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Boost your search results with schema markup. Understand what it is and how to use it to make your webpages stand out.

Schema.org is a collection of vocabulary (or schemas) used to apply structured data markup to web pages and content. Correctly applying schema can improve SEO outcomes through rich snippets.

Structured data markup is translated by platforms such as Google and Microsoft to provide enhanced rich results (or rich snippets) in search engine results pages or emails. For example, you can markup your ecommerce product pages with variants schema to help Google understand product variations.

Schema.org is an independent project that has helped establish structured data consistency across the internet. It began collaborating with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex back in 2011.

The Schema vocabulary can be applied to pages through encodings such as RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD. JSON-LD schema is preferred by Google as it is the easiest to apply and maintain.

Does Schema Markup Improve Your Search Rankings?

Schema is not a ranking factor.

However, your webpage becomes eligible for rich snippets in SERPs only when you use schema markup. This can enhance your search visibility and increase CTR on your webpage from search results.

Schema can also be used to build a knowledge graph of entities and topics. Using semantic markup in this way aligns your website with how AI algorithms categorize entities, assisting search engines in understanding your website and content.

The information provided by structured data can provide context to an otherwise ambiguous webpage. It can also help you clarify entities with multiple potential meanings.

According to Schema.org:

“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.”

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This means that search engines should have additional information to help them figure out what the webpage is about.

You can even link your entities directly to sites like Wikipedia or Google’s knowledge graph to build explicit connections. Using Schema this way can have positive SEO results, according to Martha van Berkel, CEO of Schema App:

“At Schema App, we’ve tested how entity linking can impact SEO. We found that disambiguating entities like places resulted in pages performing better on [near me] and other location-based search queries.

Our experiments also showed that entity linking can help pages show up for more relevant non-branded search queries, increasing click-through rates to the pages.

Here’s an example of entity linking. If your page talks about “Paris”, it can be confusing to search engines because there are several cities in the world named Paris.

If you are talking about the city of Paris in Ontario, Canada, you can use the sameAs property to link the Paris entity on your site to the known Paris, Ontario entity on Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Google’s Knowledge Graph.”

By helping search engines understand content, you are assisting them in saving resources (especially important when you have a large website with millions of pages) and increasing the chances for your content to be interpreted properly and ranked well. While this may not be a ranking factor directly, Schema helps your SEO efforts by giving search engines the best chance of interpreting your content correctly, giving users the best chance of discovering it.

What Is Schema Markup Used For?

Listed above are some of the most popular uses of schema, which are supported by Google and other search engines.

You may have an object type that has a schema.org definition but is not supported by search engines.

In such cases, it is advised to implement them, as search engines may start supporting them in the future, and you may benefit from them as you already have that implementation.

Types Of Schema Encoding: JSON-LD, Microdata, & RDFa

There are three primary formats for encoding schema markup:

  • JSON-LD.
  • Microdata.
  • RDFa.

Google recommends JSON-LD as the preferred format for structured data. Microdata is still supported, but JSON-LD schema is recommended.

In certain circumstances, it isn’t possible to implement JSON-LD schema due to website technical infrastructure limitations such as old content management systems). In these cases, the only option is to markup HTML via Microdata or RDFa.

You can now mix JSON-LD and Microdata formats by matching the @id attribute of JSON-LD schema with the itemid attribute of Microdata schema. This approach helps reduce the HTML size of your pages.

For example, in a FAQ section with extensive text, you can use Microdata for the content and JSON-LD for the structured data without duplicating the text, thus avoiding an increase in page size. We will dive deeper into this below in the article when discussing each type in detail.

1. JSON-LD Schema Format

JSON-LD encodes data using JSON, making it easy to integrate structured data into web pages. JSON-LD allows connecting different schema types using a graph with @ids, improving data integration and reducing redundancy.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you own a store that sells high-quality routers. If you were to look at the source code of your homepage, you would likely see something like this:

<div>
<h1>TechHaven</h1>
<h2>The best routers you’ll find online!</h2>
<p>Address:</p>
<p>459 Humpback Road</p>
<p>Rialto, Ca</p>
<p>Tel: 909 574 3903</p>
<p><a href="http://www.techhaven.com/menu">Click here to view our best routers!</a></p>
<p>We’re open: </p>
<p>Mon-Sat 8am - 10:30pm</p>
<p>Sun: 2pm - 8pm</p>
</div>

Once you dive into the code, you’ll want to find the portion of your webpage that discusses what your business offers. In this example, that data can be found between the two <div> tags.

The following JSON-LD formatted text will markup the information within that HTML fragment on your webpage, which you may want to include in your webpage’s <head> section.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "https://schema.org",
  "@type": "Store",
  "name": "TechHaven",
  "description": "The best routers you’ll find online!",
  "address": {
      "@type": "PostalAddress",
      "streetAddress": "459 Humpback Road",
      "addressLocality": "Rialto",
      "addressRegion": "CA",
      "postalCode": "92376",
      "addressCountry": "USA"
   },
  "telephone": "+19095743903",
  "url": "http://www.techhaven.com/menu",
  "openingHoursSpecification": 
    [
       {
          "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
          "dayOfWeek": 
             [
             "Monday",
             "Tuesday",
             "Wednesday",
             "Thursday",
             "Friday",
             "Saturday"
             ],
          "opens": "08:00",
          "closes": "22:30"
       },
       {
          "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
          "dayOfWeek": "Sunday",
          "opens": "14:00",
          "closes": "20:00"
       }
    ]
}
</script>

This snippet of code defines your business as a store via the attribute"@type": "Store".

Then, it details its location, contact information, hours of operation from Monday to Saturday, and different operational hours for Sunday.

By structuring your webpage data this way, you provide critical information directly to search engines, which can improve how they index and display your site in search results. Just like adding tags in the initial HTML, inserting this JSON-LD script tells search engines specific aspects of your business.

Let’s review another example of WebPage schema connected with Organization and Author schemas via @id. JSON-LD is the format Google recommends and other search engines because it’s extremely flexible, and this is a great example.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "@context": "https://schema.org",
 "@graph": [
  {
    "@id": "https://www.example.com/#website",
    "@type": "WebSite",
    "name": "Example Website",
    "url": "https://www.example.com",
    "publisher": {
         "@id": "https://www.example.com/#organization"
    }
 },
 {
    "@id": "https://www.example.com/#organization",
    "@type": "Organization",
    "name": "Example Company",
    "alternateName": "Example Co.",
    "legalName": "Example Company Inc.",
    "slogan": "Innovation at its best",
    "foundingDate": "2000-01-01",
    "numberOfEmployees": 200,
    "url": "https://www.example.com",
    "logo": "https://www.example.com/logo.png",
    "contactPoint": {
    "@type": "ContactPoint",
       "telephone": "+1-800-555-1212",
       "contactType": "Customer Service",
       "areaServed": "US",
       "availableLanguage": "English"
      },
    "founder": {
        "@id": "https://www.example.com/founder/jane-smith/#founder"
      },
    "sameAs": [
         "https://www.facebook.com/example",
         "https://www.twitter.com/example",
        "https://www.linkedin.com/company/example"
      ]
 },
 {
     "@id": "https://www.example.com/sample-page/#webpage",
     "@type": "WebPage",
     "url": "https://www.example.com/about",
     "name": "About Us",
     "description": "This is the About Us page for Example Company.",
     "isPartOf": {
        "@id": "https://www.example.com/#website"
      },
     "publisher": {
        "@id": "https://www.example.com/#organization"
     }
 },
{
     "@id": "https://www.example.com/sample-page/#newsarticle",
     "@type": "NewsArticle",
     "headline": "Example News Headline",
     "datePublished": "2024-05-10T10:00:40+00:00",
     "dateModified": "2024-05-10T11:00:40+00:00",
     "wordCount": 180,
     "description": "This is an example news article.",
     "articleBody": "This is the full content of the example news article. It provides detailed information about the news event or topic covered in the article.",
     "author": {
        "@id": "https://www.example.com/authors/john-doe/#author"



In the example:

  • Website links to the organization as the publisher with @id.
  • The organization is described with detailed properties.
  • WebPage links to the WebSite with isPartOf.
  • NewsArticle links to the WebPage with isPartOf, and back to the WebPage with mainEntityOfPage, and includes the author property via @id.

You can see how graph nodes are linked to each other using the"@id"attribute. This way, we inform Google that it is a webpage published by the publisher described in the schema.

The use of hashes (#) for IDs is optional. You should only ensure that different schema types don’t have the same ID by accident. Adding custom hashes (#) can be helpful, as it provides an extra layer of insurance that they will not be repeated.


 

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