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What is Schema.org? And Why Do I Care?

Amanda KoehlerAmanda Koehler/Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
February 13, 20193 min read

You’ve identified your keywords, optimized your content, and written your meta data – all for the purpose of improving your SEO. What now? One of the most important and under-utilized SEO tactics is the implementation of schema.org markup.

What is Schema Markup?

Schema markup, which is found at schema.org, is microdata you can add to your website to describe what the content is about. Once you add schema markup to your webpage, it creates a rich snippet, or enhanced description in the search results.

The following example shows a search engine results page with and without a rich snippet. Which one is more likely to be clicked on?

Google SERP with Schema Example

Studies have shown that the rich snippets with schema.org markup can increase your click through rate by 30%. So why aren’t more people using them?

The truth is schema.org markup is confusing and often difficult to implement by anyone who is not a developer. But it doesn’t have to be. The following outlines how you can get started with schema.org markup for your website.

Types of schema.org

If you visit schema.org, you will likely go down a rabbit hole and get lost in all of the different types of schema available. They continue to add and adjust to the every growing list. However, there are a set few that most people will need to focus on:

  • Website/Webpage
  • Organizations/Local Businesses
  • Products
  • Articles
  • Events
  • Videos

Depending on your industry, there are others to take a look at including: Medical Facilities, Person, Restaurants, creative works and more.

How to Implement Schema.org

At its most basic definition, schema.org is simple additional code added to your website. There are three ways to implement your code:

  • JSON-LD
  • Microdata
  • RDFa

According to Google and Bing, JSON-LD is the recommended way to implement schema.org markup. And, depending on your Content Management System, JSON-LD is probably the easiest to implement. To implement your Schema.org markup, follow these steps:

Step 1: Identify the Schema you want to implement

Go to schema.org and locate the type of schema you want to implement. The website provides a comprehensive list of schemas, but it also gives you the ability to jump directly to a commonly used type.

Step 2: Use a Schema builder, or copy the code from Schema.org

There are tools available to help even the non-developer to write the JSON-LD code. Alternatively, schema.org provides examples of JSON-LD markup for every type of schema.

Once you have the example code, you can replace your data into each field. Then your JSON-LD code will be ready to add to your website page. Google indicates that the JSON-LD code should be added into the <head> of your webpage. If that is not an option, you can also add it into the <body> of your website.

Step 3: Test your Schema.org Markup

You can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to determine if you have implemented your schema.org correctly. Every schema has specific required fields. For example, if you are implementing product schema data, you will need to include price. If you do not include the required fields in your code, Google will not return the results for that structured data on the search engine results page. Additionally, there are fields that are not required, but are recommended. For example, if you are implementing Local Business schema, you should include a price range for your services. You want to include as much information as you can for each schema you are implementing.

An Example of Schema.org Implementation

If you look at Apple.com, you will see additional schema.org markup in the code of the website. This code is telling the Google Knowledge graph to display the image and social profiles identified in the code.

In this case, the schema.org “Organizational” schema markup told Google to display these key features within the Google Knowledge graph. The more information you can provide in the schema.org markup, the better it is for your overall SEO.

Summary

Your goal in improving your website SEO is to make sure Google knows everything your website and your business are all about. Describing your services is key to getting them ranking highly on search engines. Schema.org and structured data are a key way to tell Google about the nature of your website. Schema.org markup will only continue to grow in importance for any SEO strategy. This is especially true as voice search becomes the norm. So get started today with your schema.org strategy by identifying the pages on your website that you can add structured data to.

Amanda KoehlerAmanda Koehler/Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

Amanda Koehler is certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords.  As a senior digital marketing strategist, she focuses on creating marketing strategies for customers like Wildeck, Heartland Advisors,  Curative Care, Snap-on and many others. Through research and data analytics, Amanda helps clients meet their digital marketing goals.

Connect with Amanda on Twitter | Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn | Read Amanda Koehler's Blogs

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