What is Schema?
Schema mark up, or Schema.org, was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex, as a shared vocabulary which is recognised across multiple search engines. It standardises how information is structured on the internet, including websites, apps and even your email messages.
Schema mark up itself, uses a unique “semantic vocabulary” which is placed into the website’s HTML as Microdata Tags (similar to annotations on a document). This microdata is used to provide information about the web page and to create an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet). We will go into more detail about this in the article.
- Articles – An article, such as a news article or piece of investigative report.
- Events – The subject matter of the content.
- Products – Any offered product or service.
- People – A person (alive, dead, undead, or fictional).
- FAQ – Presenting one or more “Frequently Asked Questions”
- Organizations – An organization such as a school, NGO, corporation, club, etc.
- Local Businesses – A particular physical business or branch of an organization.
- Reviews – A review of any product, item or shop.
- Recipes – A recipe.
- Medical Conditions – Any condition of the human body that affects the normal functioning of a person, whether physically or mentally.
How does Schema benefit you?
Whilst your content is telling Search Engines what is on your webpage, Schema mark up tells search engine why this information is on your webpage. The code creates a connection between the elements on your webpage.
Communicating better with search engines and providing advanced information will help provide better results to users who are searching for your content because you’ll be providing advanced information.
Schema uses a unique semantic vocabulary which is placed into the standard website HTML in one of a number of formats; JSON-LD, Microdata tags and RDFa markup, which is a shared vocabulary recognised across multiple search engines.
Semantic Vocabulary is used as the relationship between on-page words and their exact meaning.
“Semantic search” or “semantic SEO” is a term that marketers use to talk about page optimisation for a search that is covering an entire topic, not just a keyword.
This is important for voice-activated devices such as Google Assistant or Siri which may rely heavily on structured data to identify and retrieve information relevant to spoken queries.
Structured data is the element that changes your on-page content into code, to describe your site to search engines. When you add structured data to a page, your result in the search engines might change too, as it will be much “richer” compared to other content that is shown.
When you add structured data to a page, your result in the search engines might change as it will be much “richer” compared to other content that is shown.
Besides the main title, the URL and the description in the search result, the top results show recipe rich cards with the baking time for various caramel cakes, along with ratings. In the rich snippet for the BBCGoodFood result, there is also the addition of a calorie count alongside the recipe, review, rating and baking time features.
Please note: There is no guarantee that your complex, detailed code will get rich card or snippet results as that’s up to the search engines – But it’s still a great SEO benefit to have it!
Google Knowledge Panel
The Google Knowledge Panel is a large, visual information box that appears on the search engine result page (typically to the right-hand side). The Google Knowledge Panel provides information based on specific entities gained from reliable sources.
In many cases, results are typically Wikipedia. However, for businesses, the knowledge panel information can appear with Google My Business Listings.
If you want to be found for search terms such as your name, brand or business name, a knowledge panel is useful as it helps you stand out in the search results when users search.
One of Google’s older developments is The Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph has one priority: to help users discover new information quickly and easily.
The knowledge graph gathers information from a variety of sources to provide users with related information from trusted sources. It then displays that information within the Knowledge Panel.
As seen in the above, the information source within the Knowledge Panel is different for each entity because it depends on the related information gained from verified sources, schema mark up on a website, Wikipedia information and the Google Knowledge Graph.
- Increased visibility: Depending on the size and placement, the knowledge panel is most likely the first thing users will see for both mobile and desktop.
- Establishes authority: If Google is showing your website, then many users will automatically see you as a trustworthy resource. Therefore, creating a Google My Business page is important to enhance your authenticity.
- Higher User Engagement: Not only does the panel show an overview of information, but it also provides social and website links to help the user find out more information.
If you’re looking to claim a Knowledge Panel, you simply need to verify yourself on Google as an authorized representative. Simply log in to your Google Account and search for yourself or the entity you represent (your review, a recipe, your local event, etc).
When you’ve found the panel, click ‘Claim this knowledge panel.’
Please note: Similarly, to Google’s rich snippets and cards, you cannot create a Google Knowledge Panel by yourself. Google makes this decision as it is usually for well-known entities or entities with high authority.
Add Schema mark up to your website.
Schema mark-up isn’t just one style of code because there are thousands of different questions that search engines get asked by users.
Whether you are an experienced developer or are comfortable with plug-ins, there are a variety of ways that Schema.org can be implemented into your website.
The Schema plug-in makes it easy to add Schema markup to WordPress if you’re not a developer.
It has some useful features such as enabling different schema types and it’s compatible with some custom post types. This plug-in works great with other SEO plugins to take advantage of the Schema markup that you’re already using.
If you already use the Yoast plugin for SEO on your WordPress website, you can use this plugin to add Schema markup, although, it doesn’t add as much markup as other premium plugins and isn’t dedicated to Schema markup. However, it does mean you won’t have to install and configure an additional plugin (which could affect your page loading speeds and therefore your ranking in a Google Search).
JSON-LD is a great markup to use for structured data as it allows entities to be linked, such as informing search engines when items re in stock, so they can then appear in image cards for users.
The Microdata markup is added by including some specified code within your website code to tell search engines more in-depth information about the entity.
The above code is Schema Microdata completed by one of our developers and shows a set of tags that aims to make HTML elements with machine-readable tags much easier. Microdata which has been added to a FAQ page to help improve the webpage search results once a user searches for aspects of this specific question.
This task can be time consuming as you will need to add the tags to each page and every item type, so we recommend getting a skilled developer to do the challenging work :)
RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes), as with Microdata, is an extension to HTML5 which helps your site markup entities such as People, Places, Events, Recipes and Reviews. RDFa works in HTML5, XML documents, SVG documents, as well as HTML4, XHTML1 and XHTML5 documents.
Similarly, to Microdata tags, we recommend implementing this code with the help of a developer.
Schema Summed Up
Although by simply having schema markup isn’t a direct ranking factor, Schema does give your online business an incredible advantage over those websites who does not choose to use rich snippets in their content; and if you don’t use Schema markup on your website, you can risk losing out to someone who is using Schema.
Gaining more traffic and clicks should be any business’s goal, so the Technical SEO benefits it provides should be enough to make you want to implement Schema.
If you’re looking to add schema to your website but need some help, talk to one of our experts!