Schema markup, first announced by Google in 2011, is a kind of microdata developed in partnership between Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex. The goal was to create a set of tags that would allow webmasters to transmit the meaning of web pages to computer programs that read them, such as search engines.
Because of this shift in how search engines work, which has had a significant impact on search results, Schema markup has become an important part of SEO practitioners’ online strategy.
Semantic and schema-based search
Semantic search has been an increasingly important factor for anybody wanting to improve their online presence since Google’s Hummingbird upgrade. Google has been attempting to give more relevant responses based on a deeper understanding of search queries, returning more specialized results than ever before.
Google now not only evaluates each object in a search query, but it also compares the searcher’s intent to the data it already possesses. While Google extracts this data from unstructured data on the web to inform what it shows in search results, structured data markup like Schema allows webmasters to have a greater say.
More elaborate microformats, such as hCard, might be used to identify parts of a webpage to search engines prior to the advent of Schema markup. Before Schema, “semantic markup was essentially the realm of academics,” according to The Art of SEO.
Benefits of Schema
Produce rich snippets
The possibilities for increasing your search ranking with Schema are numerous: Restaurants may display their five-star ratings in search results, entertainment venues can do the same with their event schedules, and courier services can display their beginning pricing.
These extra features are referred to as “rich snippets” when they appear in search results. Although rich snippets have been demonstrated to increase CTR (click through rate), it’s vital to realize that the Schema markup used to create them isn’t a guarantee of high rankings.
Have an impact on the knowledge graph
Schema encompasses more than just rich snippets. Using this type of structured data markup can have an impact on the knowledge graph and make it easier for computer programmes like applications and personal assistants to read the most significant information (such location, pricing, and stock information) on your site.
With the development of screen-free search alternatives like smart voice-activated assistants, it’s possible that a webpage with organized data may be preferred over one with unstructured data in the future.
How to Begin Using Schema
Google offers a Structured Data Markup Helper to get you started. Despite the small number of data types available, at least one of them should be relevant to your organization and will aid in your knowledge of Schema markup. One of the simplest ways for companies with a physical location to use Schema is to boost local SEO by defining their business name, address, and phone number (NAP information) more explicitly.
Always use Google’s structured data testing tool to validate your markup before implementing it.