In the age of voice AI and search engine optimization, providing context to browsers is essential to ensure customer’s search results match their search queries.
Without context, users encounter web pages they didn’t intend to find. For example, if someone is searching for the nearest hairdresser, but you as the hairdresser fail to tell Google where you are, what time you are open and how much you charge, there’s a minimal chance anyone browsing online will walk through your door looking for a fresh cut.
Sales cannot happen without the correct product placement to hit your target audience. Product placement cannot happen without context.
And context doesn’t occur without Schema markup!
Let's say you're in the zoo business; how the heck does Google contextualize your content when someone wants to visit your zoo?
They might search for, "Where to find the best bats?", but instead of your zoo's information and location showing up, they find this instead...",
“Where to find the best bats?” And they display this...
The answer: structured data through Schema Markup (vocabulary created for structured data)!
What Is Schema Markup?
Schema Markup is the result of a collaboration between Google, Bing and Yahoo, creating a type of tagging system that structures data so searchers can find precisely what they’re looking for.
Schema markup is the language of search engines. Search engines to understand the meanings behind subject matter on the web. For example most HTML structure is organized as “<h1></h1>” for the header and “<p></p>” for the body. This HTML format only tells Google what to show. However, the HTML tags don’t give any information about what that the header or paragraph text actually means. Simply put, Schema Markup gives context.
Including Schema microdata in your HTML code can help search engine crawlers interpret the content of your pages more effectively. This, in turn, can increase your visibility. Including Schema in your header is not an easy SEO boost; however, it can improve overall local SEO through giving major search engines such as Bing, Google and Yahoo accurate business details and contact information.
You can think of Schema Markup as your virtual business card.
A business card without Schema:
Lone Fir Creative
The one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategies you’ve tried haven't worked. At Lone Fir Creative, we pinpoint your unique challenge and work with you to get the growth result you’ve been working toward.
Phone number: +01.206.486.0828
4810 Pt Fosdick Dr NW, Suite 67,
Gig Harbor, WA 98335 USA
This would be that same business card in Schema Markup (microdata):
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
<a itemprop="url" href="http://www.lonefircreative.com"><div itemprop="name"><strong>Lone Fir Creative</strong></div></a>
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization">
<div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
<span itemprop="streetAddress">4810 Pt Fosdick Dr NW</span><br>
<span itemprop="addressLocality">Gig Harbor, </span>
<span itemprop="addressRegion">WA </span>
Types of Schema Markup
Before knowing what to do, you should focus on why you are doing it. In this case, why is "rich results." Google is highlighting information it finds through structured data. Rich results pull from properly formatted structured data otherwise known as Schema Markup. This Schema Markup helps search engines understand a page's purpose as accurately as possible. In order to be eligible for rich results, you should mark up your site’s pages using one of two major supported formats:
JSON-LD takes the unstructured content on the web, and structures and contextualizes it. The output is structured data that should be added to the “<head>” section of the HTML document. It can be added to the “<body>” section; however, it’s best practice to have it remain in the header. JSON-LD can be easier to implement across your entire website through the header code. Microdata can take more time to format because it requires marking up specific elements inside the HTML elements, such as the example in the virtual business card.
Metadata vs. Microdata
Some of the first types of metadata were used in 280 BC. The Great Library of Alexandria added small tags to the end of each individual scroll detailing the author, subject and title, making it more efficient for readers to understand the content of each scroll without spending hours reading.
Just as in 280 BC, Google shares with the user, snippets from different articles detailing the specifics of that article.
Metadata tells the browser what is being said on the webpage, which makes for a better user experience. Metadata provides an overview of the main elements of a document. This tagging vocabulary of markup words is provided by schema.org.
Microdata is data structured in a way that gives the browser an in-depth view of what is in the document. Schema.com provides a great analogy to help understand this concept:
"By adding additional tags to the HTML of your web pages — tags that say, ‘Hey search engine, this information describes this specific movie, or place, or person, or video"
Microdata communicates directly to the search engine, letting it know what to do with the info provided. Microdata is the markup within the HTML that gives context to the browser. Without context, data has little to no value.
DISCLAIMER: DON’T GET OVERWHELMED BY MICRODATA! WE PROVIDE A FREE SCHEMA MARKUP CHECK UP
How to Use Schema Markup?
1. Businesses and organizations
1. Businesses and organizations
Schema Markup is essential to incorporate into a business website to ensure that the intent of customers matches the placement of your business. Let’s say, for example, a customer types into Google, “Where can I find the nearest pool cleaners?” Google then contextualizes the search results and provides them with a local company that services swimming pools instead of a YouTube video about how to get the dust off a billiard table.
Does Schema Markup improve SEO for businesses?
Schema Markup doesn’t directly affect SEO rankings. If you are looking to improve search traffic, content marketing and backlinks are the way to go. But Schema Markup does direct improve accessibility, which could result in better findability for the searchers. Simply put, the easier you make it for Google to itemize your business information, the easier it is for the customer to find your information.
Sharing the business location and contact information with Google through Schema Markup will result in better visibility, leading to higher click-through rates. Most importantly, it qualifies your content for Google's rich snippets. When a potential customer searches terms that you have written about, Google shares your information in a rich snippet.
Surprisingly, when Google isn't in court defending themselves against violation privacy laws, they are helping promote those who format their information correctly (Schema Markup) on the internet.
So now that we have you hooked on the importance of Schema Markup for your business, it’s time to put it into action.
Schema organized for business should go in this order:
- Type of organization
- Company name
- Logo URL
- Official website
- Address/postal code
- Phone number
- Preferred description
- Social accounts
- Unique identifying URL
Businesses and Organizations Schema Markup Microdata:
<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Organization">
<span property="name">Google.org (GOOG)</span>
<div property="address" typeof="PostalAddress">
<span property="streetAddress">1234 Google Ln.</span>
<span property="addressLocality"> </span>
Tel:<span property="telephone">( 33 1) 42 68 53 00 </span>,
E-mail: <span property="email">cam(at)google.org</span>
It is important to pull through information for one-off events. Typically, searchers looking for event details intend to find the event date, event title, event venue, address, event time, event offers and price.
- Event URL from Schema.com
- Event Date
- Event Title
- Event Venue
- Event Time
- Event Offers
Events Schema Markup Microdata:
<div class="event-wrapper" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Event">
<div class="event-date" itemprop="startDate" content="2013-09-14T21:30">
Sat Sep 14
<div class="event-title" itemprop="name">
Typhoon with Radiation City
<div class="event-venue" itemprop="location" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Place">
<span itemprop="name">The Hi-Dive</span>
<div class="address" itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
<span itemprop="streetAddress">7 S. Broadway</span><br>
<span itemprop="addressLocality">Denver</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">CO</span>
<div class="event-time">9:30 PM</div>
<div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
<div class="event-price" itemprop="price" content="13.00">$13.00</div>
<meta itemprop="priceCurrency" content="USD">
<a itemprop="url" href="http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/309433">Tickets</a>
Schema Markup includes the url from Schema, the name, the description of what they are most known for, if there are other people that they are related to, and a description of those other people.
- Person URL from Schema.com
- Other person's description
People Schema Markup Microdata:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
<span itemprop="name">George Bush</span>, the
<span itemprop="disambiguatingDescription">41st President of the United States</span>
is the father of
<div itemprop="children" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
<span itemprop="name">George W. Bush</span>, the
<span itemprop="disambiguatingDescription">43rd President of the United States</span>.
According to Search Engine Land, 35% of online purchases start with Google. Without optimizing products for Google to share with the searcher, business will likely lose thousands in potential revenue.
- Product URL from Schema.com
E-commerce Schema Markup Microdata:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ItemList">
<link itemprop="url" href="http://mybusinessproduct">
<div itemprop="itemListElement" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
<img alt="Photo of product" itemprop="image" src="http://img.jpeg"> <a itemprop="url" href="http://brand"><span itemprop="name">Schwinn</span></a>
<div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
<span itemprop="price">4399 р.</span>
<div itemprop="itemListElement" itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
Google made an announcement in September of 2019 that will change the game for a business trying to display reviews on their Google listings. Their statement was as follows:
“Reviews that can be perceived as ‘self-serving’ aren't in the best interest of users. We call reviews ‘self-serving’ when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A - either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget. That’s why, with this change, we’re not going to display review rich results anymore for the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization (and their subtypes) in cases when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves.”
Their goal is to protect organic search results protecting the searcher from relying on fabricated information from businesses.
Most webmasters know how to use an iframe to embed videos in the HTML. Video name and description aren’t enough. You want to include information about the content of the video for the best search engine results. Including the description in Schema is just as important for searching rankings as is including alt text into images for the best search engine optimization.
*For video microdata, find on Schema.org
Schema Markup Check
Adding Schema microdata to your HTML code helps search engine crawlers interpret content on a webpage. This improves local SEO by changing the way google displays your business information. It’s often a lot of work to implement these types of changes. It can be confusing and expensive if you make mistakes. But the upside of this work is well worth it resulting in higher customer engagement and better visibility.
At Lone Fir Creative we are a YEXT agency partner. YEXT integrates across your website and allowing your to keep schema markup up to date from one place. Consider using YEXT to improve your visibility and clean up your Schema Markup.
Check how your business listing is performing now?