Local SEO Schema and How It Helps

Written by: Jason Bayless | July 30, 2015

One recent development in search engine optimization (SEO) is known as schema markup. This optimization method is a powerful one but isn’t often used yet. Once you take the time to understand the concept and basic method of local SEO schema, you’ll be able to boost your search engine results page rankings in no time.

Understanding Schema Markup

Schema markup refers to a type of code that you add to your website to help give more information to search engines. It’s quite similar to rich snippets, so anyone with experience there has a leg up on schema already.

For example, a band might use this markup to have the search engine results page show upcoming concerts. The user would find this information extremely helpful.

Simply put, schema informs a search engine what your data means rather than just repeating it word-for-word. You’re probably already on your way to getting your website indexed in search result pages, but schema markup allows the information to be returned in a new way thanks to the ability to define the data.

How Schema Helps

Schema markup doesn’t require learning a new programming language, so it’s not exclusively for IT departments and programmers. Web pages that display markup will still use HTML for the bulk of the display. What you’re doing is providing additional bits of semantic vocabulary to HTML microdata.

Schema markup is a collaboration between competitors invented to make experiences more user-friendly. When a website uses this markup, a visitor can quickly see on the results page what a website has to offer, where they are located, what their purpose is, what their merchandise costs, and any other relevant information. You might think of it like a generated online business card.

Adding schema markup can help you no matter what kind of content you provide. Data markup exists for:

  • Local businesses
  • Articles
  • Book reviews
  • Movies
  • Products
  • Events
  • Software Programs

Websites that take advantage of schema markup rank better than those that don’t. Currently, a third of results on Google use rich snippets, among which includes schema markup. However, among these, only 0.3 percent actually use schema, according to Searchmetrics. Using markup gives you that much stronger an immediate advantage.

Best Practices

As previously stated, schema markup works for all kinds of content. However, it is especially convenient and most used for additional information in the following situations:

  • Detail events like concerts or conventions
  • Describe an organization
  • Locate a place
  • Info about product

Each information type contains properties you can describe content with. For instance, a book is a creative work according to schema markup, which can be tagged with a “name” for the title, as well as “author,” “isbn” and “illustrator” tags.

Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex all recognize schema markup, though it’s currently unclear how other search engines process it.

Additionally, there is not yet any conclusive evidence that using schema markup explicitly improves your search engine results page rankings directly. It is a very convenient tool that is more likely to encourage clicks, which will obviously provide a better click-through rate. You’ll need to experiment with your markup to gauge the audience reaction.

Considering how simple and easy it is to implement schema markup, it is strange to see that not many businesses have started to take advantage of it yet. It is one of those SEO innovations that is very likely to remain a big part of optimization for a long time to come. With that in mind, it’s important to start becoming familiar with the practice now and experiment to get yourself far ahead of the curve before the competition finally catches on and has to start from square one.