Are you interested in learning how to enhance the appearance of your listing in the search engine results? In this article we will show you how to add special code to your web pages to stand out from your competitors.
It is one thing to rank well for your key search terms, but you can make these rankings work harder for you, by drawing customers eyes to your listing, and making more people actually click through to your website.
Just as you can enhance an eBay listing by paying more for a bold heading, or a gallery image to increase click through rate (CTR) you can use Schema markup to make certain types of content stand out in the SERP’s.
And the best part is, it’s free!
What is Schema Markup?
Search engines want to understand your content better so they can closely match it to users searches and keep them happy. After all, the more people that use their search engine, the more money they make from ad revenue.
The problem is, in order to make it easy for you to describe your content, you need a standardised structure, a common vocabulary, of how to describe pieces of content to all search engines. Nobody wants to add 4 different types of code for each search engine.
To solve this problem the four major search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex got together to form a standard vocabulary i.e microdata format that they would all be able to use.
You are most likely familiar with the concept of HTML tags. HTML5 uses tags to markup the content on your page to distinguish between say a heading and a paragraph or a numbered list of items.
Your developer can then use CSS to reference those tags and style how each of those elements look on the page.
Schema is a special set of tags called microdata that you can add to your HTML pages to tell the search engines what that particular text actually means. You can clearly define what something is based on the predefined categories at Schema.org.
E.g Is this piece of text a book, a phone number or maybe a customer review?
Because the search engines can better understand what each item is, they then use this information to change the way they display certain content in the search results.
These are often called rich snippets.
Types of Content
You can add microdata markup to describe the different types of content on your site.
Common types include:
- Local Business
- Pet Store
Each Type is like a category that can have more specific types nested below it, like in the Local Business example above.
How to implement Schema Markup
Let’s look at the example of marking up your local business information that typically includes your business name, address and phone number.
Here we have the example of our seo company, seoWorks Sydney office.
As you can see from the image above, the entire block that encloses the address has an item type scope and itemtype of local business added.
<div itemscope=”” itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
The name of the business is then surrounded with a <span> tag that explicitly tells search engines that this is the name of the business.
The address portion of the page is then enclosed in the PostalAddress itemtype.
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
This is then repeated for each of the other parts of the address, each given their specific item property that describes what the information is.
You can get the correct item properties from schema.org or use an online tool that will give you an example of how to markup the page.
Googles Structured Data Markup Helper
This allows you to enter the page with the information you would like to markup.
You then select each element and choose the correct property from a dropdown list.
Then selecting Create HTML, it provides you with the code that you would change on that specific page.
Testing your Microdata is working properly
Google provides another tool that verifies the microdata on your site and offers suggestions for improvement.
Structured Data Testing Tool
After entering your pages URL, the tool checks to make sure everything is setup correctly and give you suggestions for improvement on the right.
Here we have given you a quick introduction to microdata and Schema.org. We have seen how you can add microdata to your page to help search engines know where your local business is located, and help build trust and certainty when they list your business in their maps listings. We have also shown you the tools to help markup your pages and verify you have added the microdata correctly.
This article was updated with the latest industry insights on February 22, 2017.