Did you know that incorporating the schema markup gives your organization an opportunity to boost the search visibility?
For one, it provides search engines with more information that helps them understand the site’s content.
What’s more, it allows companies to enhance their search listings with more information relevant to a search query, and gain a competitive advantage over any other domain in SERPs.
This listing, for example, uses schema to display star ratings and a number of reviews.
And this one incorporates it to display upcoming events:
In both examples, schema allowed those organizations to display crucial information for customers within the search listing.
And, in turn, increase their organic click-through rate.
Since we get asked about Schema a lot, this short guide is seoClarity’s recommendation in how and why to use semantic markup.
From this guide, you’ll learn:
- What is Schema and its benefits
- How we recommend you implement it to boost search visibility
- The basics of JSON-LD, and why it’s the best option for SEO
What is the Schema Markup
I typically explain Schema as a set of tags (called microdata) that you can include within your page’s code to provide more information about its content.
Those tags then provide the search engines to:
A.) Better understand your page’s content. I’m sure you already know that your rankings depend on the search engine’s ability to interpret the search query and match it with pages it deems relevant. The better Google understands your content, the greater the chance it will rank your pages higher in SERPs for applicable queries.
This becomes even more important with the rise of voice search and the new types of queries we use when searching with voice. Schema allows you to provide the search engine with additional information to help it interpret your content.
Here's a quick story of how this worked for one of our clients.
This client was losing rank position to a competitor by two positions. Once they added schema, their pages moved to the top of the organic listings. Granted, they already had strong on- and off-page optimization on the site. Nonetheless, adding Schema helped them to finally outrank this competitor.
B.) Use that information to enhance your search listings in SERPs, and display it as rich snippets right under the listing’s title. For example:
The clients that have implemented the use Schema on their sites has helped boost their rankings, a lot. On average, we've experienced a gain of about two-three positions in the SERPs.
What’s more, those companies also achieve higher organic click-through rates, particularly if they display star ratings and reviews in their listings.
From a customer experience point of view, it makes sense. After all, rich snippets make search listings stand out, while ratings and reviews provide social proof customers can use to select the search result they want to research further.
Finally, Schema also impacts your SEM strategies to provide more relevance to a search query and increase the quality score.
Implementing Schema Markup
There is a number of ways to implement Schema.
- Using the semantic markup, you can include it in the main HTML page.
And at seoClarity, we recommend the latter. Here’s why.
JSON-LD content will not be affected by layout changes (unless you modify the content, of course). You can move items around, and any changes to the page structure won’t affect the Schema markup.
This one benefit alone helped our clients retain their rankings, in spite of errors in site layout and content.
For example, one of our client’s development team accidentally removed content from their core landing pages. Luckily, the JSON-LD markup kept their site from losing rankings until the team realized and resolved this mistake.
But what makes JSON Schema so powerful?
For one, your schema information is independent of your page content. This makes schema inclusion on your page extremely easy and effortless.
And as John Lincoln from Ignite Visibility puts it:
“JSON-LD offers syntactic simplicity found with the traditional JSON, but offers more inherit meaning. As a result, Google, Bing, and Yandex are all embracing JSON-LD because the structured data allows developers to easily organize and connect data. This creates a better website in the eyes’ of humans and Google.”
Adding JSON-LD to your site
JSON schema uses a standardized markup.
Your code must reside between those lines:
Your schema information goes between them. For example, here’s a JSON-LD script that we could use to provide Google more information about our platform:
"image": "URL to the image",
"description": "seoClarity’s enterprise SEO platform isn’t just innovative; from top to bottom, we’re disrupting the way large-scale organizations think about their SEO strategies",
Of course, this is just one example. The type of information you include in your Schema markup depends on your product, service, and the content of the page.
In general, however, you can include any of the schema.org types:
- Place, LocalBusiness, Restaurant
- Product, Offer, AggregateOffer
- Review, AggregateRating
And much more.
Few Things to Watch Out For
There are a couple of things you and your development team keep in mind when implementing Schema on your site.
For one, the types of Schema markup that can be added to your content.
- In fact, this is one of the most common errors we see, with the web team adding markup that highlights content that does not match what’s on the page.
- Another version of this is adding the wrong type of Schema to a wrong template.
And a result of either of those mistakes is the same - a decrease in rankings.
The second, recrawling Schema.
Once you implement the Schema markup, you should wait approximately 2-3 weeks until search engines re-crawl and index your new code. If you still don’t see Schema on your search listings after that time, you should immediately investigate the code for potential errors.
Final Thoughts on Moving to JSON-LD
It’s worth mentioning some of the challenges you might face when implementing JSON-LD.
For example, when you remove the current markup on any site, you might experience a temporary decrease in rankings followed. This is a result of Google and other search engines re-indexing your new content.
To avoid this, you could, theoretically, use both JSON and existing markup during the switch.
However, I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term solution. However, it will help retain rankings over 2-3 weeks that you need to implement the change fully.
When you should NOT move to JSON-LD
If you’ve already implemented the schema.org markup, it works without any major errors, and you do not change the site’s content too often, then we’d recommend you stick with this solution.
The temporary loss of rankings and traffic might not warrant the change.
Finally, if you need guidance with implementing Schema, reach out to our Client Services team who are available to discuss best practices with you and your team.
Note: we also offer Professional Services to companies who need help with implementation of the markup on their sites.