What is schema markup?
Schema markup is code on your website that enables search engines to return more informative results. It does this by telling search engines what your data means when they index your content. For example, if you have certain information on your website, let’s say some upcoming events in Breckenridge, Colorado, then the schema markup would tell search engines that this information was very specific to that location. Rather than just recognizing it as text, the search engines would then provide results which are better matched to the search query. So, someone who has typed in “what events are coming up this Christmas in Breckenridge?” would see your events listed.
Schema.org sums it up quite nicely:
“Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — “Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.”
How to use schema markup
Now that we’ve covered what schema markup is, let’s discuss how to test schema markup and make sure you use it correctly on your website!
Depending on your business, you may need to use a fair few types of markups, or you may need to use very few. There are hundreds, if not thousands of types of schema markups, but don’t feel that you need to use countless ones unless they are relevant to your content. You can check out an extensive list of types of markups here.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a coding expert to use schema markup on your website. If you use a popular hosting platform such as WordPress or Wix, then there are plenty of plugins available to do the coding for you.
How to test your schema markup
We strongly recommend that you test your schema markup before publishing your pages with it. We’ve picked out our top platforms that explain and action how to test your schema markup, but there is no harm in using more than one. In fact, why not use all three if you’ve got the spare time?
1. Structured Data Testing Tool (SDTT) – Google’s SDTT is the swiftest tool available to you. It’s simple to- pop your URL into the website and click “run test”, and voila! SDTT will flag up any inconsistencies that you may need to amend before publishing the content, or otherwise let you know that you’re good to go.
2. Rich Results Test – Using Google’s Rich Results Test tool, there are two options available to you: either through your URL or through a section of your code. The tool also offers a preview of how your page will appear as a Rich Result.
3. Schema App’s Structured Data Tester – This tool can be found in the Schema App and enables you to check your markups through your URL. This tool doesn’t cache the results of your data, and as a plugin of Schema App, saves you from going to a third party website constantly to test your schema markup.
So, whiet using schema markup is a great optimization tool to be using on your website, you need to make sure that you’re implementing it correctly for it to be beneficial. Surprisingly, very few businesses and websites are using schema markup, so you have every reason to be one step ahead and make sure that you are implementing it for your website!