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Written by Caroline Cox on Oct 18 , 2021

What is Schema markup? How does it affect your website’s SEO? We’re glad you asked.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What Schema is
  • How Schema markup affects SEO
  • Ways to implement and test your site’s Schema
  • Tips for pinpointing Schema errors

Picture this: You’re dining in a fine Italian restaurant, there’s not a global pandemic, and you’ve just been handed a menu. Sounds nice, right?

However, all the dish names are in Italian, and you don’t speak Italian.

Luckily, all the ingredients are listed below the dishes. Voila! Now you know what to expect, and can order accordingly.

This is how Schema works for your website. It tells crawlers (or diners, if we’re sticking with the above example) what a page consists of. This way, it can serve up that page in accurate search results. But how exactly does this affect your site’s SEO?

With help from our Director of Marketing Operations, Jenny Palmer, let’s dig in — bon appetit!

woman adding schema markup to a website

Snagging spots in rich snippets can put your content in the coveted “position zero,” which is shown above the top organic result. (Image via Pexels)

What is Schema?

Schema markup (also called structured data) essentially is a script added to the code on the backend of your website. This code helps crawlers, such as search engines, understand the content of what they’re crawling, according to Jenny.

As Yoast explains, major search engines — like Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo — developed this vocabulary together. As a result, they have a shared language to understand websites better.

If your page has a video, you can add Schema that will tell crawlers it’s a video, what the title and length are, as well as other details. It clearly defines a page’s content, which can go a long way to help your pages become eligible for rich results or featured snippets.

How does Schema affect SEO?

When crawlers can easily and accurately understand your site and its pages, that means those pages are more likely to surface in organic results accurately — no guesswork required. And visibility in organic search results is key for your SEO.

Not only that, but Jenny says snagging spots in rich snippets can put your content in the coveted “position zero,” which is shown above the top organic result. Some examples of rich results sections include: People Also Ask, recipes, ratings, videos, images, and more.

hanging string lights - google featured snippet

A look at featured snippets for hanging string lights on a deck (via Google)

How do you set up Schema?

If you’ve already got Schema markup on your site, you can test it with a tool like the Google Rich Results Tester. Alternatively, you can go to Schema.org’s structured data validator, paste the code or website directly, and it’ll let you know what Schema is on your pages, if any.

These tools can also alert you to any errors with your Schema. And other tools like SEMrush can help pinpoint pages with missing data. 

What Schema markup should I use?

There’s a Schema for everything under the sun, from industries to specific offers. Because of that, the best route is often to go through your site’s sections and pages to see which ones would benefit from Schema, such as product pages, reviews, videos, and FAQs.

According to Jenny, many content management systems — like WordPress — have easy-to-use Schema plugins. You can also manually write a JSON script (or have your agency do it for you). This is an info-storing programming language that stands for JavaScript Object Notation.

If you’re not familiar with it, inputting this markup seems like coding, which can be intimidating. Working with an agency helps because they can assist you in choosing the best markup for your site among the many options.

Pro tip: Google has a ton of Schema templates available so you don’t have to start from scratch.

How can I find Schema errors?

Along with using the above tools, you can identify errors via Google Search Console. 

google search console schema

Simply go to the Enhancements section, click “Review snippets,” and check out the chart that shows errors, valid markup, and what’s called “valid with warning.” This in-between signal lets users know there are potential errors that may be worth a second look.

If this is all a bit overwhelming, don’t fear! As a digital marketing agency, we can help you easily identify your best Schema options.

The takeaway

There’s no way around it: the search engine results page is a competitive place. That’s why taking advantage of all the features at your disposal, such as Schema markup, can help you gain an edge. 

While there’s no guarantee that adding this markup will make your rankings soar, it’s certainly one way to enhance your site SEO. Showing up accurately in search results can lead to more clicks, a bigger reach, and a more authoritative site overall.

This entry was posted in Blog, SEO and tagged , , , on by .
Caroline Cox

About Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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