Schema Markup 101: What It Is and Why It Matters

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: February 1st, 2024 | Updated: March 1st, 2024

You’re probably familiar with some of the technical jargon that comes with having a website – HTML, CSS, PHP. But have you heard of schema markup? If not, don’t worry. You’re not alone in this. Schema markup is a rarely discussed web development topic among new businesses, yet it is absolutely crucial for your website’s success. In this article, we will break down what schema markup is and why you need it in simple, beginner-friendly terms.


What Is Schema Markup?

Schema markup, also known as structured data, is code you can add to your web pages. It helps search engines like Google and Bing better understand and display your content in a rich format. For example, a search engine can include the image, rating, ingredients, and cook time directly in the search results of a web page about “birthday cake recipes.” These helpful elements make a page stand out against the thousands of others with online cake recipes.


Benefits of Schema Markup for Websites and SEO

You might be wondering, “So what if search engines can better understand my content?” Here’s why it matters and why your website needs schema markup:


More Relevant Search Traffic

When search engines understand your content, your pages can rank for more relevant search queries, potentially driving more organic traffic to your site. In fact, Google and Rakuten revealed that pages with schema receive 2.7x more organic traffic, and the average session duration is 1.5x longer.


Enhanced Listing in Search Results

As discussed, schema markup allows search engines to display your content in eye-catching listings. For instance, with schema for recipes, videos, products, or businesses, Google and Bing can show images, descriptions, and more in the search results. These rich results make it more likely for users to click and browse through your page. Even Rotten Tomatoes experienced a 25% higher click-through rate for web pages with schema versus those without.


Competitive Edge

Around 50% of websites use some form of schema to boost their search engine rankings, meaning half of all websites have yet to dabble with schema markup. By implementing it for your pages, you gain a competitive edge that makes your site stand out from others in the search results.

Simply put, structuring data with schema markup helps search engines grasp your content as a whole, improving the overall search experience for everyone. It’s a baby step for indexing and a massive leap for rewarding high-quality content.


Types of Schema Markup

As of this writing, schema markup has 797 types and 1,453 schema properties. But wait, please don’t click out! On your website, you only need to use the ones relevant to your content.

The following applies to most websites, likely including yours:


1. Product Markup

Product markup gives search engines more information about what you’re selling, giving users more details on the results page. This information comprises your product’s image, price, star rating, shipping information, return options, availability, and more. If you used Google and came across a product with such readily available and helpful details, wouldn’t you be intrigued? We would!


2. Article Markup

Article markup offers search engines comprehensive details about an article’s content, including its title, publication date, author, and featured image. This markup proves especially beneficial for news articles and blog posts.


3. Local Business Markup

This markup gives search engines thorough insights into your local business, including its name, logo, contact details, locations, operating hours, and other pertinent information. Search engines use this data to generate a local knowledge panel, which appears when users search for a local establishment.


4. Course Markup

Course markup offers search engines specific details about educational courses available from either an institution or an online platform. These details typically include the course title, a short description, the name of the institution or instructor, and other helpful information. Google and Bing can display this information in search results, giving potential learners a quick overview of what to expect if they take the course.


5. Review Markup

Review markup includes a star rating at the bottom of your search result entry. It lets searchers see what others think about your products, services, or business. This type of schema is useful because 99.9% of customers read reviews before spending their money online.


Related: How to Ask for Reviews


Ways to Communicate Schema Markup to Google

You have three options for communicating schema markup. These are coding methods used to format your schema markup code, ensuring it’s machine-readable.

  • Microdata uses HTML attributes to mark up data. It’s easy to implement if you know HTML, but the code is lengthier compared to JSON-LD.
  • JSON-LD is a linked data format that embeds JSON (Javascript Object Notation), a lightweight data-interchange format, in HTML pages.
  • RDFa embeds metadata in XHTML and HTML pages. It has a steep learning curve but is a robust standard that major search engines use.

Whichever you choose, schema markup helps search engines index and display your content in richer formats. But you might be wondering, “What if I don’t know how to code?”


How to Implement Schema Markup

The truth is, you don’t need coding skills to create schema codes. Tools can do most of the work for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing schema markup:

  1. Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2. Choose a data type from the list. For this example, we selected “Articles.”
  3. Copy and paste the web page URL you’re adding a markup to. After which, click “Start Tagging.” The tool will load your page, allowing you to mark it up. Your page will be on the left, while the data items will appear on the right.
  4. Highlight the section on the left (the one you want to mark up). For an article, highlight the title and pick the “Name” option from the pop-up menu. The tool will take the title and position it beside “Name” on the right side. Keep adding more markup properties as you go.
  5. Click “Create HTML” on the screen’s top right corner. You’ll get the code to insert into your page. The format will be in JSON-LD by default, but you can switch to microdata format by clicking the drop-down at the top.
  6. Once you have your code, add it to your web page in the <head> section of its HTML.
  7. Go to Rich Results Test to check your schema markup. If you encounter any errors, you can review and edit your code on the page’s left side.

Once added to your webpage, schema markup creates an enhanced description or rich snippet, which appears in search results.


Still Too Complex? Get Help Implementing Schema Markup

As an SEO agency, PrimeView can communicate the meaning of your webpage in a language that search engines understand, as well as work structured data vocabulary into an effective SEO strategy. Contact us today to talk about how to improve your search result visibility.