Google may carry over 85% of the search engine market share, but that doesn’t mean its algorithm will automatically produce exemplary results—you have to meet Google halfway.
To stand out on the search engine results page (SERP), you need to provide the search engine a specific code. This code is called schema markup.
Schema markup improves the way search engines read and represent your site on the SERP, and is one of the critical components of technical SEO. When done correctly, schema markup can help your website rank an average of four positions higher than websites without it.
Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of what schema markup is, why you need it to boost your SEO performance, and how to get started.
What Is Schema Markup?
Also known as structured data, schema markup is the language of search engines. It’s semantic code that tells search engines what your website content is about.
Schema markup creates rich snippets—visually-appealing search results that include carousels, images, and other non-textual elements. They go beyond the standard blue link and provide a better user experience.
There are different kinds of schema markups depending on the type of content you want to highlight on the SERP. Google reads your schema markup and then uses it to present rich snippets to users.
For example, if you google Big Leap, here’s what pops up:
You’ll see a knowledge panel on the right-hand side. This is created by setting up a Google Business Profile and creating organization schema markup in Google Search Console. Creating the markup can help the search engine contextualize your site’s content and better match users’ queries.
Here’s what our organization schema markup looks like for reference:
Similarly, an event schema markup highlights a website’s events. Search engines can use the markup information to create interactive search results. For example, below is what is displayed when you search for Salt Lake City’s upcoming concerts.
The types of schema markups you can employ depend on two factors:
- The products or services your site provides
- The information you want to highlight in search results
For a complete listing of the various schema types, visit Schema.org or Google’s structured data types guide (under “feature guides”). Please note, however, that there may be different names for the schema types depending on which tool your team uses.
How Can Schema Markup Boost SEO Performance?
Incorporating schema markup provides users with additional information that can bolster awareness and engagement for your brand.
Schema markup plays a pivotal role in your SEO performance in five key ways:
1. Provides Helpful Information to Search Engines
Remember, Google’s primary aim is to serve users with accurate and useful answers to their search queries.
The more information you provide to Google, the better the search engine can:
- Understand your site and business
- View your site as trustworthy
Schema markup can help your team provide the right information to Google to ensure you meet its “high standards of relevance and quality.”
2. Helps You Target the Right Audience
If your goal is to have people book events or contact your business, setting up schema markup can help you reach that goal. Doing so will help you highlight the right information in the SERPs, ensuring these details appear to those people who matter most to your business.
3. Boosts Click-Through Rates (CTR)
The average CTR for search results with structured data is 58%, which is significant when compared to the 41% CTR for non-structured results. When you’re providing searchers with the right information, this positive user experience naturally drives more clicks.
4. Provides a Better User Experience
Speaking of the user experience, let’s look at this example of a recipe gallery created from webpages utilizing recipe schema markup:
Which one would you click on? Probably not the “Eat This, Not That” page. The other two results provide key details such as ratings, cook time, and ingredients—information that users want to see to help them decide which recipe to choose.
5. Helps Your Site Rank Better
Fulfilling both areas above can help your business gain the credibility you need to:
- Bolster your authority in the online landscape
- Get seen by your target audience
- Foster profitable connections with your target audience via clicks and conversions
Research shows websites with structured data outrank those without it. For example, after optimizing its schema markup, IT company Rakuten increased its traffic 2.7 times.
How Do You Generate Schema Markup? Four Useful Tools
How do you build schema markup? Thankfully, some tools can help you generate structured data for your site. Here are the four main tools our Big Leap SEO experts use and can vouch for:
Schema.org entails a collaborative community of schema users who offer insights and guidance on creating structured data. They provide a nifty list of schema types; each takes you to a link where they detail their unique set of properties:
2. Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator
Merkle’s schema markup generator helps you create JSON-LD markup (Google’s preferred format) and the required properties for the markup type you are creating.
3. Web Code Tools’ Schema Markup Generator
Web Code Tools is another helpful resource that provides a schema markup generator and other tools like CSS and HTML generators. Like Merkle, Web Code Tools also provides users with JSON-LD structured data.
4. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper allows you to mark up page elements. You select the type of markup and highlight parts of your page that have the most valuable information.
For the full rundown of the process, visit Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper page.
Test Your Schema Markup
Don’t forget to test your schema markup tool to ensure your data is accurate and displaying correctly. Google recommends you run your structured data through two tools:
- Rich Results Test
- Schema Markup Validator
For more guidance, read Google’s schema markup guidelines. Overall, it’s important to include the right markup properties and abide by Google webmasters quality standards to give your site the best chance of online success.
Implement Your Schema Markup
There are three ways to implement your schema markup to your site. What you decide should depend on the platforms you are already using.
- HTML: Place your schema markup into theorof your HTML code.
- Google Tag Manager: If you’re already using GTM, you can add a custom HTML tag and paste your structured data into that tag. Here’s the full process.
- CMS Plugins: If you’re using a CMS (e.g., WordPress), your CMS platform will likely have its own method of uploading your schema markup.
Stay on Google’s Good Side with Big Leap
We understand schema markup can be tricky. Mastering technical SEO can feel similar to learning a new language—everything is foreign and overwhelming until one day it just “clicks,” and you begin to understand.
Let the SEO experts at Big Leap be your guides. We can help you generate schema markup or audit your site to ensure your content is optimized correctly. Contact our team today.
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