Schema is one of the most powerful forms of optimisation currently in use but one of the least utilised by most webmasters. The reason behind this is that the majority of website owners don’t even know it exists, and the few who do have no idea how to implement it.
If your brain’s starting to smoke at the thought of schema mark-up don’t worry, the good news is that it’s actually a very simple concept to grasp once you get the jist of what it is and why it’s useful.
So, What Is Schema?
It’s a pretty revolutionary SEO solution that was put together by the three leading search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) to help them identify and categorise important website information more easily. Simple when you put it like that right?
How To Set It Up
Effecting of the Schema mark-up is achieved through the platform schema.org. In this platform, a variety of categories help you correctly mark up your website information. Within this platform there is a geographical mark-up, reviews and testimonials, events, Google authorship and more and lots of categories. The best way to do it is to use the Structured Data Mark-Up Helper which allows you choose the mark-up information that best suits your page. The important thing here to is to find the relevant page for the mark –up information you want to display. Once you have done this you can test what it will look like using the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Schema mark-up works through its insertion within your existing HTML using the div and span tags. All you have to do is ensure that you insert it in the relevant part of your website to mark-up the exact information that you want to. You can have an HTML code generated by schema.org and then you just need to copy and insert it within the relevant part of your website. A good example of such a code for a reviews and testimonials mark-up is as below:
<div itemprop=”review” itemscopeitemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Value purchase</span> –
by <span itemprop=”author”>John</span>,
<metaitemprop=”datePublished” content=”2014-10-15″>October 16, 2014
<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscopeitemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>
<metaitemprop=”worstRating” content = “1”/>
Since using schema mark-up can be tricky, especially if your HTML skills are limited, you may need to employ the help of an SEO who understands its use and implementation.
What Are The Advantages?
It can be good in terms of SEO as it explains what your webpage is about more clearly to the search engine robots that rank your website. Perhaps more importantly however, schema mark-up can increase your click through rate as the rich snippets that it produces gives people extra information on what your page is about and more incentive to visit it.
When people are searching for your website, they expect to see phone numbers, addresses, emails, business names and even logos. By employing schema mark-up, you help the search engines find this information and display it for your users on the SERPS. Schema helps the search engines understand what your data means and not just what it says thus indexing it accordingly.
In the wake of hummingbird people began to realise that in order to rank well your website actually has to be a relevant source of information and relevant to the keywords that its aiming to rank for. Therefore context became of ever more important in SEO as opposed to search engines seeing the term ‘duck whistles’ mentioned 10 times in the content of a page and figuring that it must be a good source for people wanting to buy duck whistles (other forms of whistles are available). This means that if you have schema mark-up on your website you are making the searchbot’s job a lot easier.
When Will I See The Results?
Once your mark-up is installed you may need to wait a few weeks to see the results in the SERPs and even then it’s really up to the search engines whether they show your rich snippets or not. Google and the other search engines will only provide rich snippets for results if they feel that they are necessary and will be helpful to the user.
I have mentioned rich snippets a few of times and a lot of people get confused between the difference in Schema mark-up and rich snippets so here’s a brief explanation from Brian Larson;
“Schema markup is a classification of code, where as rich snippets is one of several ways that the subsequent information can appear in the SERPs”
If you’re still not sure what rich snippets are, Kimberly Reynolds gives a pretty good explanation here.
In conclusion to add Schema mark-up to pages on your website you should use the structured data tools provided by Google Webmaster Tools under Other Resources and then add the resulting code into to the code of the page, you might want to hire a professional for that part.