The complete beginner’s guide to Schema.org markup
Approximately 75% of all search engine clicks go to the first three listings. And even the smallest details on your website and its metadata can impact whether you earn one of those coveted spots. Though Google’s search algorithm has become more sophisticated in the past decade, it still relies on context clues for important information.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about providing relevant content to both search engine crawlers and users. A labeling language called schema markup allows you to do this, helping increase the quality and potential rankings of your content.
What Is Schema?
Schema markup (schema.org) is a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the information on your website.
When search engines recognize the meaning and relationships behind entities, they can serve rich results or rich snippets.
Schema is a language used to represent data—the actual data is called structured data.
Structured data organizes your page’s content and makes the information easier for Google to understand.
How Does Schema.org Work?
The schema.org vocabulary consists of a set of predefined properties and types that webmasters can use to describe different aspects of their content, such as the type of business, product information, reviews, and more. These properties and types are defined using the schema.org vocabulary and can be added to the HTML code of a web page using specific markup tags, such as Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD.
When search engines crawl a web page with schema markup, they can extract the structured data and use it to enhance the search results with additional information, such as ratings, prices, and other relevant details. This makes it easier for users to find the information they are looking for and helps search engines provide more accurate and relevant search results.
Where to Add Schema.org
Where do you put this markup? How do you add it to your website? Well, it can be added to pretty much any website page, and typically we’ll use JSON-LD, some form of JSON-LD. JSON-LD is data. It’s that code that we saw over on the schema.org site. It doesn’t change the design of your site or impact your speed. It’s data or information. It’s metadata, it’s data about data.
The number one thing you need to think about when thinking of where you want to add it is the pages themselves. You can add lots of different markups to the page, but you need to be careful that you’re helping the content become more machine-readable and that you’re not adding too much where it’s causing confusion.
How do I start marking up my web pages?
How to mark up your pages using Microdata
Microdata is a set of tags, introduced with HTML5, which is aimed at providing a simpler way of annotating HTML elements with machine-readable tags.
Microdata is a fairly easy-to-use markup, and good for beginners. The downsides are that you have to mark up each individual item within the body of the webpage – which can get messy – as opposed to a markup like JSON-LD, where you can confine most of the code to the header.
Before you begin, you first need to work out what ‘item type’ your webpage content can be defined as. Is it a recipe? A review? A piece of music, or an event? This will determine what you tag it up as.
How to mark up your pages using RDFa
RDFa stands for Resource Description Framework in Attributes and is an extension to HTML5 designed to help you mark up structured data. It is a W3C Recommendation – that is to say, a web standard – and can be used to combine multiple structured data vocabularies if you want to add structured data that goes beyond what you can do with Schema.org.
If you already know how to use Microdata markup with Schema.org, then RDFa really isn’t that different. Like microdata, the tags integrate with the existing HTML in the body of your content. Let’s use a simple restaurant website as an example.
How to mark up your pages using JSON-LD
Google was initially hesitant to support JSON-LD as a format for Schema.org markup, preferring developers to use inline markup like Microdata or RDFa where you could more easily see where the markup was being applied to individual elements. But it has since embraced the format to the point where it recommends developers use JSON-LD to mark up their web pages, which means there are lots of handy resources for JSON-LD on Google Developers.
The advantage of using JSON-LD with Schema.org markup is that it confines most of the relevant code to the page header, keeping extra tags out of the main body of your content and making the code cleaner and easier to read.
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