SEO Basics: What is Schema?
It takes some setting up, but Schema mark-up can help boost both ranking and clickthroughs. Here's the lowdown
Schema markup is code that gives search engines information about the content on a page.
Let’s say you have a page about the latest iPhone. It’s likely to include elements such as product description, price information, technical specs and customer reviews. Human readers can easily see what kind of information each part of the page contains, but for search engines it’s trickier.
That’s where Schema comes in. It allows you to mark up the HTML elements of the page so search engines can see that, for instance, the iPhone has a review score of 4.5 out of 5. This information might be used in a ‘rich snippet’ (more on that in a moment).
Why use Schema?
Because Schema helps Google understand content, it can mean your webpages are served up more accurately for the term you’re targeting. Going back to the example, using Schema to mark up the review section of your iPhone page shows Google that it is relevant for the search term ‘iPhone review’. Whether you actually rank for that search term is another question, but Schema is certainly a good start.
In addition, Google will often pull some of your marked up content onto search result pages. This is known as a ‘rich snippet‘, and can be shown in search results in a number of ways, including ratings, recipes and audio playlists:
As you can imagine, rich snippets generally receive a much higher CTR than ordinary search results and drive more traffic to the site.
How to check for Schema
Google has produced a number of tools for both implementing and checking schema mark up. The mark up helper aids with creating valid code, and the structured data testing tool checks existing code directly from URL.
Getting started with Schema
Implementing Schema is a job for a web developer. You can either wrap individual HTML elements using microdata, or use a JSON-LD based on the popular JSON format. The latter is easier to implement as the code can be placed inside <script> tags and placed in the <head> of the source code.
Here’s a quick look at what those solutions look like:
There are a number of resources to get started on Schema. Check out the Schema site to learn about what can be marked-up.