These days, it’s just common sense for a business to have an online presence in the form of a website. This is true even if your business is fairly small and local. With an estimated 2.05 billion people shopping online in 2020 and ecommerce sales alone predicted to reach US$3.9 trillion this year, businesses are truly seeing the value of getting found online. But a commitment to SEO isn’t always as simple as implementing a strategic keyword-driven content and paid advertising strategy. It also means looking at more indirect elements that influence SEO and your website’s ability to work with search algorithms. And that means looking at schema markup.
What is Schema Markup?
Essentially, this is a form of microdata that, once it is added to a page, creates a rich snippet (a more in-depth and contextually-rich description) for the page. Developed in a collaborative effort by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other leading search engines to create a single, consistent data language for all search engines, schema markup works to help search engines apply context to your webpage content so that it can assign it to search queries more accurately.
For example, when HTML tags tell a browser how to display the information included in the tag, there can be a lack of context. An image labelled <h1>Rose </h1> just displays that text as a main heading for the page – but that leaves out a lot of information that is useful to any search engine crawling through your site’s HTML code. Are you talking about the plant? A colour? A great baby name? With the right rich snippet, using schema markup, the algorithm will understand the context of that word and link it up effectively with search queries by gardeners, home decorators and expectant parents respectively.
Benefits of Using Schema
First of all, using schema is not a substitute for a comprehensive and well-managed SEO plan. No one can get away with adding schema to their website and bypassing SEO best practices to improve their website rankings. In fact, Google says schema isn’t even used as a ranking signal for their algorithm.
What it does do is improve your website’s rich snippets, helping your content appear more prominently and more accurately in search engine result pages (SERPs). Good quality rich snippets are effective for boosting click-through rates because they are accurately aligned with the user’s query, so they can easily see that your content is what they’re looking for.
How to Add Schema to Website Pages
Currently, schema is popularly applied to businesses and organisation, events, products, recipes, reviews, movies, TV episodes, and restaurants. In fact, any data on your website can likely be associated with an existing schema itemscope (what is this item of data about – for example, it’s about gardening), itemtype (what is this item of data – for example, it’s a plant) and itemprop (additional context for the item – for example it’s a floribunda rose) listed in the vocabulary that you use to add schema to your website.
There are several ways to add schema to your website data and reap the SEO rewards, including:
- Microdata: This method requires you to add additional attributes to each web page’s current HTML elements. It’s a manual markup method which can be pretty time-consuming but is ultimately very rewarding.
- JSON-LD: This is the recommended format for implementing schema on your web pages. It can be dynamically added to your website’s HTML code or embedded in widgets, which makes it much easier to implement.
- RDFa: This is an extension to HTML5 that is commonly applied at the header and footer of a website’s content using schema vocabulary (you can find these terms on the org website). It is a manual method, but less time-consuming than using microdata.
While you don’t have to markup every property on every page, the more content you apply schema to, the more accurately the search engines interpret the nature and purpose of your website content.
An Under-Utilised Way to Optimise Search Rankings
Having read this far, you’re probably thinking that schema markup and rich snippets sound great, especially as they’ve been found to add up.And yet less than 33% of Google’s search results include a rich snippet with schema markup. So, why is this?
Our SEO team thinks there are two good reasons for this.Firstly, it requires time and resources to implement and many businesses (especially small businesses) can’t manage a job of this size in house. The other reason is that businesses are only just realising that schema markup is a great SEO-boosting tool, which is why we believe it will be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, SEO trend of 2020.
To access the benefits of schema markup for your website or to get expert insight into building an SEO strategy for your business, speak to our search specialists in Melbourne. We offer cost-effective, cutting-edge solutions for businesses big and small, in every industry.