All webmasters have familiarity with HTML tags. HTML tags inform a web browser as to the way the information within the tags should be displayed. For instance <h1>Terminator</h1> informs a browser that it should display the string “Terminator” in a heading format. Nevertheless, this HTML tag does not provide any information regarding the meaning of this text string. “Terminator” could be a reference to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, or it could be a reference to a mercenary group. This may make it hard for search engines to display the correct type of relevant content to users.
Schema.org has compiled a group of vocabularies that is shared with the internet community that webmasters can make use of it to markup web pages in a manner that major search engines can understand.
SEO’s have been using schema markup for about two years, and it continues to grow in importance. Schema.org has created schemas that webmasters can use in conjunction with html tags to markup web pages in a manner that is recognisable to major search engines. It should be noted that Google prefers schema markup as opposed to microformats or RDFa.
How Does Schema Markup Improve SEO?
Although Matt Cutts of Google states that using schema markup in a site won’t necessarily improve its ranking, he will not state that is won’t provide a boost to your ranking. Matt Cutts cited the markup schema for recipes that Google makes use of in order to filter the search results of people seeking recipes on Google search as an excellent example. Therefore, we cannot say with 100% certainty whether schema markup has a direct impact on search engine rankings. Nevertheless, we do have a lot of data on how it affects click through rates.
Better Click Through Rates With Schema Markup
One of the benefits that is most tangible in using schema markup is that it leads to SERP listings that are enhanced (rich snippets). According to several studies, including data that Search Engine Land published, these types of rich snippets can boost SERP CTR by up to thirty percent. Therefore, with your current rankings, you can obtain up to 30% more traffic. Search engine listings that contain additional at-a-glance information and rating stars have a greater likelihood of being clicked on by users, which will lead to increased traffic, and enhanced SEO results.
Beginning To Use Schema.org Markup
While it may seem daunting to begin using rich snippets and schema markup, there are some resources that can be of assistance including:
E-Commerce Product Offerings
In November 2012 Schema.org introduced markup for use on e-commerce sites. They created markup for offers and products including warranties, product numbers, use, and condition. If an e-commerce site make use of schema markup on all offer and product pages it will enhance the search results provided to users and it opens up the possibility of a search auto-generating a list of where a product is available online, complete with product condition, pricing, and more. By utilising schema markup, this could occur automatically, without the need for manual inclusion by a search engine or a e-commerce webmaster.
Although Google Shopping models this use of schema markup it still uses shopping feeds that have been submitted via Google Shopping. It is hoped that the open commerce concept would supersede this and become a natural web function.
Enhanced Local Listings
Using schema markup for contact and address information is a very good starting point for many webmasters. The inclusion of markup for the contact information of local businesses is an easy addition that may be added to the contact page, footer, and sidebar of a site.
In addition, schema markup is available for restaurants, which includes the operating hours and a menu link.
Review Schema Markup
And additional schema markup type that may be added to e-commerce or restaurant sites are schema markups for reviews, which will include the actual product URL, the review itself, and user comments. Getting your reviews discovered in the SERPs can positively affect your SEO results via better CTRs. Marketing studies have demonstrated that reviews by consumers are trusted far more than manufacturers’ descriptions.
In addition, review markup can also be used for entertainment sites like, movie, event, and music sites to provide users with a glimpse at ratings even prior to clicking on a link.
Schema Markup: Moving Forward
The internet community has been speculating on how search engines will utilise schema markup as we move forward. Better understanding of information via schema markup may lead to many new ways to rank and display webpages and the information they contain.