Understanding Schema Markup

You Use “Search” Every Day …
And So Do Your Customers

Maybe you are looking to buy something online or research your options. Perhaps you’re in the mood for Thai and are looking for a restaurant with great reviews and ratings or maybe you’re trying to self diagnose that weird ache coupled with a low-grade fever.  Regardless of what you’re looking for, your probably going to start with “search” – on your laptop, your smartphone, Google Home, Alexa Siri … maybe even from your wristwatch. In fact …

More than “90% of customers report that they use search at every stage of their customer lifecycle” (Forrester)

So the question becomes, with so much content out there, how can you attract your target audience?

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Schema.org and Schema markup

When a search engine receives an inquiry, they crawl the web looking for relevant and reputable results. In an effort to make sense of all of the available content, the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and eventually Yandex) collaborated to create a comprehensive labelling system. This framework and vocabulary is called Schema.org and the associated code is called Schema Markup.

The Schema.org vocabulary is extensive and is constantly evolving. It was built to derive detailed clarity about who you are and what you have to offer. There are literally hundreds of Schema.org “classes” to choose from.

A “class” is an overarching label that describes the content on a specific page. There are specific classes (e.g. “Gated Residential Community”) as well as general classes (e.g. “LocalBusiness”, “Organization”, “Place”, “Person”, “Product”) to choose from. Each “class” comes bundled with its own set of required and recommended “properties” that allow you to further label the information on your website related to the “class”.  

For instance, you might choose a “Local Business” class to describe your homepage, which would further breakdown into specific properties such as:

  • currency accepted
  • hours of operation,
  • Address
  • locations served, and so on.

The average business utilizes 4-8 Schema classes. In addition to choosing the primary class that best defines their overarching business, they might take advantage of Product Schema, Offer Schema, Event Schema, Blog Schema, JobPosting Schema and so on. The number depends on how many different websites and unique page topics you have as well as your focus and priorities.

Schema Markup is code. Google recommends that you write it in JSON-LD, however microdata, RDFa are also supported (formats explained). The good news is if you use the right tools, you can learn how to create a Schema markup strategy (how to create a Schema markup strategy) and automate all the code stuff.

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Schema Markup Has Multiple Benefits

  • You’re found. The search engine explicitly understands who you are and what you are about and can, therefore, match your content to an inquiry.
  • Your content can be displayed in a rich, visual way that attracts the eye. This leads to more impressions, clicks, a higher click-through rate and ultimately more revenue.
  • You are set up to reap the rewards of leading-edge technologies such as Chatbots, voice search, mobile-first, Knowledge Graphs, and whatever else the future brings.
  • Brand Control – You’ll have more control over the way your brand is represented in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) allowing you to deliver the right message to the right audience, and to differentiate yourself from your competition.
  • Improve your chances of becoming the “authority” on a certain subject: Google wants both structured and unstructured content for their answer passages so to get in the running, you need both.
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Schema Markup Enables a Rich Display of Content

In addition to the URL and a description, a rich snippet might show ratings, reviews, photos, videos, price, promotions, availability, and so on. Because rich snippets provide incremental data and are visually appealing, they attract more viewers.

Without Schema Markup

Menards Rake ad
Pumpkin Pie ad
Rationalizing Denominator Google search

With Schema Markup

Rake ad
Pumpkin Pie search result
Rationalizing Denominator search result

Schema Markup Options

  • If you are tech-savvy, detail-oriented and have only a few pages to markup, you could do the research and apply the Schema markup yourself. Keep in mind that as your content evolves and as the vocabulary evolves, the Schema markup needs to be updated as well. This requires you to understand the Schema.org vocabulary, and also write code (JSON-LD, Microdata).
  • If you have only a few pages or page types that require markup, take advantage of our Schema App Editor. Our risk-free solution includes a 14-day free trial plus training. Simply choose the class(es) that best describe your content and fill in the blanks found on our templates. We’ll take care of creating and deploying the code to your website.
  • If you have a robust website(s) with pages that share the same structure, you’ll love our Schema App Highlighter. For similar pages, it allows you to fill in a template once and deploy it to 100s or 1000s of pages at once.
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“We started building lots of new features that rely on structured data, kind of like we started caring 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.”

Gary Illyes
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst
Pubcon, 2017

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