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Schema Markup: What It Is and Why It Matters

Updated on December 14, 2021

5 Min Read
schema markup

Schema markup and structured data are current “buzzwords” in the SEO industry – and for good reason. The most talented SEOs all over the world are taking advantage of structured data because it’s proven to be extremely effective.

In this post, we’ll cover what Schema markup is and how you can use it to increase the click-through rate and drive more organic traffic to your websites.

What Is Schema Markup?

Schema.org is the product of a collaboration between multiple search engines working to make it easier for webmasters to provide information about their websites, posts, and pages to search engines in order to make it easier for them to understand your content.

Adding Schema Markup to your site’s HTML can also make your page eligible for a number of different rich snippet types – this is something we’ll cover in more detail later on in this post.

Types of Schema Markup

Now that we’ve covered exactly what Schema markup is, you might be wondering – what type of content is there actually structured data for?

Some of the most commonly-recognized available types include:

  • Articles
  • Local businesses
  • Restaurants
  • TV episodes and ratings
  • Book reviews
  • Movies
  • Software applications
  • Events
  • Products

But, here’s the up-to-date, official & complete list of all the available Schema Markup types. There are literally hundreds to choose from so rest assured, the chances are that if you have a certain type of data on your site that is useful to searchers in some way, there will be an associated itemscope and itemtype.

What Are RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD?

RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD are all languages of code that can be added to HTML in order to embed structured data (such as Schema markup) on a webpage.

JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Objects – JSON-LD

JSON-LD stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Objects and is widely accepted to be the recommended language for structured data markup. JSON-LD can be implemented by pasting directly in the <head> or <body> tag of a webpage, which is a big part of why it is considered the best way to implement Schema.

Google officially recommends using JSON-LD markup over any other wherever possible:

json ld markup

How to Generate Schema for Your HTML?

There are a number of ways to add structured data to your website. Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress, which we use at ScaleMath and Cloudways also uses to power the blog you’re reading this very article on and so would obviously be our first recommendation – it’s really simple.

As was covered by Shahroze in Cloudways’ Rank Math review, the plugin makes it extremely easy to add structured data markup (Schema) to posts & pages on your WordPress website.

rank math rich snippet

And in addition to this, they’ve now also introduced Gutenberg blocks to make it even easier to add HowTo and FAQ Schema to posts and pages so you really never need to tinker with HTML and hope for the best.

Schema Testing Tools

Here the following tools that you can use to validate your schema markups.

Schema Markup Validator

If you don’t use WordPress and aren’t able to use Rank Math, any typos or slight discrepancies would result in your site not being eligible for winning the rich snippet which is inevitably the end goal of adding structured data to your website.

This can easily be done using a number of tools:

Both tools will show you whether your website is eligible for rich results – here are two examples of the Schema markup implementation handled correctly:

google rich testing tool

Here’s the result of Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool.

google rich testing tool result

The main purpose of using structured data is to better communicate to search engines what your page is about. This is because when Google is able to understand entities and content, it can serve the best possible results to searchers.

The added benefit is that your site becomes eligible for rich results – including rich cards, rich snippets, the knowledge graph and more – which have been proven to increase click-through rates (a somewhat logical deduction given that they all make your website and pages occupy a larger amount of space on searcher’s screen so they are by nature more likely to click on your results than on another result that occupies less space, in general).

Does Schema Help You Rank?

This is the burning question. Does using Schema markup actually help you rank?

To date, there are no studies to show that making use of structured data actually helps your site rank. That being said, while they don’t help your site rank, as mentioned above there have been studies that have shown that rich results increase organic click-through rates (CTRs) meaning that you will likely see an increase in traffic from search which is always the desired end result anyway.

What Are The Benefits of Structured Data?

Winning rich snippets is beneficial as it helps increase your website’s overall visibility in search (occupying additional real estate in search engine results pages) and sometimes – such as in the case of FAQ Schema – providing users with an additional method of interaction.

By design – a page eligible for the FAQ rich results gets additional space below the regular search snippet in the form of FAQ tabs added using in-page markup. As you’d expect, the additional space in Google search results tends to equate to more clicks to your site, consequently a better click-through rate.

Beyond this, using structured data can also make your site eligible for an action that is made available in the Google Assistant which can help your site become the source of information when people use voice search to ask questions…

Start Taking Advantage of Schema

Hopefully, any fears that you might have had when you heard the word “Schema” or “Structured Data” have been put to rest.

Schema is much easier to apply than it seems and it’s a best practice that you need to incorporate into your webpages.

The work may seem tedious. But given time and effort, you’ll be certain to reap the benefits from your labor.

I hope this guide clarified any questions or concerns you had whenever you heard the terms “Schema markup” or Structured Data” thrown around. Thanks to powerful content management systems like WordPress (and plugins like Rank Math, incorporating Schema on your webpages is far less tedious than it used to be.

The easiest way to put this to use right away is to spend some time going through your existing content and seeing if there are any places where you could potentially add Schema to make it easier for search engines to understand your content and potentially make your site eligible for rich search results.

If you have any questions about structured data or Schema markups that weren’t covered in this post, feel free to leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post contributed by Alex Panagis from ScaleMath.

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Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at [email protected]

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