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Why Google Loves Schema Markup and How to Do It

Schema markup is one of the least-utilized forms of search engine optimization. Only 0.3 percent of websites have markup codes. Google uses markups in 36.6 percent of search results, according to a Searchmetrics study. This disconnect is greatly hurting many business’ SEO efforts.

About Schema Markup

Schema markup allows Google to display visually-appealing snippets of information to its users.

This is an example of the snippet of information…

Schema Markup

 

You’ve likely seen this when searching for anything that could include a photo and instructions.

rich-snippets

Google decided to implement rich-snippets because of one reason:

The desire to provide information to users as quickly as possible.

Many times, Google users won’t have to click on a website. They can find the answers to their questions directly from the snippet. Google has done its job successfully.

So, why schema markup?

Schema Markup for a Competitive Edge

Most people are under the false impression that if they can have their content displayed as a rich snippet, they will gain more click throughs to their website.

THIS IS FALSE.

According to an Ahrefs study, the featured snippet only received 8.6% of the clicks. What gets the most clicks is the website listed right underneath it.

So, if Google’s main goal is to give its users information on its own platform, and the rich snippet doesn’t deliver the most clicks, why would anyone want to use schema markup?

It steals clicks from competitors!

The first website listed in the SERPs gets about 26% of all clicks. When a rich snippet is used, it only receives 19.6%.

If you have a competitor in the #1 spot on SERPs, wouldn’t you want to out rank them? Of course, but that’s not always easy, especially if they have many of the factors Google looks for when ranking sites, such as:

  • Age of site
  • High quality, engaging content
  • Authority with quality backlinks
  • Low bounce rates
  • Multiple pages per session
  • …etc.

You can’t do anything about some of those factors, but you can inch ahead into the #0 spot (featured snippet) on SERPs with schema markup.

This way you not only increase click-throughs, but you end up taking some of the traffic your competitor would have had if it wasn’t for that feature.

In addition, when Google uses a snippet from your website, it immediately determines your site is worthy of such a position. This can improve rankings across your website.

A study by Searchmetrics.com found, “domains with schema integration do in fact rank better by an average of 4 positions when compared to domains without them.”

There’s no reason you shouldn’t mark up your website pages. You’re losing out on traffic and conversions if you don’t, and of course, allowing competitors to get to potential customers first.

So, let’s get started!

Mark Up Pages with Microdata

HTML5 has made it possible to annotate HTML elements with tags, also known as Microdata. These tags need to be inserted into the body of the webpage.

The first step is to identify the ‘item type’ of the page’s content. For example, it could be a restaurant location, recipe, review, or a special event.

You can then move on to the tagging step, or marking it up.

Place <div itemscope> with the type of snippet you’d like to have, so for example,

<div itemscopeitemtype=http://schema.org/event>

Schema.org has a list of all the types you can use when marking up your pages.

Now, you have the type, so you need to identify the property. The tag for this is:

<h1 itemprop=”name”>Rock Concert</h1>

You can use this tag for all other identifying information, switching out the name with what it is:

<h2 itemprop=”description”> 2nd Annual Montauk Rock Concert</h2>

<p> Address: </p>

<span itemprop=”address” itemscopeitemtype=http://schema.org/PostalAddress>

<pitemprop=”streetaddress’> 552 Picodillo Street</p>

<p itemprop=”addressLocality”>Montauk, NY 11954</p></span>

<p>Tel: <span itemprop=”telephone”>631-555-5555</span></p>

<p><a itemprop=”menu” href=”http://www.montaukrocks.com/menu”>Click here for schedule of events!</a></p>

<p>Begins:</p>
<p itemprop=”openingHours”>Saturday at 11:00 AM</p>
</div>

If you’re not into manually tagging your webpages, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Just choose the type and enter the URL of the page, and you can copy and paste the metadata to your site.

Marking Up a Page Using RDFa

RDFa is Resource Description Framework in Attributes. It’s not much different from using microdata, but you do need to change the code a bit. Schema.org has all the words you need to use, so be sure to bookmark it and refer to it often.

To identify what your page is about, use <div vocab=”http://schema.org/” typeof=”store”>.

To mark up the page, start with the header with this:

<h1 property=”name”>Little Boutique</h1>

You can then go through to identify the details:

<div property=”address” typeof=”PostalAddress”>

<h2 property=”description”>The Little Boutique for Littles</h2>

<p>Address:</p>
<div property=”address” typeof=”PostalAddress”>
<p property=”streetAddress”>765 Lady Street</p>
<p property=”addressLocality”>Manhattan, NY 10012</p>
</div>
<p>Tel: <span property=”telephone”>212-555-5555</span></p>
<p><a property=”menu” href=”http://www.littleboutique.com “>Click here to view our inventory!</a></p>
<p>We’re open:</p>
<p property=”openingHours”>Mon-Sat 12pm – 6:00pm</p>
<p property=”openingHours”>Sun: 11pm – 8pm</p>
</div>

If you’re just getting used to using structured data, you should use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check for any errors.

JSON-LD for Marking Up Website Pages

JSON-LD is Javascript Object Notation for Linked Data. Google doesn’t prefer this, but reluctantly added support in 2013. Google favors Microdata or RDFa.

Why use this if Google doesn’t love it? It gets the job done, and you don’t have to tag your entire webpage. The code stays in the header.

The first step is to identify you’re using JSON-LD with <script type=”application/ld+json”>.

To set up the structured date, outline the code like this:

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

Put the code here

}

</script>

You need to tell the robot what you’re using to define the vocabulary, so this needs to be in the code:

“@context”: http://schema.org,

Just like with Microdata and RDFa, you have to identify the type, but this time like this:

“@type”: “store”,

You can then proceed to the information about the store:

“name”: “Little Boutique”,

“description”: The Little Boutique for Littles”,

The address goes in curly brackets:

“address”: {

“@type”: “PostalAddress”,

“addressLocality”: “Manhattan, NY”,

“streetAddress”: 765 Lady Street

},

The opening hours is/l

“openingHours”:[

“Mo-Sa 12:00-21:30”

Su 13:00-20:00”

],

“telephone”: +212-555-5555

“menu”: http://www.littleboutique.com

}

</script>

There you have it! Structured markup with JSON-LD.

Getting to Know Schema Markup

It seems complex at first, but once you understand the tags and how to use them, it can be used like second nature as a webpage is developed. Whenever changes are needed, all you need to do is go in and change the text on it. Google will run through the data on its next crawl and update it in the snippet.

You can also get site links search box by using similar codes and can learn more about how to show site links search box for your site.

Start using the codes above along with Schema.org, or use Google’s helper. You can then check the code with Google’s checker. From there, sit back and track your efforts. Keep in mind not all websites with schema markup will be chosen to have a rich snippet, so stay tuned for our next blog on how to increase the chances Google uses your markup to feature your website in the SERPs.

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