If we told there was a way to improve how your website is shown in Search Results would you do it?
Well, there is!
It is called Schema.org and SEO industry leaders advocating Schema suggest that Schema markup language:
- Gives Websites A Better Chance of Being Listed In The SERPs
- Provides Richer Search Results
- Can Potentially Increase Organic Traffic By As Much As 20-30%
So what do you need to know about Schema.org before you implement it on your own website?
How Do the Search Engines See Your Website?
Many websites, particularly e-commerce ones, are based on information pulled out of an offline database.
For example, a clothing site likely pulls its product information from a live inventory database to gather details such as size, color, availability, price and even customer reviews or ratings.
In order for this information to properly display in your web browser (ex. Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome) it has to be translated into HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – the main markup language for displaying website pages.
While this process renders the information properly for visitors it makes it very difficult for Search Engines to read. More often that not, Search Engines are unable to recover the original structured data.
As a result Search Engines struggle to fully understand or interpret the information about your products, events, locations and so on.
What Is Schema.org and How Does It Help?
Schema.org provides one method for marking or labeling your website’s HTML code so that Search Engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo have a better chance of understanding the content’s meaning.
Without these labels all HTML code can look the same to Search Engines. For example your webpage could have a recipe, a short story, a client testimonial, a list of upcoming conferences or store locations and hours and the HTML code would all look similar.
Without schema markup language Search Engines rely on their indexing spiders to intelligently read the HTML and make decisions of how to interpret and categorize the content.
By using Schema’s method of marking your content you can clearly tell Search Engines what is on your web pages. In Bing’s words you will be able to “give hints about what things you are describing on your site”.
How Schema Markup Helps Search Engines
To reiterate, on-page schema markup adds specific labels to components of your site’s HTML code to help Search Engines understand the structure and organization of your on-site information and databases.
By giving Search Engines direct access to this structured data, Search Engines in turn are able to find more information on your website and provide richer and better search results for users.
Ultimately, if you have on-page Schema markup language implemented on your site your chances of being found for relevant information improve.
Here is just one example of how a Mediterranean restaurant located in Sunnyvale, California can mark up its restaurant information with Schema.org so Search Engines can better understand all of the website’s content.
GreatFood 4 stars - based on 250 reviews 1901 Lemur Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (408) 714-1489 www.greatfood.com Hours: Mon-Sat 11am - 2:30pm Mon-Thur 5pm - 9:30pm Fri-Sat 5pm - 10pm Categories: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: Yes
Adding schema will make the HTML look like this:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Restaurant"> <span itemprop="name">GreatFood</span> <div itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ AggregateRating"> <span itemprop="ratingValue">4</span> stars - based on <span itemprop="reviewCount">250</span> reviews </div> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">1901 Lemur Ave</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Sunnyvale</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">CA</span> <span itemprop="postalCode"> 94086</span> </div> <span itemprop="telephone">(408) 714-1489</span> <a itemprop="url" href="http://www.dishdash.com">www.greatfood.com</a> Hours: <meta itemprop="openingHours" content="Mo-Sa 11:00-14:30">Mon-Sat 11am-2:30pm <meta itemprop="openingHours" content="Mo-Th 17:00-21:30">Mon-Thu 5pm-9:30pm <meta itemprop="openingHours" content="Fr-Sa 17:00-22:00">Fri-Sat 5pm-10:00pm Categories: <span itemprop="servesCuisine">Middle Eastern</span>, <span itemprop="servesCuisine">Mediterranean</span> Price Range: <span itemprop="priceRange">$$</span>
How Schema Markup Helps Searchers
By adding Schema markup language to your site you not only increase your likelihood of being found for relevant searches but you also help Searchers find specific pieces of information that otherwise would be hard or nearly impossible to find.
When was the last time you searched online for a specific piece of information…perhaps an address, job listing, price of a product, hours of business, location of an event or ticket prices for upcoming concerts by your favorite band?
Schema makes it much easier for the Search Engines to find these specific pieces of information. Just like road signs tell drivers what restaurants, hotels and so on are at each freeway exit Schema markup tells Search Engines what phone numbers, events, recipes, people and so on are on each web page.
Schema tags all the key information so that Search Engines can quickly and easily find it and display it in search results for impatient searchers.
In a world of instant gratification this is extremely valuable for searchers!
Benefits of Schema.org:
5 Reasons to Use Schema Markup on Your Website
There are 5 major reasons you should care about schema.org:
1. Schema Markup Gives Users Higher Quality Search Results
By marking up your website with Schema you help the Search Engines give results closer to a visitor’s search query.
2. Schema Markup Helps Search Engines Get A Deeper Understanding of Your Website Content
The more Search Engines are able to understand about your website the better they are able to evaluate your content and know when to appropriately show it in search results.
3. Google Uses Schema to Generate Rich Snippets
Google uses Schema markup for generating rich snippets in the Search Engines. These snippets can include ratings, reviews, prices, people, events, etc.
4. Schema Helps To Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Because more information is displayed right in the SERPs the user has a better idea of your site before clicking on the listing; if they click on the listing the chances are they are very interested and will stay on your site longer.
5. Schema Helps Set You Apart From The Competition
Implementing Schema on your website is a great way to get ahead of your competition, especially if they have not already started using Schema. You have the potential to show up in Search Results more often and are able to provide a richer user experience.
Is There Any Risk Involved with Schema or Microdata?
Perhaps the biggest precaution we should be aware of is if supplying the Search Engines with such rich search results will prevent searchers from actually clicking through to your websites.
If the price, description, event time or other piece of information is displayed right in the SERPs the searcher’s question may be answered without visiting your website however, if they do visit your website they are generally highly motivated and closer to making a decision.
This needs to be assessed on an individual basis but more often than not the advantages of Schema outweigh any disadvantages.
Need Help with How to Use Schema Markup on Your Site?
For more information about how Schema markup language can be used on your website or for Schema.org consulting services, please:
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