Schema Markup: All You Need to Know and How to Implement It to Boost Local SEO

Today, a random search for the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, of Amazon returns the following result:

Today, a random search for the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, of Amazon returns the following result

A quick local search for the contact number for KFC Customer Service or head office will return the result below:

KFC Customer Service

Try something else, such as the age of the current US president Donald J. Trump; and the search result is a rich snippet with the requested age in large font, a photograph, plus a brief description of the subject – including his family information, net worth and famous quotes to the right.

the age of the current US president Donald J. Trump

How did the search engine put together that information? How did it pick out just the one piece of information you’re looking for instead of returning entire websites containing what is relevant to the search query?

Welcome to the 21st century search engine results pages (SERPs) – where you’re much likely to get a specific answer within the search results rather than a bunch of relevant websites when searching for information.

Welcome to the world of Schema.org

Schema.org (or simply Schema, or Schema markup) is a code (semantic vocabulary) that you can add to your website’s HTML to improve the way search engines like Google and Bing read and represent your site’s content in SERPs.

It is a joint effort; the result of collaboration between the world’s top search engines Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex in 2011 to create a standard vocabulary that helps them (search engines) better understand information on the web and provide searchers with better and more informative results.

As a webmaster, you must implement the Schema markup on your pages to help search engines understand the content on those respective pages and return richer search results to your searchers.

Think about Schema markup, also referred to as structured data or structured data markup, as the language of search engines.

Adding Schema markup to your site’s HTML makes your page(s) display better in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the title of the page.

 

Rich Snippet

Rich results – making your business more discoverable

Sites that have implemented a Schema markup are rewarded with what are known as rich results – the current version of what used to be rich snippets or rich cards in search.

Rich Results
Image source

Rich results are usually a combination of new rich cards and the traditional rich snippets – providing a carousel feature and more image space.

Overall, rich results include featured product information, star ratings, local business information, actions that the searcher might take, as well as information panels on the right-hand side of the display.

When you look at a typical modern SERP for a product query, what you see are review stars, product information and featured answers to questions that people might search – not just the web content alone.

Rich results now equal better listings for local businesses

Based on the structured data technology, Google has created Local Business Listings and Place Actions specifically for Local Businesses. This is the prominent Knowledge Graph card with details about a business that displays when you search for businesses on Google Search or Maps.

created Local Business Listings and Place Actions

You’ll notice that the Local Business listings are much similar to GMB (Google My Business) listing information – which too has lately received quite some important updates.

With the Place Action feature, users can order for products or make reservation directly from search results. They can also see your opening and closing hours, a map directing them to your business location, and more – just like in GMB listings.

How to implement schema markup?

Adding Schema markup to your HTML is equivalent to translating your site’s content into one big answer to the question of what the page is about.

Although it is possible to markup virtually every part of your site, I would recommend that you focus primarily on the parts that will really have a direct impact on the visibility of your business in local search results.

These include:

  1. NAP (Name, address and phone number) of your business
  2. Testimonials and reviews

Once you have figured out what to markup, you need to put the information into Schema Markup code for the respective sections (web pages).

It’s a good idea to add the Schema Markup for your business (or a client’s business) on the homepage first thing. Your homepage acts as the reference point for both users and search engines.

While at it, be sure to use a detailed Schema Markup that describes precisely what type of local business it is.

Consider checking out the long list of local business types at Schema.org to guide you in this process. Ideally you want to select the most specific business type to best define what your business is about.

Next, you want to optimize your contact page (Contact Point in Schema Markup) by adding the structured data, or markup, to it.

Once your homepage and contact point are optimized to the search engines language, your products and/or services pages should be next up.

Here is one great tutorial on how to do Schema markup for your local business to get the very best results. In this guide you find in-depth details on the process of creating your Schema markup, plus the use of Google maps and Wikipedia to create a robust Schema markup.

Schema markup formats: what’s best for structured data

There are different formats available for the Schema Markup code, including:

  • Microdata,
  • JSON-LD, and;
  • RDFa

Google however recommends the use of JSON-LD format for structured data whenever this is possible.

Schema Markup Recommended Format

 

To write the schema codes for your site, you can use any of the 60+ Structured Data generators that actually create the code for you, so your only task is to deploy the written code to your website.

This means you don’t have to be exactly code savvy to add a schema markup to your site’s HTML.

Neil Patel, the famed digital marketer placed among the the top 10 marketers by Forbes, admits not knowing how to code. So, if you don’t too and would like to implement Schema markup on your site then I recommend reading this guide.

A much easier alternative: use the Schema App

Don’t worry too much about creating a Schema markup for your web pages if you are not a very technical person.

While using the many structured data generators will mean that you still have to manually deploy the written code to your site’s HTML. Good news! Schema App does all the heavy lifting for you.

The app automatically generates the code and deploys it to your website using a Shopify, WordPress plugin or Google Tag Manager.

Schema App is equipped with the complete vocabulary for all Schema markup. With this app, all you have to do is enter your information and select SAVE. The rest is automatic.

With the Schema App, you can speak the language of the search engines without ever having to learn the first word of it! It allows you to maintain all your Schema markup in a single place, making it easy to update markups across different locations.

The app also offers additional features including Semantic Analytics, Schema Analysis as well as sub accounts for multiple customers (perfect if you are an agency).

Why you need to implement schema mark-up

Schema markup leads to higher quality traffic for your site and increases its chances of appearing in search, according to Google’s Gary Illyes.

“…Think about any schema.org schema that you could use on your pages. It will help us understand your pages better, and indirectly, it leads to better ranks.” – Gary Illyes.

You’ll also be interested know that other than Google, chatbots and Personal Assistants also use Schema to understand your business. Adding Schema markup on your site therefore means your business will be in tune with these search modalities – resulting in your website being understood better, in addition to getting higher quality traffic and more clicks.

Certainly, you could use some additional streams of inbound traffic from voice, which is widely used to find information about local businesses, and other forms of search; across desktop and mobile devices.

Here are some statistics that show just how rich results from Schema Markup contribute to increased engagement and better click through rates:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes: web pages with Schema markup see up to 25 percent higher click-through rates.
  2. Rakuten: adding markup to pages lead to 3.6-times higher interaction rates and 1.5 percent more time spent on-page.
  3. Food Network: there is 35 percent increase in visits for recipes that are optimized with Schema markup.
  4. Nestle Faz Ben: rich result pages experience up to 82 percent higher click-through rates compared to those that do not have rich results.

In addition to these stats, sources from within Schema App report that implementing the snippet allows customers to achieve not only rich results but also see an increase in the quality of the traffic to their site.

Wrap up

It’s true, you no longer have control over how people interact with your web content; Google does. However, adding Schema Markup to your website presents a unique opportunity for you to regain control of your brand.

Just start by creating content that is relevant and answers the questions your customers are interested in. Then implement Schema on your site to take your business’ visibility to another level.