As you will undoubtedly know, the world of “digital” is always changing and evolving, digital marketing and SEO in particular change on a weekly basis, heck even a daily basis! One of the biggest changes to emerge has been the use of “Schema Markup” for websites. But what exactly is it and how can it be used?

What Is Schema Markup?

Schema Markup or simply “Schema” was originally conceived back in 2011 through collaboration of the major search engines of Google, Yahoo , Yandex and Microsoft (Bing) in order to create a new type of “Structured Data” which helps the search engines understand what the content of a web page is about. The home of Schema Markup is schema.org, on this website you will find further information about the different “types” and full documentation on how to implement it.

By adding Schema to your webpages, you improve how that page will appear within the SERPs, example of a review rating below:

Schema Example

Different Types Of Schema

There are a huge range of different types of content on the internet, images, videos, whitepapers, articles, blog posts etc… There is a different set of rules and structured data markup for each of these. Some of the most useful for businesses in the UK are as follows:

  • Article
  • Local Business Information
  • Events
  • Reviews
  • Products
  • Special Offers
  • Place

A full list can be found here – http://schema.org/docs/full.html

According to Schema.org, “more is better”. The more you can implement within your website the better your content will be interpreted by the major search engines. This means they fully understand your business offering, services and products.

What Does It Look Like?

Web pages are usually written in HTML, and webmasters are used to “tagging” their content using specific HTML tags. Schema Markup works along this same principle, by using specific micro data tags to help search engines understand what specific pieces of content mean and how they should be interpreted. The following example is taken directly from the schema.org website.

Let’s imagine that you run a film reviews website and you have a page about “Avatar”.

Schema

To a human it is fairly obvious that the page on your website is talking about the film Avatar, however to a machine these are just lines of code. We need to start putting some “context” to our code to help search engines understand the “topic” of the code.

Schema

By placing itemscope within the

we are telling the search engines that this section of code is where we are placing this context.

Schema

Here we are identifying the data are relating to a Movie title.

Finally, we have now told the search engines the “name” of the movie, who the “director” is and what genre the film sits within. These are all determined by using the “itemprop” attribute.

As you can now see, it is a pretty clever way to tell the search engines more about your content, and in turn the topic of your website.

Get Started On Your Own Website

It is really quick to get started implementing Schema within your own site, it does however require knowledge of HTML coding, and if you are using WordPress (as a huge amount of sites do these days) you may also need to understand how to edit the code of your WordPress theme.

Google have a really useful tool to help you get started with implementation, The Structured Markup Helper does exactly that, and can be found here – https://www.google.com/webmasters/markup-helper/u/0/.

Test Your Schema Implementation

Once you have implemented the different schema types within your site content it is important that you check that the syntax is correct. Google also have a tool for this. The Structured Data Testing Tool can be found here – https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool

How Does It Help With SEO?

SEO in 2017 has focused around quality content and topical relevance of that content to the user’s search query. By implementing Schema within your site content you are helping the search engines gain a much more in depth understanding of the topic of your content and whether it is relevant to the user’s query.

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