The landscape of SEO looks different every year, and 2021 was no exception. Schema markup is turning heads across the industry, and for good reason–Google loves it. While it isn’t going to get you ranked overnight, schema is hugely important to stay relevant. I’ve created this beginner’s guide to schema markup to help you stay in the know and get started on your own website.
What Is Schema Markup?
Before you implement it on your website, you need to know what it is that schema does. Imagine you are learning a foreign language. You could learn how to pronounce words and how to read sentences first, but that won’t do you much good if you aren’t sure what the words mean. The first step is learning basic vocabulary and understanding context, so you are able to interpret full sentences. Essentially, schema is the basic vocabulary for Google. While Google can read your pages, it might not be able to put your content in context so it can understand user intent, so it relies on a universal language to tell it how to read content.
For example, if your page has content mentioning the Giants, you might mean the New York Football Giants. However, Google can only match up Giants to a user query–if someone was looking for information about the fictional creatures, your page wouldn’t be very helpful to them. Schema can help Google understand that you are talking about the football team, and therefore it is able to return relevant results to users.
What Are Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets are the most visible benefit of properly implementing schema on your website. Not only will Google return more relevant results to users, but how they visually present them to users will change as well.
One of the most common types of schema is used for recipes. Here, Google is able to tell users right on the SERP how long the apple pie recipe takes and how many calories it is. Not only does this give users more information, but it makes your search result look more appealing and more informative than one without rich snippets.
How Do I Use Schema Markup?
Schema looks hard. Don’t be fooled by the clutter of tags, though.
There are three different types of schema: JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata. Each offers its own benefits, however, Google recommends JSON-LD. In this variation of schema, you can manually code the script that goes on the page you need the schema on, or you can use one of the various free tools on the internet that codes the script for you when you plug in a few fields. The latter is easy and only takes a few minutes. While it helps to study and memorize as much of the extensive vocabulary as you can, this is a guide for beginners, so here is a helpful guide that lists all the types of schema you can use.
Above is one of the free schema markup generators that you can use from TechnicalSEO.com. You can choose from the dropdown what type of schema you’d like it to generate for you. This includes options like FAQ, event, how-to, recipe, and plenty of others. For this blog, we’ll take a look at FAQ, which is a schema used for pages that contain multiple common questions and answers on a particular topic.
As you can see, it pre-populates the right side with FAQ JSON-LD code, and all you have to do is input the questions and answers. There is no limit to how many questions you can add, and when you’re done, it should look something like this:
Once you’re done, you can simply copy and paste the code on the right into the <head> section of whatever page you’re working on, and Google should be able to index it within 24-48 hours!
Schema.org has a massive vocabulary to describe thousands of properties, and there certainly isn’t enough room in this blog to cover all of it. By looking at the list linked above, you can expand your skills as a webmaster and enter the new decade armed with knowledge that helps your website stand out to Google–they even said so themselves.
Once you’ve created a page for yourself using schema, test it out with Google’s helpful Structured Data Testing Tool. With a little trial and error, you’ll be shooting to the top of the rankings with rich snippets and relevant content before you know it.