With how sophisticated the SEO tactics have become, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are ways that can help your web page rank higher that go deeper than simply optimizing on-page content and implementing off-page SEO activities.
One such tactic is adding Schema Markup to your webpage, a small piece of code that can give you extra advantages. Let’s break down how it works.
Schema Markup can be found on schema.org, a website that is a collaborative creation of four major search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex. Its ultimate goal is to structure the content so that search engines can understand it better. This improved understanding is supposed to help search engines optimize the search results and display the ones that fit the audience requests best.
Schema markup is a piece of code; microdata, sometimes described as “semantic tag vocabulary,” you add to your HTML to give search engines more precise information about your webpage.
Structured data helps the search engines with categorizing your content by pairing a name with a specific value. Search engines then use this data to index your content.
Microdata is a specific form of structured data working with HTML5.
Schema.org provides the definitions for microdata tags, a particular set that was agreed upon by its creators.
Adding schema markup to your HTML code not only improves your ranking but also improves the way your content is displayed by the search engines. Schema adds snippets of information relevant to the content under the title, ostensibly generating more potential interest among the target audience.
Usually, when your content is displayed on Google, the information displayed under the title is either chosen by Google itself or is, at most, an optimized meta description.
Implementing schema will enrich the display by adding star ratings, publication dates, etc. Content that displays rich snippets of the information under the title has a better click-through rate, which can help with SEO and SERP ranking. For most optimal results, you’ll need to experiment with your schema markup to gather data about your audience behavior.
Once you’ve got structured data, you can mark up all sorts of information, be it an event, a product, or a brand. The rich snippets that schema markup adds to your content can increase the presence of your brand or product, attracting a larger audience and maintaining interest.
Schema.org has been successfully used to mark up various types of content, including (but not limited to):
There are quite few debates about whether schema’s structuring capabilities help with SERP positions. The theory is that search engine algorithms prioritize content they can quickly identify and match with their search queries.
Adding schema to your website will give the search engines a more precise idea of what your content is about by structuring it in an optimal way. This added structure, in turn, will allow the search engine to crawl better and match the content with the queries.
As a result, your website will rank higher, because schema provided the engines with additional information about your content that allowed for more precision with the search queries than your competitors who don’t have schema markup implemented (according to current data, only around 1/3 of websites use schema).
However, as of yet, there’s no conclusive evidence that schema markup structuring your data makes it more appealing for search engines. In this regard, schema is more beneficial for audience attraction and improving click-through rates.
As of right now, there’s no clear information on how other search engines use schema markup when displaying search results, or whether they use it at all.
For those who don’t know, Open Graph by Facebook is also a type of markup. It’s used to filter information to better decide which images, descriptions, etc. to display to improve the content’s performance. That said, Schema provides a more detailed list of options compared to Open Graph and can be used in a broader capacity.
So, in a sense Schema can replace Open Graphs, while Open Graph cannot replace schema. Those in the know, though, say that they can be used together rather effectively, if the user plays to the stronger side of each markup.