You might have noticed something new on Google recently. As seen in this article on Search Engine Roundtable, it appears that featured snippets are being influenced by schema markup. In the below example from the article, the steps from the how-to guide are being shown in the featured snippet. Clicking them takes you directly to the article, which is a great way of rewarding sites that implement schema markup.

In this example from Search Engine Roundtable, a user searching for fingerless gloves receives the how-to guide in the SERP featured snippet, increasing the chance of the click-through. My favourite is Step 7.

It’s clear that Google is increasing the usability of schema and the impact it has on organic results, but how can you use it for your website? Read on for some top tips.

A Rare Opportunity in SEO

Schema markup helps search engines understand the information on your website. It’s a bit like a how-to human guide for a search engine. By talking the search engine through your website content, you gain a better chance of appearing in the right places. Let’s use the Schema.org microdata example to explain this a bit better.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Movie">
    <h1 itemprop="name">
        Avatar
    </h1>
    <div itemprop="director" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
        Director: <span itemprop="name">James Cameron</span> (born <span itemprop="birthDate">August 16, 1954</span>)
    </div>
    <span itemprop="genre">
        Science fiction
    </span>
    <a href="../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html" itemprop="trailer">
        Trailer
    </a>
</div>

The orange sections of text are the schema markup within HTML code about the movie Avatar. (Blue aliens, sci-fi, 3D is the future, you know the one.)

  • Itemscope: Encloses information on what the item is. In this example, it specifies the HTML contained in this block is about a movie.
  • Itemtype: This defines that the item type is a movie, as defined in the schema.org hierarchy. In the above example, it also defines that James Cameron is a person.
  • Itemprop: This adds further information, such as the director or genre of the film. By adding the trailer at the end, the search engine understands that the website link contains a trailer for the movie Avatar.

This gives the search engine further insight into what the page is about, benefitting how it shows results to users. It’s an opportunity for those working in SEO to make a large difference in a short amount of time too. According to this study, less than 1/3 of Google’s search results include a rich snippet, so it’s a great opportunity to capitalise on.

Schema markup isn’t just for movies or other creative works though. There are many definable Itemtypes.

Types Of Schema

There are many, many types of schema. (For the full list of schema types, head to the official site.) However, there are some that seemingly impact SERPs more than others. Commonly used types include the following:

Please Note: This list was taken from Schema.org. We’ll go into two commonly used options below.

Event Schema

Hosting an event is tricky if no one turns up. Event schema helps with this, especially if you have a local business. Define an event that’s happening at a certain time or location, or define ticket prices and capacity. The event even appears in your GMB profile once the schema has been detected, so for events like open days, it’s a huge help.

This shows South Farm, a countryside wedding venue, with events on their GMB profile. These events were implemented using schema markup.

Product Schema

It’s said that positive reviews make all the difference, and that definitely seems to be the case with CTR. According to this study, review stars improved CTR by around 35%, which is great news for schema users. As seen in the below example, product schema allows you to display a review. It also showcases price and stock levels too! It’s perfect for providing a functional service to your users while increasing CTR as a result of positive reviews.

In this SERP snippet, Freshly Fermented showcases their high-rated product reviews to improve CTR.

Implementing Schema

There are two main ways to implement schema, microdata and RDFa. Schema.org has examples of each and Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool is always on hand to assist if needed. We’ll provide basic information below.

Microdata

As the easiest option for beginners to understand, microdata is often the go-to variant of schema implementation. However, it needs to be placed on each item that you want to define for search engines, so it is time-consuming. (Though it does depend on how much detail you use.) The previous example under the “A Rare Opportunity in SEO” heading used microdata, with Itemscope, Itemtype and Itemprop being the core pillars used to describe your content.

If coding isn’t your cup of tea, the Structured Data Markup Helper should come in hand with microdata implementation.

RDFa

While this isn’t too dissimilar from Microdata, RDFa does allow a user to go beyond the Schema.org definitions, so it’s therefore usually an advanced option. It streamlines the Microdata slightly by doing the following:

  • Removing the Itemscope tag altogether.
  • Replacing Itemtype with Typeof.
  • Replacing Itemprop with Property
  • vocab=”http://schema.org/” should be added to the code, as RDFa uses other definitions.

More details about RDFa are available here. Examples on Schema.org also show both microdata and RDFa types, so we’d advise you take a look for yourself. (See event location as an example.)

Schema Specialists

If schema markup has your brain frazzled (we don’t blame you!), you should speak to our team for some tips on its implementation. We’ve recently gone into detail on why website breadcrumbs are beneficial and the benefits of utilising Instagram stories in advertising too. Sometimes your business just needs a few pointers in the right direction, which we hope to provide.

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