Schema Markup – What, Why, How
Structured content marked using Schema.org tags can get you more clicks and provide most important information on the search results page. Schema.org is the organization that defines and maintains the repository of schemas that you can use for your website and maintains a schema markup for each type of content. These schemas are supported by the big three search engines and helps them quickly understand the content of your website.
What is a schema markup?
A schema is a collection of tags like HTML tags that tells the machine reader the type of information that is enclosed within the tags. For example, if you have a food recipe blog, the schema has tags such as <ingredients>, <calories>, <recipeinstructions>, and so on. These tags help search engines easily go through your website content. The tags also help make a semantic connection by detecting the main Recipe schema declared in the page’s <head> section and the tags on the page.
So when people search for ‘banana pudding instructions’, your content matches better to the query than a page that is not tagged. The use of schemal tells the search engine that this web page is about Banana Pudding, it is a Recipe, includes instruction among other useful information you have tagged.
When I search for Banana ‘Pudding instructions’ the first result I get is from the Allrecipes.com website. Now, this tagging alone is surely not the only reason why it is at the top, but tagging does help. Here’s how their structured data looks behind the web page.
Here, the main schema used is the Recipe schema. And the other secondary schema used for rating purpose, is the Aggregate Rating schema. This is how the end result looks on the search page.
You can see that the first result shows all the important information such as the cooking time, calorie count. It also shows the rating value and the review count that we see marked yellow in the image showing the code. While web pages that do not use the schema (last result) hardly have any information other than the meta description.
Why use schema markup
The obvious benefit of using structured data is making your website easy on search engines. Schema.org schema markup is acceptable to all the major search engines and they can understand the tags you use in these schema.
However, search engines should not be the only reason for this effort. After all, you are writing for humans. I am sure you will agree that information in the first result in the search results image above is more helpful than those that have only a description.
Moreover, search engines favor those who think of their readers. As we take small steps toward a semantic web, the schema markup will help the readers find what they are looking for with less effort.
Jayson DeMers shares some great tips on how you can use various schema.org markup for your business website to show useful information on the search results page.
How to use schema markup?
The easiest way to use schema markup is create templates with the schema markup before starting your website. You can use any of the free HTML What You See Is What You Get editors to create such templates. For WordPress CMS users, there are a few schema markup plugins that have templates you can use for reviews and writing recipes. The plugins provide a web form like interface where you can type the information and get it tagged.
The newly released Genesis 2.0 framework now supports the Schema.org markup. And we are in the process of investigating how it is exactly implemented in Genesis 2.0.
Are you using Schema markup in your posts? Has it helped you rank higher in search engine results? How exactly do you implement Schema markup. Please leave a comment and join the discussion.