If there is one thing that is going to be critical in your 2020 SEO success, it is schema markup or structured data.
Adding schema markup to a webpage allows a rich snippet to be displayed along with the search results. Context is crucial for any search engine to serve the right type of search results that exactly answers a search query. Schema markup helps achieve that.
More than half of all Google searches now result in zero clicks. What this means is that websites have become so efficient at serving the most relevant information for a search query in the result page itself that users don’t have to even click on the link to get more information. You need to optimize for featured rich snippets by providing succinct answers for commonly asked questions, showing star reviews, pricing, your contact details etc. The right kind of featured snippets can also increase your CTR, but you need to get it right. Schema markup can help here.
What is schema?
Schema or Structured Data is a group of tags or microdata that you can add to your webpages to communicate better with the search engines and improve your SERP click-through rates. It helps search engines and web browsers make sense of and provide context to the content in the website. When you have a website using Schema Markup, it essentially becomes more information-enriched.
How structured data appears on Google
Structured data helps Google display your website with interesting elements or show rich results for your website on the SERP. Thumbnails, review stars, contact details, summary or other content types can be shown to create a better search experience for the user.
Here is an example of a data snippet that you must include in your webpage HTML to provide rich results.
[Image from developers.google]
This is a JSON-LD snippet that provides the contact information of a company called Unlimited Ball Bearings.
The structured data on a page will describe the content of that page. Google also specifies some guidelines for structured data to make it eligible for the SERP.
Use cases for schema markup
Schema markup is most useful for
- local businesses
- products and offers
For an organization, include the logo, contact details, official name, social profiles of top executives etc. in the schema. For local business searches, the most useful information to provide would be directions to the store, contact info, last date of latest deals etc. Schema markup for products can include information such as review stars, how it compares to competitors, whether the item is in stock, price etc.
Search results for specific events should ideally show the date and time, venue, etc. A video schema markup should include an attractive thumbnail that encourages the user to click through. Structured data is even useful in breadcrumbs as it helps both search engines and users understand the hierarchy of a webpage. The more users understand how to navigate your website, the lesser will be your bounce rate.
Schema markup formats
The following are the most important schema markup formats:
RDFa or Resource Description Framework in Attributes is usually used in the head and body sections for improved machine readability. Microdata is a set of tags in your website’s HTML that improves the way search engines parse the webpages and pick it for SERPs.
You can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper & to easily generate your own code. Incorporating rich snippets into your webpages may seem like tedious work, but one that definitely pays rich dividends.
Search results with rich snippets tend to have better click-through rates. Experiment with schema markup for your webpages to check how your target audience are reacting to the rich snippets that you are able to serve with the help of schema markup.