Learning SEO : Schema-Structured Data
What Is Schema.org?
Usually referred to simply as Schema, Schema.org is the end result of a collaborative effort between Google, Yandex, Yahoo! and Bing. Schema markups are a type of ‘microdata’ that can be used to greatly enhance the entries about your site on the Search Engine Results Page, allowing you to define content types, tweak rich snippets, and ultimately help search engines better understand your site. These markups should be used both sparingly and intelligently - making use of the wrong markup code could be disastrous.
What Is Schema’s Relationship To Other Types Of Structured Data?
Schema is one of many different types of structured data, a rather broad category which includes Facebook’s Open Graph and Twitter Cards. It can be used in conjunction with most other types of structured data such as RDFa, Microdata, JSON-LD, and Microformats. It’s generally applied to a website through HTML code.
How And When Should You Use Schema?
It’s worth noting here that Schema doesn’t actually have a concrete impact on your website’s ranking - at least, that’s the official word from Google. That said, Schema will make it easier for search engines to properly index and categorize the content on your website, in addition to providing visitors with more information about your organization. So while it doesn’t have a direct impact as a ranking signal, it’s a valuable tool for SEO.
Better SEO means more traffic and a better rank.
What that means is that you should use Schema wherever possible. In general, it should be considered a best practice similar in importance to keyword research or local search optimization. That said, how you use it will vary depending on what sort of website you’re operating.
A digital storefront, for example, might make use of Schema markups to feature product ratings and reviews, images, and additional information about organizations. An event management firm might use it to show details about event time, location, and venue, while a tourist destination might provide users with data about locations and ratings. There’s actually a fairly staggering array of different elements it can be used to markup and describe entities on your pages - you can find a full list here.
Unfortunately, Schema needs to be added manually to each page on a website - which, in the case of larger sites, can be extremely time-consuming. For this reason, it’s important that you start to implement the markup while still in the planning stages for your site - that way, you can key in all the important details while you’re building your pages. Thankfully, there are also a number of tools and resources floating around the web designed to make Schema easier to deal with.
Additional Tips And Tricks
We’ll close off this section with a few tips, tricks, and words of advice related to Schema.
- In order to create rich snippets, you need a certain number of properties. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool can be used to determine if there’s enough information in your markup for a rich snippet.
- Plugins exist for most content management systems that make the use - and application - of Schema and other markup languages significantly simpler.
- If trying to establish your content on social media, it’s strongly advised that you use Schema in conjunction with other markups tags such as Open Graph.
- There’s no limit to the number of properties that can be applied to a page, and the more properties you add, the clearer that page’s purpose will be to search engines.