What Is Schema Markup? Could It Boost Your Website Ranking?

 

Suppose They Gave Us Schema Markup, But Hardly Any Webmaster Makes Use Of It!

 

What Is Schema Markup? Could It Boost Your Website Ranking?
Only 0.3% off all domains use Schema Markup

A new Searchmetrics study, released on April 22,2014, examined Google’s search results in March and revealed surprising results.

After analyzing tens of thousands of keywords and over ½ of a million web domains, the study found the following:

 

  • The most common Schema snippets are related to “Movies” and “Offers” (detailed information about Schema Rich Snippet categories can be found at schema.org
  • Pages using schema.org markups have higher Google rankings (four positions on average)
  • Only 0.3% of websites use Schema Markups
  • Over one third of keywords in Google search results include Schema snippets


I found the result of this study important enough to bring it to your attention before we explore Schema Markup and the benefits it could bring to your website (you can read the complete study at the searchmetrics website)

 

What is Schema Markup and what does it do?


Search engine bots are actually rather dumb. They cannot read and understand your content like humans reading your posts. They cannot see images or watch your videos.

In order to process search queries more efficiently, we need to direct the bots to data points, which makes it easier for them to parse and interpret the information on your web page.

I assume you have already set up Google Authorship, and are familiar with the “rich snippet” tool. You know how to provide the meta tags that will show in the search result.

Schema is a kind of micro data set that allows you to expand and enhance the actual information of the rich snippet.

The images below show you the difference between web pages with and without Schema Markups. I searched for “Potato Salad” and the result shows sixteen sites WITH Schema out of twenty two displayed on the first three pages in Google.

What is Schema Markup
Search result: Website page WITH Schema Markup
Does schema markup boost website ranking
Search result: Website page Without Schema Markup


What site will get more clicks? The one showing you a star rating, number of reviews, preparation time and calories per serving OR the one without this information. I let you be the judge.

 

What is Schema.org?


In 2011 Google, Bing and Yahoo collaborated to find a way to make their search engines more efficient to provide the users with more accurate search results. They decided on a standard for structured markup. Yandex, the Russian search engine joined the collaboration some time later. Schema.org is the website for this project and serves as “library and information center”.

 

How does Schema Markup work?


I am not going into the technical details, nor will I overload you with the syntax of structured markup coding. You will find a list with links at the end of this article.

Let me use one of the categories of the markup catalog to explain the inner workings in plain English.

Let’s assume you are writing a review about a product and you want to give it a 4-star rating. In case you wondered how those four yellow stars will show in the search result snippet, here is how it goes.

You insert the line “My Rating: 4 stars, Reviews 49

The schema elements and attributes are applied, in schema micro data, directly into the HTML code of your webpage to alert the crawl spiders that this is a markup. Google then will display four stars accordingly to the snippet and the number of reviews.

The code you insert will be invisible to the reader’s eyes, of course, but the bots will recognize it as such. There are other data fields with relevant information you can apply micro data to enhance your rich snippet.

 

Does Schema Markup improve your website rankings?


“No, not at this time”. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, schema markup is not boosting Google rankings. Watch this short video and hear what Matt has to say:

 

You heard it from the master’s mouth. I just wonder about the obvious disproportion in the search result, considering the potato salad search.

 

What does Schema Markup do for your website?


Even if your webpage or post “only” makes it to page two or three in a Google search, including schema markup will increase the visibility of your site. Searchers are able to learn from your detailed snippet if the content of your site is what they are looking for. This can result in higher click-through rates and the reduction of your bounce rate.

I also see an added benefit to your overall SEO as you provide additional relevant data to the crawl spiders.

 

How do you implement Schema Markup?


I admit, marking up your pages manually can be a pain in the “you know what”. Maybe this is the major reason why so many webmasters neglect to use it.

But fear not. There are markup tools and markup generators available that perform the actual coding. All you have to do is enter the relevant data in an easy to fill out form. WordPress users can use an excellent plug-in for adding the necessary HTML code to their pages.

In case you are asking if you should markup every single page or post, the answer is: It’s totally up to your discretion. However, I believe that the benefits of schema markup warrant the practice of marking up every page or post.

 

Should You be using Schema Markup?


In my opinion, absolutely. Even if Google claims that structured micro data does not send ranking signals, I believe that sites that use schema markup do have an edge over those without.

Don’t forget that the visual appearance of your page in the search result can and will attract users to “click on the link to your site”. This is what you want and need, isn’t it?

 Let me remind you of two aspects of the Searchmetrics study:

  1. Only 0.3% of websites use Schema Markups
  2. Over one third of keywords in Google search results include Schema snippets

This alone should be reason enough to add schema markups. Leave the 0.3% group and take advantage of the display of Schema snippets.

Don’t get discouraged by the technical “mambojumbo” you will encounter, or by the need to become familiar with reading the source code of your pages. I have not used Schema Markup in the past, but are in the process of testing the use on one of my other websites. Let me assure you, that it will get easier after the second or third time.

Below is a list with useful links that will make the use of Schema Markup easier.

 

Where to find help with Schema Markup

Google Webmaster Tool:  https://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/4598337?hl=en&ref_topic=3309300

MicroDataGenerator: http://www.microdatagenerator.com/

WordPress Plug-in: Schema Creator by Raven

Google Structured Data Testing Tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets


Link to my favorite learning center. A place for beginners as well as the more experienced internet marketers or webmasters. Check it out, you have nothing to lose.

 


 

 

John Worthy Profile ImageMy name is John, the owner of this website. My mission is to help newbies starting their online business the right way. I appreciate your feedback about my site and this article. Just drop me a note in the comment box below or send me an e-mail

john@factsaboutinternetmarketing.com

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Peter

    Very intersting article John. Schema Markup is something that I’ve heard of but have never given any further attention. From your article I can see that I and most other websites have been making the same mistake. Thanks for the useful links, I’m going to check them out.
    Peter

    • John Worthy

      Hello Peter. I am still in the testing phase. But maybe in 2 weeks or so, I will start using schema markup on all my post. New and the old ones alike. I will let you know how much of an headache that will be…….or not.

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