Local SEO: What is Schema Markup?

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 07, 2016

A search engine result page offers around ten links. Many of these links are simply blue links to sites with a meta description, a full green link, and the blue link. However, some of the results on these pages have pictures, thumbnails of videos, or even stars and ratings. If the search is for a recipe, some of the recipes have calorie counts, cooking times, and a number of reviews.

If you own a website, you may be wondering how to get this kind of information – the pictures, the ratings, etc. – onto your search engine result link. The answer lies in the HTML coding that supports your site. It’s called schema markup, and it’s seriously worth looking into.

Before going on and on about the issue of having to integrate the schema into every page, look at these statistics. That’s quite an empty playing field to enter. Google, in particular, can look at schema and figure out where a result should go in the pages they report for the searched keywords.

Rich snippets are part of schema markup – and many already use one or two rich snippets in their HTML anyway. These are usually the data that search engines will pick up on – the pictures, the ratings, the calorie counts, etc.

The schema allows the search engines to find meaningful data that will help them figure out and understand the purpose of your website. If your site is promoting self-health and keeping the body well through natural means, it shouldn’t necessarily be showing up on one of the first pages when a search on chocolate is done.

Schema is contained in the HTML writing that supports the site. It is easy to add when writing new pages, but with older pages, it might require more work. The rewards of doing so, however, will be reaped. One such tag for HTML schema is rel=author, which adds a picture or thumbnail for a video. These allow your link to stand out on its page, and boy does your link need to stand out if your click through rates (CTR) are going to soar.

CTR will allow the higher rankings without really changing your place on the search engine pages for that particular search. Using schema, you increase your chances of catching a person’s interest and keeping it. If they click the back button and return to the search results, there’s a very low chance they’ll return to your site in the future – unless it wasn’t quite what they wanted at that time.

The HTML tag < div>, without the spaces, allows the specific information you want the search engines to know about your site. Returning to our example a few paragraphs earlier, putting the keywords “essential oils”, “lavender”, and maybe even “water” between the tags would help search engines figure out what to do with your site. The keyword phrase “all natural” may also go there. Avoiding the words “director”, “wicked”, and “movie” in this area can help prevent the search engine feelers from misplacing your site’s link in a search about a movie adaptation of a Broadway play.

The ideas placed in the schema are important. There are subcategories that can be placed there and can help the search engines, as mentioned above. There are ways to create customized subcategories for the recognized schema categories, but if the site is a very general site, there’s no need to go that far for every page.

Schema, over all, is important to your site. Adding it in new pages and adding to old pages will pay off over time.