One of the most powerful but least used forms of SEO available is called Structured Data Markup (or Schema Markup). Schema Markup is a type of semantic code that you put on your website pages and posts to to tell the search engines exactly what your content is about. It is also used to return more informative results for users in the form of rich snippets.
Here’s an example of a search result that uses Schema Markup:
The markup has told the search engine that this page is a recipe. The search engine responds by showing a picture of the food, a star rating, the time it takes to prepare and the number of calories it contains. For the user, this is extremely helpful.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup was first collaborated on back in 2011 between Google, Bing & Yahoo and has been created with users in mind, just like a search engine. Search engines are used to display results based on a user’s search criteria, and Schema Markup provides that extra bit of information for the user to find what they’re looking for.
According to schema.org there are hundreds of content types that can be used for data markup. Some popular ones include:
- Job Postings
- Local Businesses
The goal of the markup has been put very simply as this:
Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means—”Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user. – schema.org.
What about SEO?
There is no evidence that schema markup has a direct effect on organic searches however, rich snippets do make your webpages stand out more in the search results and provide greater information. This improved source of information and design has been believed to improve click-through rates and conversions.
According to one study, only one-third of Google’s search results use schema markup. That means there are millions of websites missing out on a huge source of SEO potential. If you use schema markup, you’ll easily have a boost on SEO above much of your competition.
Case Study: Tempus Recruitment
Tempus Recruitment required their own job board, providing all sorts of information to potential candidates including salary range, location, benefits, contract type and industry. Without schema markup added to the job pages, these jobs would be lost into the general SERPs. Now they appear in Google Jobs with all this information available to candidates, before they’ve clicked onto the website.