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Pat Marcello

Do You Understand Schema.org and Why It’s Important?

Pat Marcello

Microdata is important for your website today, especially if your site is a review site, a music site, a recipe site or an e-commerce site.  Yet, it can be beneficial for any website, depending on the subject of your pages.

Schema.org conventions allow your pages to be precisely described, and that markup language works for all of the major search engines. What could be better than that? The more time you take to create schema markup for your pages, the better your positions in search will be. Period. 

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Schema.org launched on June 2, 2011, by Bing, Google and Yahoo. Since then, Yandex has become involved, as well. According to its founders:

“This site provides a collection of schemas that webmasters can use to markup HTML pages in ways recognized by major search providers, and that can also be used for structured data interoperability (e.g. in JSON). Search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right Web pages.”

There are many schemas that can be used to pinpoint exactly what a page is about. And get this: In a recent Searchmetrics report, “Pimp My Snippet,” though more than a half million domains were scanned, only about 0.3% are actually using microdata markup at all! (That’s 1,500 pages out of 500,000.)

It was also mentioned in the report that Google already shows Schema markups in 36% of results it delivers. So, the few sites that are using it stand to benefit greatly. They most definitely have an edge over you — the competition.

Searchmetrics also reported that pages with Schema markup are ranking an average of four positions higher in search than pages that have no markup at all. Doesn’t it make sense to figure this stuff out?

Yes, yes it does.

So, why aren’t webmasters using it?

My guess is that to your average webmaster, Schema.org markup seems difficult. Am I right? Something new to learn. More to do. Who needs that? We’re already pulled in umpteen directions with copywriting, social media, content production, SEO, and on and on. It never seems to end.

But the truth is…

Schema markup is just NOT that hard.

In fact, if you’re using WordPress and WooCommerce? This markup is done for you automatically. If you don’t have an e-commerce store, you can still get plugins that will create this metadata for you. So, what are you waiting for, especially if you have a site that really lends itself to using it?

Your first step should be to visit http://www.schema.org. Everything is laid out for you there, and though it’s not readily simple to follow, it’s not hard if you put some brain power to it. (Just a little. Honest.)

Plus, don’t worry. Once complete, you can test your work using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. (Yes, it’s the same tool you use to test your authorship markup, and it will pinpoint your errors so that you can fix them.)

schema-1

Google's Structured Data Testing Tool

Some examples

Here are some microdata indicators for you to consider:

  • Itemscope Itemtype: (itemscope) What is your page about? What movie? What product? Which person?

(itemtype) What type of item is being described? Is it the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier? A woman’s blouse? Or Pablo Picasso?

  • Itemprop: Is it a movie trailer? The version of the women’s blouse in blue? Or, is it Picasso’s “Guernica”?

Here’s what a mention of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica would look like in markup:

schema-2

[Pssst… Notice that the microdata is presented within the page’s HTML body, not within the <head> section, as with metadata. (The <title> and meta description.) Your markup points to a specific section of your page (<div>).]

Can you see how microdata helps you to be more specific? Actually, there are other ways that you can pinpoint exactly what your page is about with embedded information. For example, you could embed information about the director of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, its length or its stars.

Other Microdata Uses

Here is a list of commonly used Item types:

  • Creative works: CreativeWork, Book, Movie, MusicRecording, Recipe, TVSeries
  • Embedded non-text objects: AudioObject, ImageObject, VideoObject
  • Event
  • Organization
  • Person
  • Place, LocalBusiness, Restaurant
  • Product, Offer, AggregateOffer
  • Review, AggregateRating

And each type has many different forms of microdata available. You just have to go to Schema.org and click on any one of them. A restaurant, for example, might include paymentAccepted and priceRange. You can be as specific as you’d like to be.

Reviews on your page will show up as stars in search:

schema3

Some business owners — online and off — worry about bad reviews, and are reluctant to ask for them, which is really not prudent.  As Searchmetrics pointed out, more than 60% of reviews that they found where microdata was used are good.

The bottom line

So, here’s the deal. If you have a site that lends itself easily to Schema markup, such as a museum, a local business, a book author or a product offer in an online store or just on a sales page, you really need to figure this stuff out. After all, if you’re interested in SEO (and if you weren’t you wouldn’t be here), it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

Four places higher in search is BOOM! All over.

Author bio:

Pat Marcello is President and SEO Manager at MagnaSites.com, a full-service digital marketing company that serves small- to medium-sized businesses. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Google+ so you don’t miss a thing. She’s waiting to see how excellent YOU can be. Pat’s last article for SEMrush was “Barnacle SEO: Old Ways Made New."

Pat Marcello is President and SEO Manager at MagnaSites.com, a full-service digital marketing company that serves small- to medium-sized businesses. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Google+. Pat’s last article for SEMrush was "Google's Fetch and Render: Why It's Important."

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