Schema Markup is one of the latest evolutions in SEO for small businesses.
Other digital marketing strategies like content marketing and website design depend heavily on SEO and schema markup is one of the secret weapons you can start using to improve your SEO.
Let's dig into schema markup a little deeper...
Schema markup is code (or vocabulary) used to create structured data you can incorporate into websites to yield more informative, descriptive and intelligent results on search engines like Google and Bing.
Don't let this definition scare you, the bottom line is schema helps search engines identify more information about your content and display better information in search results...it can help your content stand out from other content that shows up on the search results page.
Schema markup can be applied to a number of different items. Here are a few areas you can apply schema markup.
Is schema different from rich snippets? What is the relation between the two?
A snippet is a result Google shows to users in the search results. There are two types - normal and rich.
A normal snippet only shows simple information about a page like the URL and the description. It looks like this:
Meanwhile, a rich snippet is more informative. It shows additional information between the URL and the description like pictures and ratings. This is what a rich snippet looks like:
Rich snippets are the result of the information you provide in your schema. In the example above, the schema markup provided the image and rating information that is being displayed in the rich snippet.
So what are the benefits of schema? How can SEO for small businesses improve by using it?
Let's take a look...
Schema helps search engine crawlers to understand your content. It helps your website stand out in the organic search results and it provides a better position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
When your small business website has schema markup, Google will show rich snippets, as discussed earlier, in the search results when content from your website is shown for relevant keywords.
Schema injects rich snippets (#2 above) to increase your online presence in the search engine results pages. Take a look at the normal snippet vs the rich snippet in the example above.
Which one stands out better? The answer is obvious...
When your schema helps your listings in search results stand out better, it encourages and entices people to select your listings over others.
This improves the CTR (click-through rate) which means you'll be driving more traffic to your website.
Web pages with schema markup rank higher compared to web pages without schema markup.
Schema markup might sound complicated but there are schema markup tools you can take advantage of to generate the code you need to add to your website.
TIP: If you are using WordPress for your website, there are a number of schema plugins to make adding schema markup to your site a breeze.
We use the WP SEO Structured Data Schema plugin and it works great.
If you're not using WordPress, you'll find one of the tools below very helpful.
This tool offers schema markup for a number of items, including:
Google offers two tools for generating schema markup:
Structured Data Helper is used when you are creating schema markup for another person or website. It lets you tag elements of your web page so that Google can generate the appropriate code. You can then download the HTML and upload it to your website.
Data Highlighter is Google's near-identical tool available in Google Search Console. If you have access to a website’s Search Console profile, then this tool is the way to go.
This tool is great for generating schema markup for all types of small businesses. Use the left sidebar to select your business category, then fill in the fields to the right to output accurate markup in the JSON-LD format.
Generate JSON-LD code with this tool for the following schema markup applications:
And that's how schema markup works and how it can boost SEO for small businesses. You can go DIY or consider hiring an expert to schema markup for you. Remember to ask the right questions before you hire an expert.
If you'd like some other schema markup resources, check out the following great articles:
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Header image courtesy of Pixabay.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.