At Irish Titan, our goal is to provide business owners with the information they need to ensure digital marketing practices are not only up-to-date but are truly successful. With that in mind, we want to provide a quick overview of schema markup, and what it can do for your website and your business.
We won’t get into the technical details of implementation here. Instead, recognizing that a large percentage of businesses do not use this important strategy, we simply want to provide a broad overview of its purpose and potential so business owners have the necessary background knowledge to successfully partner with internal teams or agency partners.
So, What is Schema?
Schema markup is code that, when placed on a site, allows a webmaster to specifically highlight to search engines what types of information are present. This, in turn, provides search engines with additional context about a website, an organization, content types, and other details.
Without schema markup, search engines will crawl your site, take note of the text, and display your site if it’s seen as being relevant to a search. However, by implementing schema code you can pass on – in a format outlined by the search engines themselves – what the information on your page truly means.
Schema was developed by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! with the aim of standardizing the way search engines understand online information. The benefit to business owners, of course, is that one clearly defined implementation strategy applies to all the major search engines.
Why Does Schema Matter?
The additional clarity provided by schema markup is mutually beneficial to search engines and business owners. The goal of every search engine is to provide relevant, helpful, and engaging information to users. Along with online visibility (exceptional information means nothing if it isn't found), the same can be said for business owners.
Let’s use an example: If you are organizing an event, schema means you no longer need to rely on search engines to determine – based solely on the text of a page – that the information on your site is related to an event. Instead, you can directly tell the search engines that, yes, this is an event and it should be displayed for relevant event-related searches…pretty please.
Then, if you happen to be Ticketmaster and your event happens to be a Beyoncé concert, you can tell the search engines and your audience – via schema markup – how well reviewed her shows are. That’s the power of schema in search engine results. The star rating shown below is a result of information outlined via schema markup.
Often, the other sites on a search result page will not have schema implemented. Those that do may find they have a leg up on the competition through improved click-through-rates to pages and, ultimately, an increase in business goal-related actions by users.
I’m a Small Business Owner. Can I Do This Myself?
To get started using schema visit Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. The tool helps you generated your own schema code, and you don’t need to be a developer to use it.
If that sounds interesting, and if you’re looking to get your hands dirty trying it, you might want to look at the complete beginner’s guide to schema.org markup by Search Engine Watch. Google’s recommended implementation method uses JSON-LD (don’t worry if you don’t know what that is.) Helpfully, Search Engine Watch’s guide has a section outlining JSON-LD implementation.
Otherwise, we recommend you work with your internal team or marketing agency to identify and implement schema types that are beneficial for your business. With hundreds of types to choose from, there’s certainly no shortage of ways to make clear what types of information you provide.