Ranking high on the search engine result pages (SERPs) is crucial for the success of your business. But, a top-ranking page alone isn’t sufficient. You need to ensure people click on your webpage link on the SERPs.
Customers often just glance through the search results. That means you only get a few seconds to impress them.
Along with your webpage link, you need to present impressive snippets of information on the SERPs. Google calls them rich snippets. They are crucial to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and click-through rate (CTR).
But how do you achieve rich snippets for your website?
To do that, you should create structured data on your webpage by using schema markup. If you don’t know what schema markup is, don’t worry. We’re going to cover everything you need to know to use it advantageously.
Here’s what you can expect:
The basics of schema markup
Search engines like Google index webpages to understand their content. They use advanced algorithms like natural language processing, but they don’t have a human-like capability to understand the contextual meaning.
If you help search engines understand your webpage better, it will improve your search presence. And that’s exactly what schema markup does.
With schema markup, you can:
- Boost SEO: Search engines understand pages with schema markup better. Hence, it may increase search rankings. By presenting users with impressive rich snippets, it will also improve your CTR and website traffic.
- Help customers: Search results with rich snippets help customers understand your products better. Getting more information from the SERPs also enhances user experience.
- Create brand awareness: Schema markup helps highlight top products and services on the SERPs. It helps your brand stick in your customers’ minds.
What is schema markup?
Schema markup consists of a set of keywords or HTML tags that help you define on-page content. It gives search engines information about the type of content on your webpage.
In essence, what schema markup does is create structured data on your webpage, which search engines render as rich snippets on the SERPs.
To implement schema markup, you need to incorporate the markup tags into the HTML source code of your webpage.
For instance, let’s assume you have a recipe website. In that case, you may want to tell search engines that your content is primarily recipes. You can use specific schema markup tags to do that.
Now you know what schema markup is, but one question remains — how do search engines know which keywords to look for to understand the content?
Schema.org and its common vocabulary
Major search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex have come together to define a standard. They have created a website, Schema.org, to define a set of content types and their properties.
Schema.org defines hundreds of content types to suit every website. All you need to do is incorporate them into your page’s HTML source code.
Although at first it may sound complicated, it’s simpler than it seems. To show you that, let’s have a more in-depth look at how to use schema markup vocabulary on your website.
A closer look at schema and how to implement it on your website
Before adding tags to your website’s HTML, you should know that Schema.org defines specific terms to describe the content on your webpage:
- Item Scope: This tag encapsulates a particular part of your content that talks about a specific subject.
- Item Type: This tag describes what’s the type of item encapsulated within an item scope. For a product page on a WordPress-based e-commerce store, the item type might be ‘product.’
- Item Property: Describes the features of an item. For example, a product will have a name, make, brand and ratings.
There are also multiple ways to encode this information into your page’s HTML source. Just like we use human languages, we can use various programming languages or formats to encode schema data into HTML sources.
The formats are:
It’s worth noting that Google prefers the JSON-LD format. With that in mind, we’re going to show you how to implement schema markup using JSON-LD.
Step 1: Choose the Appropriate Schema Type
There are hundreds of Schema types, from ‘Book’ to ‘FitnessClub’ to ‘Movie’. You need to decide what category your content falls under. You can find the full list of Schemas at Schema.org.
Choose the one that fits your content the best.
Step 2: Structure Your JSON-LD Markup
The basic structure of a JSON-LD markup is a script tag with a type of “application/ld+json”, and then a JSON object containing your data.
Step 3: Fill In Your Data
Now you can start filling in your data. The data you include will depend on what type of Schema you’re using. For example, if you’re using the “Book” Schema, you might include the name of the book, the author, the publication date, etc.
Here’s an example of what a filled-out JSON-LD markup might look like:
Step 4: Embed the JSON-LD Script in Your HTML
Once you’ve filled out your JSON-LD markup, you need to embed it in your HTML. It can go anywhere, but it’s often placed in the <head> of the HTML document.
Step 5: Test Your Markup
The last step is to test your markup to make sure it’s working correctly. Google provides a tool for this called the Structured Data Testing Tool. You can paste your markup into the tool, and it will tell you if there are any errors. You can also use the Schema.org Validator tool.
Step 6: Monitor Your Search Console and Google SERPs
After implementation, keep an eye on your Google Search Console for any structured data errors and monitor your search results to see the impact of your changes.
Please note that while implementing Schema markup can improve the way your page displays in SERPs, it doesn’t guarantee improved rankings. It is, however, a best practice for SEO and helps search engines understand your content better.
Remember to always use the most specific applicable type and property names from Schema.org when creating your markup.
Tools to help create structured data
Google Structured Data Markup Helper
This is a tool for anyone with a valid webpage, not necessarily a WordPress website.
- Free to use for anyone with a Google account
- Based on a graphical user interface
- Generates schema markup code in JSON-LD and Microdata
Here’s a quick demo of how to implement schema markup using Google’s structured data markup helper.
True to its feature of diverse plugins, WordPress’s business plan offers several schema markup plugins.
Here are a few well-known plugins:
Plugin 1: All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Plugin 2: Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP
- Supports up to 35 schema types
- Free and pro versions are available
- Easily add schema markup through a user interface
Plugin 3: Yoast SEO
Users can select various Schema types when creating content, including FAQ Page, Item Page, and many more.
Spoiler alert: This blog post contains FAQ structured data!
Validating Schema Markup Code
Once you have written the schema markup code, you must verify it. The most popular tools to verify schema markup code are Google’s structured data testing tool, Google rich result test and schema markup validator from Schema.org.
Common schema questions from small business owners and webmasters
Schema is a type of code you put on your website to help search engines understand your content better. It’s like giving Google a summary of what your site is about.
Structured data is information formatted in a way that search engines can easily understand. Think of it like organizing your toys into different boxes so you can find them easier.
While the terms “Schema” and “structured data” are often used interchangeably, they don’t mean exactly the same thing. You can think of structured data as the general practice of organizing data, and Schema as a specific tool to do that organization. It’s like how “transportation” could mean cars, bikes, buses, etc., but “car” is a specific type of transportation
Schema helps search engines understand your site better, which can make your site look better in search results. It’s like having a fancy sign outside your store.
Schema doesn’t directly boost your ranking, but it can make your site more attractive in search results. This can lead to more people clicking on your site, which can help your ranking.
Yes, if your page has different types of content, you can use different Schemas. It’s like using different labels for different things on the same shelf.
If you use misleading Schema, your site could be penalized. But if you use Schema correctly, there’s no risk.
Both Schema and Open Graph help describe your site to others, but Schema is for search engines, while Open Graph is for social media.
Final thoughts: What is schema markup and how to implement it from scratch
Implementing schema markup on your website can significantly boost your SEO and help you succeed. To achieve impressive rich snippets for your website, you’ll need to incorporate unique HTML tags into your webpage’s source.
Despite its great benefits, many e-commerce owners shy away from implementing schema markup as it involves coding.
If you feel the same, you can always get SEO experts to help you. Bluehost offers a variety of digital marketing services, including SEO and PPC. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and help bring your website traffic to the next level!