What Is Schema? Beginner’s Guide to Structured Data

Rich Snippets are proven to help click-through rate in organic search results. In our beginners guide, you will learn what schema markup is and how to use schema markup in SEO.

Schema Markup | Kanuka Digital

What is Schema Markup

Schema markup, otherwise known as structured data, is the language of search engines, using a unique semantic vocabulary. 

This code is used to clearly let search engines know what your content is to better understand it. As a result, this helps to provide users with better, more accurate information in the rich snippets – we will explain the different types of search results later.

Below is an example of schema markup:

SERP with Schema Markup | Kanuka Digital

Schema Tells Search Engines What Data Means

Google defines structured data as:

“A standardised format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. For example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on”.

Remember: this is a common project between Google, Bing and Yahoo! so when you add schema to a site, you also optimise it for Bing & Yahoo!

Your website content gets indexed and returned in search results. But, by using schema markup, some of that content gets indexed and returned differently.

For example, if your page is about how to bake banana bread, using a recipe schema would ensure your page shows higher when people search for ‘banana bread recipe’.

Related: Schema markup is a ranking factor, learn how long will it take for your website to rank on Google.

What Types of Schema Markups Are There?

Whilst the list of markups change over time, here are the 10 most common schema markups that are used.

1. Organisation Schema Markup

Organisation schema markup provides users with the essential information about your organisation into a knowledge panel in the right of the search results.

This knowledge panel will appear when a search query includes your brand name. It will look something like this:

Organisation Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

Below are a list of the benefits of using Organisation Schema Markup:

2. Person Market Schema Markup

The Person Market Schema shows information about an individual, such as their name, birthday, family members, education.

This schema’s aim is to deliver the answer that you’re looking for, without needing to click through to another website.

Person Market Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

3. Local Business Schema Markup

The local business schema makes it easy for Google to display your key business information, such as reviews, business addresses, opening hours and phone numbers.

Within the local business schema markup, you can add an action schema with your result, such as “Book an appointment.”

Local Business Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

4. Product & Offer Schema Markup

Product & Offer Schema Markup allows shoppers to see your key product information. If you’re an eCommerce company, you will significantly benefit by adding the product schema to your product pages.

Product & Offer Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

5. Breadcrumbs Markup

Breadcrumbs Markup helps search engines and users to understand your website’s architecture.

It can help reduce how often users bounce back to the search results by encouraging them to navigate through more pages of your website.

Breadcrumbs Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

6. Article Schema Markup

Adding Article Schema Markup to your blog, news and article pages can enhance your appearance in SERPs. Your page may be eligible for different features depending on how you code your page:

Article Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

7. Video Schema Markup

While search engines try to automatically understand details about your video, you can explicitly provide information by marking up your video with VideoObject. This information can include the description, thumbnail URL, upload date and duration. 

Videos can appear in Google SERPs, video search results, Google Images and Google Discover.

Video Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

8. Event Schema Markup

The Event Schema Markup makes it easier for people to discover and attend events through SERPs and Google Maps.

Benefits of using this markup include:

Event Schema Markup | Kanuka Digital

9. Recipe Schema Markup

Recipe Schema Markup helps users to find your recipe content by telling search engines about your recipe with structured data. 

Information such as ratings, cooking and preparation times and nutrition information, helps search engines to better understand your recipe. This  way, they can present this information to users in interesting ways. Recipes can appear in SERPs and Google Images.

Recipe Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

10. Rating/Review Schema Markup

Rating/Review Schema Markup lets searchers know that you have happy customers. When users can see, directly in the SERPs, that your products or services have many good reviews, you will look more desirable. This  is because people tend to trust the opinions of others that have purchased from your business, in turn, leading to more sales.

Rating/Review Schema Markup Example | Kanuka Digital

Fact: “Schema Markup was invented for users; search engines exist for users to gain the information they need. Schema markup does exactly that.” – Neil Patel

What Are RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD?

RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD are languages of code that can be added to HTML to embed metadata (such as schema) on a web document. 

Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes (RDFa)

RDFa (Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes) is a form of code that can be added to any HTML, XHTML and XML-based document. 

Attributes of RDFa’s include:

Microdata

Similar to RDFa, Microdata attributes include the following: 

Javascript Object Notation for Linked Objects (JSON-LD)

JSON-LD (Javascript Object Notation for Linked Objects) is one of the easiest ways for beginners to implement schema markup. This is because it can be implemented by pasting directly in the <head> or <body> tag of a web document. 

The notation uses “@context” and “@type” attributes to specify the vocabulary.

Examples 

Below are basic examples of how the “Book” markup would look on a webpage using JSON-LD:

With JSON-LD markup: 

JSON-LD Example | Kanuka Digital

Without JSON-LD markup:

Code Without JSON-LD | Kanuka Digital
Remember: You can’t mix & match the formats – you pick one for your site and stick to it. Although Google prefers JSON-LD, your site won’t be punished for using another format.

How to use Schema Markup for SEO

Now, let’s talk about how to use schema markup. Your goal is to look better, rank better, and do better in the SERPs.

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper | Kanuka Digital
Google’s Structured Data Helper | Kanuka Digital
Google’s Structured Data Helper | Kanuka Digital

When you select “Name,” the tool adds it to “Data Items” on the right.

Next, go into your CMS (or source code if you’re not using a CMS) and add the highlighted snippets in the correct areas. Use the yellow markers on the side scrollbar to locate the schema markup code.

Discover what your page will look like with the added markup using the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Schema Generators

If you are ready to start adding schema to your site, here are some of the best free schema generator tools online that you can try out:

  1. Google Structured Data Markup Helper 
  2. Microdata Generator.com 
  3. Hall Analysis schema markup generator 
  4. Merkle Schema Markup Generator 
Important: We use extensions that allow us to add at least the basic markups on a page. For example, on Magento, it’s often Amasty and on WordPress, Yoast offers this function too. If the CMS allows the use of extensions/plugins, it’s easier to do it this way. Google Tag Manager also allows you to implement schema.

Schema Testing Tools

If you want to check that you’re doing it right, there are many helpful schema testing tools available. These tools comb your site and alert you of any misuse of the markup language. 

  1. Schema Markup Validator – After you’ve added schema to your HTML, you can test the markups with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
  2. Semrush Site Audit Tool – checks for markups and will tell you what percentage of your website uses Schema.

Using Google Search Console For Schema Errors

You can also use Google Search Console to easily spot errors in your schema by following these steps:

Step 1: Log in to Google Search Console and click on Search Appearance, then click Structured Data.

Step 2: See if any errors are mentioned at the top of the report.

Step 3: If you have errors, click on the error box to view the pages with errors for that specific schema type.

Step 4: Click on a page URL to expand the page details. Then, click the ‘Test live data’ button to open the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Step 5: In the Structured Data Testing Tool, you can click on the individual markup to expand to view its elements and any errors.

Structured Data and Semantic Search: Why Is Schema so important?

The main reason for structuring your data is to have better communication with search engines. When search engines are able to understand your web page on a deeper level, it serves better results to searchers. 

Items such as rich cards, rich snippets and the knowledge graph appear on SERPs after obtaining information from structured data.

How Does Schema Help Search engines?

Your content tells search engines what is on your site, whereas schema helps to inform them about what the content means. This is because the markup language informs search engines of the relationships between the concepts and entities in your web page. 

Does Schema Make You Rank Better?

This is a question SEO specialists are inevitably always asking. There is no evidence that microdata has a direct impact on organic search rankings. However, rich snippets allow your website to have more visibility on the SERPs and have proven to help with click-through rate. 

So, although you may not see a direct boost in your page’s organic ranking from adding schema, you could see more traffic from search, which is what you’re ultimately aiming for. 

Benefits of Structured Data

Google states that correctly structured data can enhance your appearance in search results. For example, with structured reviews, Google shows recipes with the highest ratings at the top of their results.

For SEO and marketers, this means the more structured markups, the better. Taking advantage of this trend by implementing structured data is being referred to as “semantic SEO.”

Final Thoughts

Schema markup is an SEO technique that will likely be with us for a while. So now is the best time to learn and implement the relevant microdata to improve your search results. Doing so straight away will put you ahead of the curve, giving you an advantage on the competition.

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