All search engines see each website page as a long text document that should be analyzed by selecting the necessary information. This analysis influences search results directly: what positions will be assigned to a page, how a site will look in search results, and so on. The system of schema markup exists to help robots analyze a website correctly and do not miss some important elements. So, how this system works and what you need to know to use it effectively?
How Schema Markup Works
The presence of schema markup on a webpage does not affect the appearance of a site for users. Users’ attention is distributed with the help of the correct design: large and bold subheadings, smaller subheadings, the main text clearly distinguishable from the title, bullet points, etc. Such a structure of a text is easy to comprehend and allows a person to see what elements are the most important on a subconscious level. For example, the correct structure of an article lets a reader understand (after the quick look at headings and subheadings) what will be discussed in it in a matter of seconds. Other visual design elements can be easily distinguished by a person as well. A user will not waste time on reading the information located at the top of a website page since it is obvious that it is a formal block repeated from page to page.
However, search engines must read a document from the beginning to the end every time. Schema markup is used to help search engines to see a page quickly and correctly. Moreover, it speeds up the analysis of a site; an engine also gets important information that could be missed in information flow. For example, the use of schema markup in an online-shop allows you to send the exact name of the product, its description, and price to the system.
Does Schema Markup Influence Search Results?
Websites are ranked in search results on the basis of their usefulness for visitors. Therefore, the presence or absence of schema markup does not affect the position of a site directly. However, it may affect the way the engine evaluates this usefulness. Therefore, one needs to remember the following:
- Transmitted metadata makes a site more understandable and “transparent” for the engine, enhances credibility of a resource, and makes information easier and faster to process.
- The presence of schema markup can significantly improve the snippet of the website, which is the way it looks for a user in search results.
- Good-quality snippet distinguishes this site from others, which in turn improves click-through rate (CTR). If the information on the page is useful for a customer and makes him/her stay at a site for some time, the search engine will point out this behavior and improve a page position in search results.
What Information Can Be Transmitted Through Schema Markup?
Nowadays, search engines perceive the following types of content semantic markup:
- the product and its price;
- computer programs;
- description of films;
- creative works;
- questions and answers;
- essays and other academic materials;
- information about the company and its address;
- information about images and video;
- company reviews and ratings.
For example, if some recipes are published at your website, proper micro markup will make them look more attractive in search results. A user can immediately see the necessary ingredients, cooking time, temperatures, and photos, which will significantly increase CTR of the link. A user is more likely to click the link that stands out from the rest of the suggested content.
If your organization’s address is marked correctly, it will automatically appear in the snippet of the site for thematic queries. Marked testimonials about the company will be taken into account as well and appear when you search in Maps.
How to Use Schema Markup?
In general, schema markup should be added to the site by a webmaster (a programmer) while creating a resource. However, if it wasn’t done, don’t worry because it is not difficult to add the necessary metadata. We won’t tell you how to do it exactly because our readers are mostly business owners and marketing managers who just need to know about this tool and set tasks for programmers.
The only thing worth mentioning is quality control. There are special Google tools to check the schema markup, its presence, and correctness. Remember that different pages of the site (for example, the main page and the flypage) will contain different markup schemes, so you need to check them separately.
By the way, there are several “languages” to create schematic markup of the page. Schema.org. is the best one for search engines. Other popular systems have lower rates; for example, hCard format is used by 20% of sites, RDFa is present in 4% of the projects, while OpenGraph developed by Google is used by only 1.5% of the market. This statistic vividly demonstrates what marking system should be used.
Schema markup is a useful tool that allows you to control the appearance of the website in search results. However, you should remember that even an attractive snippet will not help your resource to rank higher if its content doesn’t satisfy users. Therefore, work on content first: its quality, uniqueness, and usefulness for customers. It should be engaging and informative and meet your readers’ needs and interests. Hence, markup is no more than an opportunity to promote the created material and increase its value in search engines.