Structured data, or schema markup is an integral aspect of SEO that allows search engines to better understand and contextualize your website content. It also enhances user experience and gives customer-specific details relating to your business, products, and reputation.
I find that this is an often underutilized area of SEO, and it’s surprising how many businesses miss out on this simple optimization process, and I want to change that answering the question, what is schema markup in SEO, and how it can benefit your company below.
What is Schema Markup in SEO?
Schema markup is a code standard and language that is used to give additional information about website content. The aim is to help crawlers and search engines better understand the content, place it in a context, and create more detailed search results from it.
You have probably seen schema markup in action when you last searched for something on Google. Perhaps you noticed a star rating and price information underneath a product description? Or company information such as opening hours and a contact number? These are examples of schema markup.
The markup essentially turns simple search engine results into a more complex and detailed item that a customer (and search engines) can better understand. The language or code that schema markup is written in is universal and can be understood by all search engines.
Why is it Important for SEO?
Schema markup makes search engines’ and crawlers’ jobs easier. Instead of having to guess or spend time delving deeper into your website hierarchy, schema markup gives more information about things like your business, products, and services so that they can be indexed faster and rich snippets can be created in search engine results.
For example, the recipe markup allows you to add details such as ingredients and a step-by-step cooking process which would show up in search results. Not only does it benefit search engines, but it makes your search results far more noticeable and engaging with customers.
Instead of having to do additional searching or website crawling, a customer can simply see info in the rich snippet and get what they need immediately such as product prices, customer ratings, or business opening hours. Schema markup makes your info more accessible.
Types and Uses of Schema Markup
Schema markup should be a part of your SEO technical optimization checklist, but what types of data are covered in the language? Currently, Google acknowledges 33 different types of schema markup:
- Employer Aggregate Rating
- Fact check
- Home Activities
- Image License
- Job Posting
- Learning Video
- Math Solvers
- Education Q&A
- Estimated Salary
- Practice Problems
- Software app
- Subscription and paywalled content
- Vehicle Listing.
This list is ever-growing but you can check the Google Developers website for a complete breakdown. A couple of particularly popular schema markup types include FAQs, Recipes, Video, Job Posting, and How-to content.
The FAQ schema shows a list of questions underneath a search result relating to a particular topic, while the recipe schema can show a photo of the dish together with the required ingredients and expected preparation times for example.
Video schema is brilliant as it allows you to embed video thumbnails into your search results, while how-to content allows you to list a step-by-step guide in your search results. Three other incredibly popular types of schema that most businesses use include:
Local Business Markup
You’ve probably seen this type of markup in action when you’ve noticed a large box on the right-hand side of your search result that shows business photos, a Google Maps location, and other info like service options, address, and opening hours.
Local business markup is one of the most effective types of schema, especially for things like restaurants, retail outlets, and other businesses that you need to physically visit. The box contains a heap of useful info that allows customers to easily see if the company fits their needs.
Similarly, product markup provides a wealth of useful information for those shopping. It shows additional details like image thumbnails, an average star rating, and price ranges. This type of markup allows customers to make choices easier and disregard product options that don’t fit their needs.
Review markup can either be applied to a business listing as a whole or reviews for individual products. In the SERP it shows an average star rating and how many votes were used to generate this result.
Imagine the impact this can have if you have a product that has a 4.5-star rating with thousands of votes. This can make a huge difference as it’s proven that many consumers make their purchase decisions based on existing customer reviews.
Add Rich Snippets to Your Web Content Today With Schema Markup
Schema markup could give you a competitive edge and make your business stand out on search engine results. With rich snippets such as product ratings and local business boxes, you can make your company more attractive and visible which should hopefully lead to more clicks, website traffic, and conversions.
From an SEO perspective, Google loves product schema too and it makes its crawler’s job that much easier in indexing and understanding your website content. If you aren’t currently utilizing schema markup, I urge you to contact an award-winning SEO consultant and set the ball rolling as the results can be fantastic.