Schema markup is one of the most powerful SEO tools available, though amazingly, few people seem to know about it. Here is a brief look at what schema markup is and what it can do for your website.
The schema project
In a highly impressive collaborative effort, search engine giants Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex joined forces on the schema project. Their aim was to establish a common coding system with which to interpret data online; the result was the schema markup.
What is schema?
Schema is essentially a microdata code that can be incorporated directly into your website HTML – this code makes it easier for search engines to not only scan your content, but also understand what it is about. There are a number of different schemas, each one associated with an established set of properties and purposes, such as those for restaurants, events, products, movies and book reviews.
How does it work?
Schema microdata tells search engines more about your website content and how it should be treated. For instance, times and dates are notoriously difficult for search engine web crawlers to understand, but with the right schema code it becomes obvious what those numbers mean. Similarly, names in your content could refer to a person, a book, a movie or even a local restaurant – but with the addition of the appropriate schema attribute their meaning becomes clear.
How does it help?
- Helping search engines to understand your web content makes it is easier for them to find and display it, increasing your online visibility. Google also uses schema markup to develop rich snippets, which have been shown to improve both search engine ranking and click through rates.
- Schema markup can be used in conjunction with social media tags such as Twitter Cards and Facebook Open Graphs, so your content will not only be easy to share but also highly optimized!
- According to Searchmetrics, only 0.3% of websites currently use schema markup, making it a great way to get ahead of your competition.
- Having a common code across search engines also makes life easier for webmasters, as they no longer need to guess which markup will be most effective.
The schema markup process
While you don’t need to learn any new coding skills to markup your website with schema, it can be a time consuming process for larger sites. The best time to add schema code is when you are building a new website and the more you markup your site the more it will help. However, don’t bother using schema markup on any hidden website content as it isn’t viewed the same way by search engines.
Regardless of the type of business yours is, schema markup will make a huge difference to your visibility online. While schema is still in its early days it seems certain to play a major role in the future of SEO, so give your business a head-start by getting on board early.