Using Schema Markup to Improve Your SEOJune 14, 2016
SEO is always evolving, and the latest in search engine optimization is what’s known as “schema markup.” It’s a powerful concept that can help boost page rankings for websites, and is something all website developers and designers should be tapping into.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup is code that is put into a website to help search engines provide results that are more informative for users. It tells Google and the like what your information means, instead of just what it says. The info on your website is indexed and returned in search results, but schema markup helps some of that content get indexed and returned differently because it tells search engines what the data means by using a semantic vocabulary.
Studies have shown that websites that use schema markup rank better in the SERPs compared to those without it.
Using Schema Markup on Your Site
To use schema markup, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to the Structured Data Markup Helper on Google.
2. Choose the type of data that you want to markup.
There are a number of options listed, which is not exhaustive. For the sample below, use “Articles” since it’s among the most common forms of content.
3. Paste the URL of the page you want to markup.
If you’ve only got HTML, then paste that. Click “Start Tagging.” The page will be loaded in the markup tool, and give you the workspace for tagging items. You will notice that your web page will be in the left pane, and the data items will be in the right pane.
4. Highlight and choose the type of elements you want marked up.
As this content is an article, we would highlight the name of the article to add “Name” markup. After highlighting, select “Name” from the tool tip, which will add it to “Data Items” in the right pane.
5. Continue to add markup items.
The list of data items can be used as a guide, and the other items in the article can be highlighted to add them to the markup list.
6. Create your HTML.
After you finish, click “Create HTML.” In the next page, you’ll see the HTML with the appropriate microdata placed in the areas that you chose.
7. Go into your CMS and add the highlighted components in the right spots.
Add the schema markup to your web page by going into your CMS and adding the highlighted pieces in the right areas.
8. Locate the yellow markers on your scrollbar to find the schema markup code.
You can also download the HTML file, and copy/paste it into the CMS.
9. Click “Finish”.
After clicking “Finish,” you’ll be shown “Next Steps.”
10. Make use of the Structured Data Testing Tool to determine what your page will look like with the added schema markup.
Rather than analyzing a published web page, you can analyze the code that was generated by the tool, which was downloaded.
11. Click “preview” to see what article will look like in the search results.
After you paste the code, “preview” it to see how the article will look when it populates in Google.
You can check over every markup element you added.
Tips on Using Schema Markup
The above steps outline the basics behind using schema markup. But if you want to dig deeper and make even more use of this tool, consider the following tips:
1. Locate the schemas that are used most commonly.
You can find these at Schema.org. Choose the ones that are best suited to your company.
2. Locate all schema types that you require.
Visit The Type Hierarchy to get the full list, which provides the majority of the markup types available.
3. The more you make use of schema markup, the better.
When you understand the wide range of item types, you’ll start to see how much you can mark up on your webpages.
4. Only mark up the content that people can see on the web page.
Don’t bother with the content that’s in hidden div’s or other page elements that are concealed.
The Bottom Line
While schema markup is pretty easy to implement to your website, it’s amazing how few websites are currently using it and taking advantage of its benefits. This tool is an SEO innovation that will likely stick around for the long haul. Learn the microdata that your site needs to boost your search results. This will help you stand out from the competition.