Why Schema is important for SEO

Why Schema is Important for SEO

Schema markup and structured data can boost your search visibility and site features, benefiting users before they even land on your site. Understanding why schema is vital for SEO will support your current and future marketing strategies.

What is Schema Markup?

Schema markup or structured data is code you add to your website pages to help search engines, like Google, better understand your content.

Currently, Google recognises 35 types of schema. This doesn’t mean you should use all 35 on your website. The value of schema is that it adds relevant context to your pages, so only add the relevant schema to your content.

With 35 different schema types, you can enhance so many areas of your digital presence, from local visibility to reviews and product schema, which is why schema is important for SEO.

Enhance SERPS with Schema

Using schema can enhance a website’s online visibility in search engine results. Including specific elements into your schema, such as ratings, images, price ranges, and reviews, allows search engines to create informative, rich snippets.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets or rich results for Google’s glossary are ‘an enhanced result in Google search with extra visual or interactive features.’ The most common rich snippets include reviews, recipes, events, and short Q&As.

At ROAR, we implemented a Q&A Schema for a client and saw a 6% increase in search visibility across the keywords supported by the Q&A Schema. With a featured snippet, rankings increased from eighth to first.

6% search visibility increase on keywords supported by Schema

Having featured snippets at the top of results pages has other benefits. One of these benefits is that your answer will be used for voice search results. With the ever-growing use of Siri, Alexa, and Google at home, on the move, and in the office, search engines use the result that appears at the top of search results and, where possible, the featured snippet.

The downside of featured snippets is that they often answer the question well enough for users to avoid clicking through to your site. This means they’re a no-click user; however, featured snippets can be significant regarding brand awareness. They help build your brand up to potential customers who may return to your site as they move through the sales funnel.

Click Through Rate

The click-through rate or CTR for organic traffic can vary drastically based on rankings. By using schema to help support and boost your search rankings, you also increase your CTR. SEMRush has broken down the organic CTR based on ranking positions, and the top 3 positions get over 50% of all organic traffic.

 

When Should I Use Schema Markup?

The answer to this question comes twofold.

The first point is that if you’re creating and putting out valuable content that answers questions but is just missing out on ranking in the top spot, you should use schema to support the content and boost its rankings.

However, if there’s one thing we know about search engines, it’s that they take no prisoners regarding their algorithm policies. If your site is currently breaking any policies regarding spammy, AI, or low-quality content, don’t expect schema to fix your rankings. It would be like putting a plaster on a broken bone.

The second point is that SEO priorities aren’t a flat line; there are foundational issues that must be resolved before anything else is considered. Schema lies at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s not a critical ranking factor, and your website pages and content can rank highly or even number one without schema (if every other aspect of your SEO is done correctly). But it’s always a great addition for sites that need a boost after a longer period or sites that are in the maintenance phase instead of those that need major work.

 

Google Accepted Schema

While there are 35 different types of schema markup, there are a few that you should use regardless of your industry. The top 3 types of schema we recommend for every business are local business, breadcrumbs and FAQ schema.

Local Business Schema

Local business schema goes hand in hand with your local SEO efforts. With this schema running on your site, your business details, including opening hours, ratings, locations, and actions, are displayed in the Google Knowledge panel and Google Maps.

This is great, especially for businesses operating locally or in areas with much tourism and footfall. This gives your business another push for people searching ‘near me’ or with the local area in the search.

Check out this video from our YouTube Channel covering Local Business Schema at a more granular level.

Breadcrumb

The breadcrumb schema indicates the page’s position within the site’s hierarchy. This can help users explore and navigate the site effectively.

Pages can have a single breadcrumb trail or multiple.

For example, if you have a site specialising in history, a user may look for content about Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt.

The primary breadcrumb trail:

Ancient Egypt > Pharaohs

The secondary trail:

Monarchy > Pharaohs

Both trails take the user to the same place, and the breadcrumb schema helps search engines better understand your site’s organisation and internal structure.

FAQ

This is ideal for FAQ Pages within your website, but if you have blogs that state and answer various questions, you can use FAQ Schema. This kind of schema gives Google and other search engines the further ammunition they need to award your website the featured snippet spot right at the top of search engines.

How schema can support your website visibility

Now that we understand the schema and how it works alongside Google’s search engine, let’s explore the factors that support your website’s visibility.

Build context

We generally use a schema in any of its forms to build up the context around the information you’re providing and around your business to support search engines’ knowledge and understanding. Having an improved understanding of your site’s context allows search engines to rank your content more accurately, helping your site to rank in the areas most suited.

Competitive Edge on Keywords

There are several ways to check your keywords. Some keywords bring up local results, while others include featured snippets or products.

If you’re using an advanced SEO tool, like SEMRush or Ahrefs, you can filter to see which advanced search results features individual keywords appear for. Otherwise, you can use an incognito window, search your keywords, and see if any advanced results appear.

Featured snippets, particularly, take up quite a bit of real estate at the top of the search results page, so if you can secure one of those, users are guaranteed to see your answer and are also more likely to choose your site to click on.

Support the Knowledge Graph and Semantic Search

A knowledge graph is a semantic network of entities and highlights their relationship. The best way to simplify this is to imagine a mindmap of all the connections across your site.

Semantic vocabulary and search cover the whole topic, including synonyms, connotations and double meanings to help your site show the relevant information instead of any other iteration of the meaning.

By adding schema, you highlight the entities across your site and through the content again, further supporting search engines’ knowledge and understanding of your site.

Combining all three features (Knowledge graph, semantic search, and schema) makes life so much easier for Google to respond to search queries with the right information. One key example would be searches for Hilton Paris and Paris Hilton. As you can see from the searches below, their meanings change drastically despite being the same words in different orders. One is the person, and the other is hotels in Paris.

hilton paris vs paris hilton google search results

Futureproof algorithm

In recent years, Google has added algorithms like EEAT and the Helpful Content Update specifically focused on providing more context and useful information for both search engines and users to benefit from.

As algorithm updates continue to roll out, it’s clear that context and user-focused content remain at the forefront of what search engines want to see from websites looking to rank organically.

Leveraging AI

It’s no secret that the number of marketing tools available seems to double daily, and AI tools are no different. With ChatGPT 4 and the right prompt, you can leverage the AI tool to write and format your Schema markup. Check out Itamar Blauer’s talk about Brighton SEO about ‘Generating complex schema markup at scale with AI’ for more of the ins and outs of creating schema in this way.

Writing Schema for your website

If you have the skills to write schema as code and understand the language’s ins and outs, great! However, this is not the be-all and end-all. There are so many free tools available to help you write schema.

Google even has a tool to help you select the features on a page that matter. The structured data markup helper allows you to select your chosen schema type and insert the corresponding page URL. From here, your page loads into the markup helper alongside the features you need to include to get the most out of your chosen schema. 

Fill in as much of the criteria as you can with the information on the page and click create HTML, and in less than a second, you have the code ready to put onto your site.

Even though the tool was created by Google, to be 100% sure that the data is fit for purpose, you can insert the code into the Rich Results Test. The test will highlight both critical and non-critical issues with the markup.

Non-critical issues are fields that you haven’t filled in or missed out on, but they’re not critical for the markup to provide rich snippets for that page. Critical issues are exactly that: without those features, Google’s crawlers won’t validate the markup and serve it to users as a featured snippet.

When writing schema markup with the intention of rich snippets it is important to ensure the page is connected to relevant queries amongst search results.

 

Our Final Thoughts

  • Schema can help you boost your site into those top positions
  • It may not be a primary SEO fix, but it is certainly worth using for all business types
  • Schema supports so many different areas of your search visibility and strategy
  • Writing schema markup isn’t scary if you use the tools made available

 


 

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