Schema markup is becoming increasingly necessary to tie concepts together and build a full, effective picture of your website. It acts as the anchor that keeps your SEO from floating away. As things continue to grow and evolve with Google, who is notoriously fickle when it comes to their algorithms and the necessary requirements to rank, schema markup might be the only thing to keep the proverbial boat of your website afloat in choppy waters.
Schema Markup In Layman’s Terms
If you’ve ever heard of a rich snippet, that’s what schema essentially does. It’s microdata that rounds out your presence. The rich snippet is an important facet of a question. SEO is the “what”, and schema markup is the “why”. Your keywords will show what you offer, and the schema markup shows how and why you offer it. It removes some of the confusion Google might find.
This separation assures that people are more likely to find relevant results. Say you’ve just purchased a really comfortable sweater, and it says it’s made of tricot. You want to know more about the fabric, so you search for tricot. Tricot is also a very popular Japanese math rock band. Google, without context, will show you the dictionary definition for the fabric and a Wikipedia snippet about the musical group.
Schema markup can help provide the relevant context, so you’re more likely to get what you came for. Schema.org, founded by Bing, Google, and Yahoo experts, explains the process like this:
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.
The purpose of schema markup microdata is to eliminate that problem. By incorporating their own little dictionary, which they call their vocabulary, you’re putting your keywords into a special little basket that tells the search engine what you’re talking about and why you’re talking about it at the same time.
What Schema Means For Your Search Ranking
Schema markup doesn’t actually affect the way you rank. It seems counterintuitive to be so concerned about something that doesn’t necessarily boost your reputation with Google’s algorithms, but including the microdata of a rich snippet does come with its own set of benefits.
Because people are more likely to understand from the snippet that you have what they’re looking for, it can help improve your click-through rates. Since searchers are better able to determine relevance at a glance, they’re able to make an instant decision to visit you before they visit anyone else.
Despite the clear advantage, an underwhelming amount of websites have incorporated schema markups into their larger SEO strategy. This gives a lot of space for competition beyond mere keywords, particularly if you start using it before similar websites do. Just about every kind of website can use schema, whether it’s a business page, a video page, a product page, or a page centered around an event. Even things like reviews or cooking tutorials benefit from the markup. Every website with any kind of data will be able to make the most of it.
Incorporating Schema With Microdata Or RDFa
Microdata is really easy, but it also takes a long time. If your website is about your fast food restaurant, you would use Schema.org’s relevant tags within your text. Schema has a full library of what they can read and how they can read it, with examples of how to incorporate their language into your own text. Find your category and read the page Schema provides to learn their specifics.
If, for example, your restaurant is open 24 hours all week long, you could use Schema’s example code of <time itemprop=”openingHours” datetime=”Mo-Su”>Monday through Sunday, all day</time>. You can find the relevant page for your website in Schema’s full list of docs. It’s a little bit of a learning process, but if you’re determined enough, you can probably do it on your own.
RDFa and microdata aren’t ultimately that different. The only variation is that RDFa is a universal standard that strings together a bunch of different vocabularies, rather than solely microdata. You would simply specify that the vocabulary you’re using comes from Schema by adding “div vocab=http://schema.org” into the tag.
Not Your Area Of Expertise?
If you want the benefits schema markup provides, but you’re really overwhelmed by the technical aspects, we can help you. We’ve learned all the complicated nuances so you don’t need to. Just call us or shoot us a quick email and we can get to work on the technical end on your behalf.