What is Schema, rich snipets & structured data

What is Schema Markup and Structured Data?

If you work in digital marketing you’ve probably come across the term “schema markup”, “structured data” or “rich snippets” on a regular basis. But what is Schema exactly?

A Schema markup is the language of the search engines consisting of tags (or microdata) that you can add to the HTML of your website to improve the way your page is represented in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

For search engines, interpreting data on a website can be difficult sometimes due to the intrinsic nature of how humans interpret and display information. For example, imagine there is a page on a website that contains three phone numbers. How would a search engine interpret which phone number is the business’s primary contact phone number?

This is where structured data comes in.

How do Schema Markup works?

By tagging certain elements of content on the page, for example, a phone number, we are able to tell a search engine that this is the business phone number, or this is the business address, business name, business URL, author of the website and so on.

This allows search engines to categorise information (and we know how much Google loves categorising information) so it can better present the information to searchers. By doing this, not only does it send a positive signal to Google but it allows Google to present this information in some really interesting ways.

For example, try typing in the keyword “Cashew Nut Recipe” in Google. You probably notice the first listing has a numbered list with an image of the right-hand side like the below.

Recipe Schema Markup

This is because the website used a Google recipe schema on their page. With the use of a schema review markup generator, you can categorise your webpage content and improve how you present them in search engines.

Take a look below at how the data is showing using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

schema markup testing tool result

The result from the structured data testing tool shows that it has been marked up with schema tags that are invisible to the reader, but visible to Google’s crawler. There is an extra effort in marking up your content, but if you are familiar with Google Tag Manager, you can streamline this process by creating tags that can dynamically and automatically fire on each page.

Most users would rather use Google Search Console Data Highlighter. Although limited, you’re able to markup certain information such as articles, book reviews, events, local businesses, movies, products, restaurants, software applications, and TV episodes. There are many more types of schemas that can be used. Check out the full list at schema.org.

Categories for Google's Data Highlighter Tool

By using structured data, not only do we benefit from a positive ranking signal, but it also allows Google to use this information in dynamic ways in the search result. In this example, the schema markup resulted in the website taking almost half the fold of the screen. Having more screen real estate means a greater chance of getting clicked on while pushing your competitors out of the picture.

We love schema, so if you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out and ask! Contact us.

Get Your Free Digital Marketing Report