What is schema markup?

What is schema markup?

Picture of Ben Goh
Written by: Ben Goh

Schema markup is a form of code language which can you help to optimise your website for SEO. Schema allows you to succinctly provide Google exact details about your business and website.

This helps Google to easily understand the semantics of your webpages, such as what products/services you offer, or what a blog article is about, and giving your pages the best possible chance to rank in the organic search results.

How does schema work?

Schema.org is a HTML vocabulary. It’s named after the actual word “schema”, meaning a framework used to organise and interpret information.

Think of schema like the nutritional information panel you’d find on food products at the supermarket.

Take this very website for example. Rather than Google needing to infer who & what Insight Online is about from a comprehensive crawl, we can succinctly convey this information in a schema code.

 

e.g. An Organization schema code for Insight Online:

<script type='application/ld+json'>

{

 "@context": "http://www.schema.org",

 "@type": "Organization",

 "name": "Insight Online",

 "url": "https://insightonline.co.nz/",

 "logo": "https://insightonline.co.nz/media/uploads/2018/06/logo.png",

 "description": "We are experts in website analytics, SEO, and online advertising. If you’re looking for an agency that is passionate about what they do, believes in what you do, and is willing to work side by side to achieve your goals, then we’re the agency for you.",

 "address": {

   "@type": "PostalAddress",

   "streetAddress": "38 Ireland Street",

   "addressLocality": "Freemans Bay",

   "addressRegion": "Auckland",

   "postalCode": "1011"

 },

 "openingHours": "Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr 09:00-18:00",

 "contactPoint": {

   "@type": "ContactPoint",

   "telephone": "+64098879838"

 }

}

</script>

We would place this snippet of code directly into webpages’ <head> code. Alternatively, our website uses Google Tag Manager, so we can implement the schema via that.

It’s in this way that schema works in tandem with your on-page content to help Google understand what the webpage is about. Otherwise, Google would have to crawl our website and then infer these details.

What can you be doing with schema today?

You don’t need to be a developer to take advantage of schema code (although some programming knowledge would no doubt be of service!).

There are a range of free online tools that can help you easily generate custom schema in seconds.

In particular, some good ones we recommend (and use ourselves) include:

At a basic level, we’d recommend starting off with the Organization and LocalBusiness schema elements, as these are largely applicable to most websites.

Also take a look at your key service or product pages, and if applicable, consider adding Product and Service specific schema to those.

There are literally hundreds of schema types out there. For a comprehensive list of the full gamut, refer to: https://schema.org/docs/full.html where you can find some niche schemas which might be appropriate to add for your site.

Once you’re done, and the schema has been placed onto the page, plug your URL into Google’s testing tool to check that it’s working correctly: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/

The tool will notify you of any potential issues with the schema. It’s normal to see “warnings” with missing schema fields (which are optional), as many times there are fields that aren’t applicable to you. What you want to look out for are “errors” which indicate that something straight up isn’t working.

P.S. Did you know you can see some schema?

While some of the more ubiquitous schema (e.g. Organisation, Services, LocalBusiness, etc) operate “behind-the-scenes”, some schemas will actually manifest visually.

These are known as “rich snippets”, which can help improve the appearance of your webpages in the search results by displaying additional information. The most common example of this is Recipe schema.

e.g. An example of recipe schema manifesting in the SERP for an ilovevegan.com recipe. Note the additional information manifesting including a rating, calorie count, and cook time.

SEO schema recipe

These rich snippets are far more visually engaging, which can help to significantly improve the click-through rate on the webpage. In turn, those increased clicks encourage Google to rank your site higher in the search results, which tends to create a positive feedback loop.

However rich snippets are quite the rabbit hole, and a topic we’ll be addressing another day!

We hope this blog helped you in some way. Leave us a comment below if you have any questions or comments.

 

Picture of Ben Goh

About Ben Goh

A creative at heart, Ben is an analyst with a passion for creating and optimising content which both engages and inspires.