What is Schema Markup and What are the SEO Benefits?

To keep up with the fast-paced nature of the SEO landscape, putting a webpage in context is essential in order to improve search visibility and SEO results.  One powerful way to boost your website in search engine result pages is by utilizing Schema markup, one of the latest and greatest concepts in technical SEO.

Schema Markup Overview

Schema markup, which can be found at Schema.org, is a form of microdata that can be added to your website to create a more enhanced description of your webpage for search engines to understand. Users can see schema markup in the form of rich snippets in a search engine results page (SERP).

example of schema markup used in the search results.

Schema markup can be a valuable tool in highlighting your search engine results listing and making it more clickable. When a user searches for reusable water bottles in a search engine, they may be more inclined to visit a website that lists important product information, such as brand names, cost, reviews, etc. directly in the search results.

Search engines also rely on schema markup for answer boxes, deciphering user intent, and differentiating between semantically different concepts with the same syntax. For instance, the latter example can help search engines choose the right results for someone searching for Philadelphia Eagles tickets, as opposed to the band the Eagles, based on the schema markup used on their website.

This sentiment is also important in a zero-click search world where users are looking for quick answers for queries.

Google's featured snippet or answer box

Schema markup simply gives users a little more information about what they’re searching for before visiting a site, and search engines greater context to what websites they should serve.           

Benefits of Schema Markup

With organic real estate continuing to shrink, schema markup offers a powerful strategy to improve SERP click-through rates and increase visibility for your brand.

Using schema markup on your website can also help boost your local SEO presence on Google My Business, as well as improve your website’s ranking. This can be especially helpful for websites advertising discounts or special deals, as schema markup allows these sites to set themselves apart from the competition.  

One huge reason schema markup is so important is because it can be used to help virtually every different kind of website rank higher in search results. There is schema markup for local businesses, restaurants, events, software applications, product sites, and so much more.  While schema markup is not a direct ranking factor, it’s effect on click-through rate and UX can have a direct impact on your organic listings over time.  

Examples of Schema Markup

Examples of schema markup can be found in virtually any search result, from recipes to movie descriptions.  If you search for a recipe for spaghetti squash, for example, you’ll find pages and pages of similar recipes to choose from.  A website can use schema markup to set their recipe apart by offering up additional information, such as the ingredients needed, cook time, etc.  A user will feel more inclined to visit a particular site if they can read a snippet of information upfront before fully committing.

Schema markup used for spaghetti squash recipe, including reviews, ingredients, cook time, and calorie count.

Local businesses could also use schema markup as a way to drive more traffic to their site and attract users right away.  For example, an SEO company could use site navigation element to make it easier for the user to find exactly what they’re looking for without having to browse the website.  Service pages, contact forms, and other important information can be displayed in the schema markup, which can also help improve search engines’ understanding of a website’s structure and navigation.   

Local SEO result for LSEO using schema markup.

How to Add Schema Markup to Your Website

Adding schema markup to your website isn’t as complicated as it may sound:

  1. First, go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and select the type of data you want to markup out of the options listed.  Then, paste in the URL of the page you want to markup and click “start tagging.” Highlight and select the elements you’re going to be marking up. Once you do this, the tooltip will add this information to “data items” on the right.Google's Structured Data Markup Helper
  2. Once you’ve added your first markup item, continue doing this by highlighting other items and adding them to your markup list.
  3. Next, click “create HTML.”  You should see your page’s HTML in the spots you’ve chosen.
  4. Next, go into your CMS or source code and add the highlighted information where they belong.  To make this step a little easier, you could download the HTML file and copy/paste it into your CMS or source code.  
  5. Once you’ve done that, you should receive a prompt of “next steps.”  To see what your page will look like with the markup, use the Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure everything looks correct.   

For more information about schema markup, be sure to visit our Beginner’s Guide to Schema Markup.

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