema markup improve website rankings?
There have been various studies and whilst there is no proof that Schema markup is a direct ranking factor, it’s likely to be at some stage. There are however hundreds of factors that determine where a webpage will rank and one of these is (CTR) click through rate. However, the question should be ‘Will Schema markup offer my business any benefits?’ and the answer to that is yes. Why? Because search results with Schema markup will see a better click through rate and this will have a positive impact as CTR is a ranking signal itself. When you search for a product or service, which of the below are you more likely to click on? The one that has structured data, or the one that looks like a normal result?
How do I add Schema markup to my website?
As mentioned above, you can do this manually (or using generators and modifying the code) or use a WordPress plugin (If your site is built on the WordPress content management system) – Alternatively if you need any help with your search engine optimisation strategy including Schema implementation, feel free to contact us. We’re help to help.