What is Schema and Structured Data?


Structured data and schema
is code written in a structured format that it makes it easy for search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing and IOT devices to decipher and interpret.

Once this code is comprehended, search engines use it to show results in a formatted manner. For example; suppose you have a food blog. Adding structured recipe data to a recipe can alter your search engine results, while making it much “richer” in terms of the content that is displayed.

This is why such results are popularly known as ‘rich snippets’ and this is how a rich snippet appears:

In this example, along with the page name, the URL and the brief explanation of the search result, the time needed to cook the absolute best ever lasagna is also mentioned. You can also see the number of calories the lasagna contains. All of this additional information has been made possible through structured data.

If you want to get such a rich snippet for your webpage, then you’ll have to add structured data to your website. Once deployed appropriately, search engines use the added structured data to understand the contents of your webpage. Consequently, you will get an improved arrangement in the search results through the use of the rich snippets.

What is Schema?

Schema, also known as Schema Markup, is a code or semantic terminology that you include on your digital properties to facilitate the search engines in providing more specific information for your customers.Let’s take a look at some examples to understand what schema markup is all about and how it can help you in improving your search engine real estate.

schema business example

In the above example, you will notice that the business is listed with basic information obtained through the crawling of the site which includes the meta description and is slightly enhanced with site links that Google was able to find.

knowledge graph card

Notice now in this example that AXO Digital gets more screen real estate through it’s knowledge graph card. This was brought to life by adding the Organization Schema throughout the site. This code helped Google to verify our NAP and match up our maps listing to additional information from the schema. As you can see we have a little work to do on getting our clients to send in some reviews 🙂

Types of Schema

Schema can be primarily categorized into two indispensable types: Creative Work and Product Schema. Lets jump in and go through some of the most commonly used.

1. Creative Work

The first main category includes the most general type of creative work. It includes items that have been created by someone or something. Apart from some of the items listed below, you’ll also find goods for monuments, games, discussions, software apps, visual representations and more. But, most of these goods lack a rich presentation with regards to search engines, hence, they are less valuable. However, as stated above, if your website has items from the following then make sure to apply schema markup:

  • Articles
    An article can be a unique piece or part of an analytical document. It is also possible to distinguish between a bulletin article, a methodical article, and a blog article.
  • Books
    Whether you have a book in paper format or a digital version, you can markup every kind of literary piece, from the writer’s credentials to the awards it secured.
  • Courses
    If you plan to offer courses in future, then schema can be of great help. Presently, Google is piloting small-scale experiments with selected applicants to understand schema markup performance for courses.
  • Music
    Music is another property that can be marked up by Schema. In fact, there are numerous Schema options of interest for music, for example, MusicRecording, MusicPlaylist, and MusicComposition.
  • Recipes
    Adding schema to the recipes on your food blog or cooking webpage can get your recipes highlighted directly in search results. In fact, as mentioned in the example above, your recipes can start garnering additional search engine real estate.
  • TV Shows & Movies
    You can also apply the structured data approach to TV shows and Movies as well. Schema markup will allow users searching for movies return a rich result with poster art, reviews, actors’ information, and also the possibility of ordering tickets for a show.
  • Videos
    Videos aren’t left behind when it comes to schema markup. In fact, Google is working on ground-breaking methods to get videos in the search results, for example, with AMP. Through this, Google will include your videos in Top Stories entries and AMP carousels.

2. Product 

The second significant type of Schema is Product and includes the following main elements:

  • Events
    If you happen to own an event company, then your thirst for effective search engine optimization can be quenched by marking up your event entries with the suitable Event Schema. Consequently, it will lead search engines to highlight your events.
  • Companies and Organizations
    Whether you own an ecommerce or content site, you can benefit from an accurate business and organization schema. This also can help to solidify your NAP and benefit your local search engine optimization efforts. Properly deployed schema markup will also help you get listed with a Knowledge Chart, or other rich entries in the search engines.
  • Products
    Similar to the business schema, it is vital to mark up your products as well. The placement of Product Schema can enrich your product listings with the supplementary data needed to generate rich snippets in SERPs.

Visualize how amazing it would be to obtain search results with additional information, for example, pricing, accessibility, and reviews! If you sell products, then Product Schema should be a significant aspect of your structured data approach.

  • Reviews
    Reviews and rankings also have a substantial impact on search results. Whether you are a service provider, run an online business, or manage sales online, you definitely should focus on user reviews and feedback to attract more customers and exhibit how reliable your services are.

Why you should use Schema: The link between Schema and SEO

Applying schema for the first time may seem to be a daunting task. However, adding structured data and schema is indispensable for making your business stand out and garnering more search engine real estate.

Here’s why you should give schema a chance:

  • While adding structured data correctly may not provide you superior rankings straightaway, it will indirectly improve your website’s search results.
  • Improved listings offer prospects an expedient method to cherry-pick a result from the list of webpages.
  • Improving your webpage through schema can make you a genuine contender for prospective consumers.
  • Schema can also help you diminish the bounce rate by improving the context of your listing.
  • As the world of structured data is evolving at present, your business can get a hands-on chance to get a leading edge over your counterparts. For instance, if you are the owner of a restaurant who successfully marks up the 300 five-star rankings, you are at an advantage from your rivals who are not marking up their rankings and reviews.
  • Schema can help you get into the spotlight as Google identifies all this data to show directly on the SERPs. This also adds horsepower to your search engine optimization efforts

Tricks to Appear in the Popular Google Answer Box and optimize for voice search

  • Start with your keyword research and recognize those queries that indirectly or overtly are asking a question.
  • Find queries that already use the answer box. If they are already there and owned by your competitors, then it means you can easily catapult them by offering a more properly formatted, more exact, more comprehensive, or higher-ranking response.
  • Even if you do not hold a first position ranking, it is okay. While having a numero uno position can help, it is not mandatory as Google will practically extract from any first-page result.
  • The language and format are of critical importance when making it to the Google Answer Box. As a result, match the list, table format or paragraph, and use the rational response to the search words in your title, description, tag, and section header.
  • Remember, precision is the key. Google is inclined towards robust, more precise answers.
  • Follow instructions for word count to make compelling statements and increase CTR

Once applied correctly, schema can work wonders for your website. Search engines are constantly coming up with new ways of displaying search results and the majority of these new ways use schema data to do so. In the world of the future, you cannot escape the use of structured data. Make structured data and schema an indispensable part of your marketing efforts to get an edge over your competition.

A Beginner’s Guide to Local Listings Management

A Local Listing, also known as NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data or Business Citation, is your businesses public profile which includes all of your important business information. For instance, name, location, contact information, web address, working hours, promotions,  and more. It acts as an online entranceway for customers to find your local business, and is the conduit for your business to be found across every internet directory in our digital ecosystem.

Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Local Listings Management