Schema (also called structured data) can be confusing but we are going to do our best to break it down and simplify it so you can begin implementing it on your own website! By using Schema markup you can create what is called “Rich Snippets” which for bloggers can be gold in the search engines.
For the purpose of this post, we are focusing on Reviews as an example since most bloggers do reviews on some level and by implementing this you can really make your posts pop on the search engines.
So What Is Schema?
Schema – (sometimes called microdata) is used by the search engines to better understand what your web pages are about so they can do a better job of serving relevant content to users based on what they are searching for. Schema.org is the home web page for this project and is a collaboration of the major search engines – it can show you the type of schema properties that are available and offer you updated information about the project. Microdata has been around for a while, but very few websites are actually implementing it (estimates are less than 1%) – so by you taking the opportunity to learn and implement these techniques, you are putting yourself ahead of your competitors.
In the example to the right you can see several listings for a review on a GoMotion Belt Light.
You will notice that 2 of the listings have stars in the listing, that is due to the implementation of Schema in the code.
We are going to use the internetofdogthings.com as our example for the code that was used for this listing.
In a normal post, the HTML code for that specific item may look something like this:
<article><h1><a href=””>GoMotion LiteBelt 100 Review: Useful belt for jogging you…</a></h1><div class=”author”>Review by Jen deHaan</p><div class=”entry-meta”>April 20, 2015</div><div class=”entry”><img src=””>content goes here to talk about the product</div></article>
But then we add in our Product Review Schema and we have something like this:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://testingforreviewschema.com”><div itemprop=”name”><strong>GoMotion LiteBelt 100 Review</strong></div>
<div itemprop=”description”>This is where the content of the belt will go. This should be the body of your post.</div>
<div itemprop=”reviewBody”>GoMotion LiteBelt 100 Review</div>
<div itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”>
Written by: <span itemprop=”name”>You Name Goes Here</span></div>
<div><meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”2015-06-16″>Date published: 06/16/2015</div>
<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>
<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content=”1″><span itemprop=”ratingValue”>3.8</span> / <span itemprop=”bestRating”>5</span> stars</div>
In the above example you can see that “itemscope” and “itemtype” and “itemprop” codes which are all the microdata that is used in schema!
How Does Schema Work?
Schema is code that is added to your HTML code in your website. There are several formats of Schema including Microdata, RDFa and JSON-LD. JSON-LD we believe will be the future of Schema but takes more experience to implement, so for now we are recommending Microdata as the format of choice for bloggers.
Will Schema Improve My Rankings?
Currently, Google claims that Schema is not used as a ranking factor for their algorithm. But by implementing Schema you can greatly improve your click through rate and have your website appear more prominently in the search results.
So Then What Are The Benefits of Schema Markup?
1) You are giving the search engines exact information about what your article is about which gives them a clearer understanding of what you offer a someone doing a related search
2) It can help improve click thru-rate (CTR), which in turn can help you gain higher rank
Do I Need To Add This To Every Post & Page?
Not necessarily. We highly recommend you use this on posts that are Reviews or Recipes though. You can either use one of the plugins noted below or just add the code to your html.
Are There Other Things I Can Do With Schema?
YES! There is so much more you can do, but we just gave you the most basics of what you can do and what we thought most bloggers could benefit the most from. Depending on your business – there are many more ways to really make your website standout with microdata. We also utilize JSON-LD markup which we will address in a future post!
SO HOW DO I ADD THIS TO MY WEBSITE?
Great question! And while we typically use manual code to include schema in the websites we create, we realized that may not be an option for everyone so we tried to secure some easier options that bloggers can use. Below are several options for implementing the code including WordPress options that we tested and thought would do a decent job of getting the code into your posts in an easy way.
We have not had the time to see actual results of the plugins – as it can sometimes take weeks to have it shown in the search results – if it is shown at all! Remember, because you do this is NOT a guarantee it will be implemented.
1) SCHEMA CREATOR
Schema Creator is an easy to use way to include schema on any website. Simply click on the type of Schema you would like to generate the code for, enter your information at the bottom of the screen and copy and paste the code into your page.
Visit Schema Creator
2) WP REVIEW
WP Review is a WordPress plugin that will easily allow you to create reviews that will be shown on your post and have the Microdata in place to allow it to reflect in the search engines with the star ratings and details.
Visit WP Review
3) ALL IN ONE SCHEMA
Another WordPress plugin that offers Schema for reviews, events, people, recipes and more.
Visit All In One Schema
TYPES OF RICH SNIPPETS BLOGGERS CAN USE
Below are just a few of the Rich Snippets that bloggers may be interested and links to learn more about them and how to use them.
1) Reviews – the review snippets will showcase a star rating in the search results and can be used for products, services, creative works like books or movies and more.
2) Recipes – the recipe snippets can offer ratings for the recipe, presentation time, nutritional information and so much more.
3) Videos – the video snippets offers video markup that will allow you to have a post video thumbnail appear in the search results along with the upload date and more.
WHEN WILL I BEGIN SEEING MY RICH SNIPPETS IN THE SEARCH
Well, as with most things in life, there are no guarantees – and if Google does choose to show your data with Rich Snippets it may take a while to see the results. We have seen all of our clients that we have implemented this on reap the rewards of this code so we do expect you will too, especially since so few websites are taking advantage of this feature.
MozBar is a great tool to help you see what your competitors are up to and they have now added a Schema tool. It is available for both Chrome and Firefox and is a must have in your SEO arsenal!
This tool offers a lot of great features, but for this post we will only concentrate on the Schema portion! To see how your competitors may be implementing Schema Markup and Microformats, you can view the MARKUP tab in the tool. Then you will see options to view Schema, Open Graph, Twitter Cards and Microformats.
If the website is using any of the above, the MozBar will offer you a link so you can see the actual code that is being utilized.
STRUCTURED DATA EXAMPLES
Visit Google Structured Data Examples
A great resource for seeing the various types of rich snippets and microdata and how they may look in the search results.
STRUCTURED DATA TESTING TOOL
Visit Google Testing Tool
This is critical to know that you have properly implemented the code on your website! For example n the image below you can see a page from our own website that we ran through the tool. It was for a post that we added the review schema microdata to for testing purposes. We added it via manual code with no plugin. You can see that the tool returned an all good for all the microdata we have on our website.
We know this is tricky and confusing, and we will do what we can to help you make sense of it all! Leave a comment below with any questions or concerns and we will do our best to help you out so you can get this working on your website!