Using Schema Markup
Schema markup, often referred to as structured data, refers to different types of data to define the areas of your business and website that the search engines would utilize to categorize and index your data. Recently, the most popular way of adding schema has been through JSON schema where Schema is created through a <script> tag and then added to a site, app, etc.
How is schema useful for your business?
Schema markup is typically used as a tactic for SEO but is a small aspect of an overall digital marketing strategy. Schema markup powers rich snippets shown on Google’s search engine results page (SERP), potentially leading to more clicks and traffic to your site, but in a larger sense the use of Schema markup helps the search engines understand the content on your website.
History of Schema
Founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex in 2011, Schema’s objective has traditionally been to standardize HTML tags about topics and is part of the process of the overall semantic web project, helping search engines understand content to be more accessible to humans and machines.
Use Types of Schema
While sites do not have to use every type of Schema on their website, many common Schema types can be applied to different kinds of businesses.
Consider the following commonly used types of Schema:
- CreativeWork – a generic kind of creative work including books, movies, photographs, software programs, etc.
- Book – Add schema around the name of the book, ISBN, date of publication, etc.
- Movie – Add schema for an actor, duration, production company, etc.
- MusicRecording – Add schema for artist, duration, the name of the album, etc.
- Recipe – add schema for ingredients, instructions, cook time, etc.
- TVSeries – add schema for an actor, director, episode, etc.
Embedded non-text objects:
- AudioObject – add schema for bitrate, file site, duration, etc.
- ImageObject – add schema for file size, height, data published, etc.
- VideoObject – add schema for actor, caption, director, etc.
- Event – add event schema for events such as a concert, lecture, or festival.
- Health and medical types – useful for marking up medical content on the web
- Organization – useful for schools, corporations, clubs, etc.
- Person – can be a person living, dead, or a fictional person
- Place – a fixed, physical property
- Product – mainly used in digital commerce for physical products but can be applied to the service industry as well
- Offer – an offer to provide a service or transfer rights to an item
While this is a shortened list, the full list of schema types can be found on Schema.org.
Selecting the Right Schema for your Business
With all of these schema types, choosing the right one for your website may seem daunting, but it's relatively straightforward after some initial planning. Google has an example of how to use both “Course” and “Organization” together in the same schema markup:
<title>Introduction to Computer Science and Programming</title>
"name": "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming",
"description": "Introductory CS course laying out the basics.",
"name": "University of Technology - Eureka",
In this example, multiple types of schema are used, including organization and course. The organization refers to the University of Technology-Eureka and the course is “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming.” Using schema markup, the search engines can easily find this information during a crawl and index it appropriately.
Additionally, if your company sells products through your website, you would want to add product details, for example, again from Google:
"name": "Executive Anvil",
"description": "Sleeker than ACME's Classic Anvil, the Executive Anvil is perfect for the business traveler looking for something to drop from a height.",
"name": "Fred Benson"
In this example, schema is added for image files, product description, aggregate rating, brand name, and even availability. All of this data helps the search engines determine the type of content to index and ultimately show in search results.
How do I generate schema markup?
Fortunately, not all schema markup has to be hand-coded. There are some powerful and beneficial tools to help you. Merkle has its Schema Markup Generator tool with fields ready to plug in.
Also, Steal Our JSON-LD has some great examples that can be updated to fit your organization’s needs.
How do I test my Schema?
Thankfully there are some great tools for testing your schema both before and after implementation.
How else can I use Schema?
These are the basics of schema implementation but there is much more that could be done by using other existing schema types that fit your organization or creating and testing a custom schema markup. The use of schema continues to change over time and providing the search engines with updated, accurate information can only help your brand or organization.
Contact Verndale to learn more about schema or our website development and digital marketing services.