All you need to know about Schema Markup in 2020
Remember how in school your teacher made you format your essay which was filled with spelling errors and impossible-to-read handwriting in a more legible way so that it can be checked properly by her?
Well, you assume machines are smarter than humans, but not really. Let’s look at an example on the internet. We looked up for a dish recipe example “dal recipe” on Google and the search results looked like this.
Let’s pay attention to result number 5 and 7. What’s the difference? Both belong to the same website but one webpage has ratings, votes, and the preparation time included along with the date published as well. All the results above that also have some or the other rich snippet tagged in their search results which made them rank. Whereas, the result below it comes after the ‘people also ask’ featured snippet and has no peculiar feature as the previous ones. So what are these features exactly? Well, we all are familiar with this very term called Schema Markup.
Schema and other structured markup formats have been around for several years, but we are quite sure that the majority of the websites do not include schema microdata in their web pages. Back in 2014, Searchmetrics had studied over 50 million domains and found that only 0.3% of them actually use schema markup for their search rankings. Now, since times have been changing more and more large websites have started using schema tags but yet there’s a long way to go.
So let’s draw your attention right to the basics…
What is Schema Markup?
Google’s official definition of Schema Markup is a “standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.”
It is basically just like a signpost for the Google indexing system as they crawl your content. Schema Markup is a “label” made of code that shares important information about your pages which is then added to your HTML to enhance rich snippets in search results.
For the above example, which results among the two are you likely to click on? Of course, result 5 or any other result above that rather than result number 7. Schema tags help your content stand out among other results that in turn increases Click Through Rate(CTR).
Schema.org was created back in 2011 by the 4 largest search engine companies ie. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex to standardize structured markup. It was essentially a community-led project. The Github Issues page on schema.org is where the majority of the discussions happen about different schema types.
Why is Schema Markup important in 2020?
Today, Google is all about building a semantic web and the whole point of structuring your data is to communicate better with these search engine bots. Let’s think of it in this way – while the content you write informs Google on what is present on your site, schema gives a deeper level of understanding to Google on what your content means. It is a markup language that helps Google identify concepts and information on a webpage. It is especially important in the age of RankBrain and Hummingbird wherein the interpretation of the query of the context gives quality to the search results. Schema is a form of microdata that helps in providing context to an otherwise uncertain webpage.
Does Schema really impact organic search rankings?
A study conducted by acmqueue in 2015 revealed that 31.3 percent of the 10 billion pages on which they ran a test had schema markup. So there’s clearly a good opportunity for the rest to provide rich results.
While there is no foolproof evidence that microdata has a direct effect on organic search results, there’s a study that shows that rich snippets improve CTRs by increase in visibility. This means that though you may not see a direct boost in organic search rankings, you will notice a visible increase in traffic.
Properly structured data can always enhance your appearance on search results. A voice search study conducted by SEMrush in 2019, majority of answers via voice search used schema markup for serving.
Types of Schema Markup
Schema markup is used for all content types. It includes formats for structuring data around all kinds of things available on the web. Some commonly used markup is used to indicate:
- Local Businesses
After you have added these markups to your site, search engines are able to understand what the site is about. And ultimately, it is able to showcase that information in the form of rich snippets. Here’s an example of a rich snippet for events – we can see the date of various events that were marked accordingly.
How to add Schema to your website?
Before implementing something new, it is important to check what is currently implemented. It can be a simple Yoast SEO WordPress plugin that you must have installed as a part of your SEO work, plugins like these also add at least some markup.
Well, in that case, all you have to do is put your URL into the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Whatever markup you have it will get displayed on the right-hand side of the page.
There are basically 3 main options for adding Schema Markup to your website:
- Doing it manually
- Using Data Highlighter
- Using a WordPress plugin
#1 Adding the markup code manually
The Google Structured Data Markup Helper is very useful in creating a markup code and including it in your HTML.
Start out by selecting your content type and put in one of your URLs. We selected ‘articles’ and put in one of our blog posts.
Then begin highlighting and tagging different elements of your page.
Post that, you have got to hit on the red button which says “CREATE HTML” and grab your code and paste it into the head section of your HTML.
It would certainly be a little tedious for tagging every single blog post, but it is the best thing for your home page.
#2 Data Highlighter
This tool gives webmaster an easy-to-use interface for tagging their data. Just make sure that you have logged into your Google business account, plug in the URL that you wish to tag, and tag it just like how you would tag it via the Structured Data Markup Helper.
#3 WordPress Plugin
Plugins like Yoast gives you the option to include schema tags in your posts. You can get started with its free version which gives you the basic schema types like Organization, Person, Breadcrumbs. The premium upgrades have schema types for eCommerce and local businesses.
Another great plugin is the WP SEO Structured Data Schema. It supports plenty of schema types in its free version.
Schema Markup is the brainchild of innovative technical SEO which is here to stay for a long time. It’s high time websites implemented this for a boost in their traffic and will ultimately give you a leg-up in your competition.
January 18, 2021
January 2, 2021