What Is Schema, and How Does It Help with SEO?

Feature What Is Schema

Schema Markup is one of the newer forms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It allows you to boost your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) by providing snippets of useful and timely information to potential website visitors.

As part of our SEO guide, we have discussed the importance of thorough keyword analysis and highly-targeted on-page optimisation. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to schema markup.

What is Schema?

Schema is a type of HTML markup that was created by a collaborative team of Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo engineers. It’s an HTML language that provides information to search engines about how certain pieces of information should be presented in search results. You may have heard of “rich snippets” of information displayed in enhanced search results; these are made possible by schema markup.

Related Reading

Developers and website owners can select the correct HTML markup from schema.org and add it to their existing web pages. There are different schema markups for different types of information; for instance, a cinema listings schema markup tells the search engines that the article should rank for “cinema listings” and that the search engine results listing should include times and titles of movies showing at that particular cinema.

Mastering schema markup will help you to provide a better user experience, increase the click-through rate to your website from search results and potentially improve your rankings. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the main uses of schema markup and how to implement it on your website.

To get more SEO help for your website, remember to claim your free marketing review from our expert Ninjas.

Mastering the use of Schema Markup

Implemented correctly, schema markup will boost your rankings and improve your click-through rate. You don’t need specialist developers in order to use schema markup with your existing website code; schema works via HTML – all you’re doing is adding in bits of specific schema.org vocabulary to your HTML data with a little help from Google.

Schema.org makes it easy to search for and identify the right schema markup for your specific data requirement. Simply search for the type of data item you’d like to apply to your website, for instance, “contact details”, and then select the markup that is returned in the search results and follow the instructions provided on how to add it to your website’s HTML.

There are many different types of data markup to choose from, including:

How To Mark Up Your Data

If you are going to be implementing schema data markup yourself, the first thing you need to do is go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Once there you can select a data type, enter the URL of the page you’d like to markup and click “Start Tagging”. Once the page loads in the markup tool you can easily select where you’d like your data items to appear and tag items that you’d like to feature as rich snippets in the search results. Once you’re done, click “Create HTML” and the Structured Data Markup tool will generate your code.

Alternatively, there are a number of other tools you can use to write your schema, including the Schema Markup Generator by our friends at Merkle, plus a number of free plugins for the most common Content Management Systems (CMSs) like WordPress.

Remember: Markup as much data as you can. For instance, if you were writing a book review, you should use schema to highlight the author name, publication date and even the publisher of the book you’re writing about. Make sure to utilise every relevant data item and make the best possible use of your schema markup.

Screenshot of Merkle's Schema Markup Generator.

Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator is really easy to use

Check that the Code Generated by the Structured Markup Tool is Correct

It’s a good idea to paste the generated code into Google’s Structured Markup Tool and check it’s all correct before implementing it on your website. The tool will highlight any broken code and recommend fixes that will help you to get the best results from your webpage.

Screenshot of the IMDB Dark Knight page in the Structured Data Checker.

IMDB’s page for The Dark Knight uses Schema Markup, as shown in Google’s Structured Data Checker

How To Add Schema Markup on Your Website

Open up your CMS (or source code if you don’t have a CMS) and either add the highlighted snippets in the right spots, or simply copy and paste the entire marked-up code in place of the pre-existing page. That’s it!

How To Submit Your Updated Page to Google

Once you’ve implemented the marked-up page on your website and are confident it’s working correctly, request a recrawl of your site so that Google can pick up the schema markup as quickly as possible.

Realistically you shouldn’t expect to see your page ranking better or displaying rich snippets in the search engine results immediately.

However, requesting a site recrawl is the quickest way to make these things happen!

You can use the Google Console Help website to find help and advice on submitting your sitemap to Google and requesting a recrawl in just a few simple steps.

What Next?

Using the above techniques you can markup your data using schema.org and submit your pages to Google for reindexing. If you’re not quite sure where to go next, check out our guides on writing an SEO page title and optimising your on-page content to improve your rankings even further. We’re here to help you every step of the way with your SEO campaign.

Fancy some free advice on improving your SEO results? Exposure Ninja can check your on-page SEO for free! Request your free marketing review from our expert team, who will give you actionable pointers for improving your digital marketing.

Is your digital marketing
underperforming ?

Get free actionable marketing advice

Request a review and our award-winning team will send you a 15-minute video audit of your website and marketing.

Exposure Ninja's Google and TrustPilot review scores