What Is Schema Markup and How Do You Use It for SEO?

Author's avatar SEO May 31, 2021 12 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    There’s a lot of ways you can get your website to stand out.

    Whether it’s a unique domain name, an eye-catching design, or well-written content that answers the questions your audience has, there are many tactics you can implement to make it one of a kind.

    If you’ve done all of that and are looking for another way you can improve your website’s rank in the SERPs and boost its SEO value, consider adding schema markup. While this may sound intimidating at first, when done correctly, schema can make a big difference in how your website performs.

    Interested in learning something specific about schema markup? Jump ahead to:


    What is Schema Markup?

    Schema markup is an on-page SEO practice that involves implementing structured data vocabulary on your website with the aim to help search engines better see the meaning and relationships behind certain entities mentioned on your site.

    A shared data markup vocabulary can be found on schema.org.

    Why is Schema Important?

    If you think schema sounds like too much of a hassle, hear me out — there are many reasons why schema is important to add to your website.

    For starters, if you want the search engines to show your website and its content to users as they search for specific keywords, schema markup is definitely something you should consider implementing. 

    Having schema on various pages and elements on a website can boost your SEO value as you start showing in the search engines for certain types of results. And, depending on what the page is ranking for, it can stand out to users by providing more information based on the keyword or search query. 

    How to Set up Schema Markup for SEO

    Before you set up schema markup, you need to determine where you’d like to add the markup or rich snippet. Google offers rich snippets for different types of search results. The results supported by Google are:

    • Recipes
    • Articles
    • Local businesses
    • Reviews
    • Events
    • Music
    • Products
    • TV and movies
    • Reviews
    • People
    • Medical conditions
    • Frequently asked questions

    The respondents we surveyed mostly use organizational schema or schemas for local businesses.

    types of schema markup

    Once you determine the type of markup that is best suited for your content, it’s recommended to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to get started. This helper will walk you through the step-by-step process of choosing where to add schema and how.

    9 Tips for Using Schema Markup for SEO

    Now that you know a little more about what schema markup is and why you should implement it within your website’s code, here are 12 tips on how to get your biggest bang for your buck.

    Interested in a specific tip for using schema markup? Jump ahead to:

    1. Boost your local SEO
    2. Create pages with how-to structured data
    3. Utilize for service and product pages
    4. Think outside the box
    5. Implement Google Tag Manager
    6. Include it in video
    7. Be cautious when using a plugin
    8. Combine schema with other SEO tactics
    9. Don’t forget about bio pages

    1. Boost your local SEO

    For starters, implementing schema markup is a great way to boost your rankings in local SEO.

    To do this, Jake Peterson at Atiba Software recommends, “I love using schema markup for local SEO because you can pinpoint your service area and tell Google where you’re working. It’s also extremely important to use @id for your Google Maps URL. Adding this to your home, about us, and contact pages is crucial. Make sure your entities line up and aren’t crisscrossing.”

    For another way to go about this, consider what Kyle Sanders from Complete SEO has to say. Sanders shares, “If you’re a local business, you can influence what shows up in your branded search results by adding your social and business listings profiles under sameas. Ideally, these profiles have reviews from your clients/customers, and depending on the site, Google will pull the profiles into your knowledge graph, as well as help them rank better for branded search.”

    2. Create pages with how-to structured data

    Another way to use schema markup to your advantage is to make sure to create pages with how-to structured data. These are pages like an FAQ page where users come to find specific answers. 

    Explaining this tip further is Josh Stomel at TurboFinance. “One great tip for how to use schema markup to boost SEO results is to create pages with how-to structured data. This schema markup will help explicitly tell Google that your content is a how-to, which will clearly walk users through a set of steps to successfully complete a task. If you’re creating user-friendly content that provides certain steps to be read in sequence, it’s a great opportunity to implement schema markup to achieve a rich result,” explains Stomel. 

    Going further on how to use schema on an FAQ page is Ben Johnston at Sagefrog Marketing Group. Johnston says, “If your client has an FAQ, apply FAQ schema to it, if they don’t, make an FAQ and apply the schema to it to come up in relevant question-based searches and search features. Adding in some general questions can help your FAQ, coupled with FAQ schema, to bring in new users and users that are more familiar with your brand or products (questions that would already be included in an FAQ without any optimization).”

    Finally, Rebecca Lajoie-Dyck at Voices adds to this point to say, “ Leverage high-intent schema markup such as ‘how-to schema’ to increase chances of appearing in rich results to drive click-through rates and increase visibility. Properly marked up how-to pages are also eligible for an action on the Google assistant.”

    3. Utilize for service and product pages 

    It’s also recommended that users who implement schema should always utilize this makeup on service and product pages. 

    Lending an example of how to do this is Brian Winum at MAXPlaces Marketing, LLC. Winum shares, “We’ve found great success using schema markup to clearly define our target audience for service and product pages. For example, if we wanted to target oral surgeons, we would call out within the schema code the URL of the Wikidata page for’”oral and maxillofacial surgery (medical specialty)’ to let Google know who we’re targeting with this content.”

    Implementing schema on a product page can allow Google a better sense of price and availability, which it can’t always crawl for on its own. Explaining this tip further is Ashley Cummings at Ashley R. Cummings. “You can use schema markup to provide Google with structured data, including product data that Google doesn’t grab on its own. For example, you can add price, style, and availability. When you provide Google with this information, Google can include it in the search results, and it can result in more SERP real estate for your products.” shares Cummings. 

    As you go about adding schema to these pages, don’t forget about reviews! “There are lots of amazing ways to use schema within SEO. My number one suggestion when it comes to optimizing for SEO is to utilize reviews. By implementing reviews schema things like products and services can show your review rating right on Google.

    By displaying your reviews you are not only displaying an amazing trust signal for anyone searching but it also makes your page stand out from any competitors who aren’t using the same schema markup,” shares Jack Story at Assured Marketing LTD.

    4. Think outside the box

    Sometimes the wins we see within our SEO strategy are all about thinking outside the box and implementing a new wild and crazy idea. The same strategy can be applied within your schema markup initiative. 

    Christina Pigol at CIENCE explains this tip further by adding, “Be bold! We’ve made our best progress using certain types of schema on the pages that weren’t even corresponding to that type. Some tech-minded SEOs are limited by common rules and Google conventions, but there are actually so many possibilities beyond that. So think out of the box and test out your craziest ideas!”

    5. Implement Google Tag Manager

    If you’re an SEO expert and frequently dabble in the world of Google Tag Manager, you can use this free Google tool to roll out schema markups.

    Blake Smith at Australian SEO Consultants shares more on this tip: “I like to use schema markup dynamically across my website pages. The simplest way to do this in my experience is with Google Tag Manager (GTM). This comes in handy for rolling out similar schema codes across similar page templates. For example, a franchise that has 50 locations.

    GTM can be configured to find the variables on the page you need to insert into the schema script. The variables are elements of the page which can be inserted into the schema, depending on the page you’re on.

    In this instance, I would implement my LocalBusiness schema, and then configure it to pick up variables from the page e.g name, address, contact details, etc, as those are unique across the 50 franchise locations. This way I only need to create the tag once and fire it on all 50 location pages, rather than creating 50 individual tags for each location.”

    6. Include it in your videos

    We mentioned above that videos are a great place to include schema markup, and they definitely shouldn’t be forgotten as you go through adding schema to your website. 

    To do this, Tom Zsomborgi at Kinsta recommends, “We’re adding the ‘videoobject’ schema to the pages that include our tutorial videos. This allows the pages to appear in video search results and so boost impressions and the clicks to these results.”

    7. Be cautious when using plugins

    When it comes to working with schema, be careful about how many, and which, plugins you use for a little assistance. 

    Sharing more on what to avoid with plugins is Patrick Wareing at PatrickWareing.com. “My one tip for using schema markup is to be careful about any plugins you use to manage this process. Plugins are great for populating schema across multiple pages on your site at once, but be careful of having ’empty’ schema on multiple pages, as well as duplicate schema across multiple pages also.

    For example, Google recommends that you only include Organization schema on one page, typically the home page, but an incorrect configuration of a plugin can make it appear across multiple pages,” explains Wareing.

    8. Combine with other SEO tactics

    There are a lot of elements that go into the perfect SEO strategy. For instance, if you’re already a master at the keyword research side of SEO, be sure to use that to your advantage as you research schema makeups. 

    “Focus on highlighting what your target audience is looking for. Schema Markup would be more effective when used with other SEO tactics. Consider doing keyword research and base what you’ll highlight on the results. This will double your effectiveness. You can always highlight anything, but focusing on what most people search for is the most effective way of capturing your audience. You can optimize your site and use Schema Markup all in one brilliant stroke,” explains Emily Matthews from Gentle Dog Trainers. Measure the effectiveness of these SEO tactics once you implement them with this SEO dashboard.

    9. Don’t forget about bio pages

    Before you think you’re done implementing schema on your website, don’t forget about adding markup to the bio pages. 

    Need further clarification? Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media Studios shares more to say “A lot of sites miss the chance to add schema to team bio pages, but there are a LOT of relevant schemas because people are an important type of entity.

    If the bio page is detailed, including the person’s school, credentials, affiliations, and contact info, you have a great opportunity to give them a bigger digital footprint. Add as much schema as you can to your bio page and you’ll improve the chance that a knowledge panel appears in search results for your name.”


    Markup Made Easy

    Hopefully any fears or hesitations you had about incorporating schema onto your website have been put to rest. It can seem like a daunting SEO tactic, but we highly recommend you give this SEO best practice a try. 

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    Article by
    Mara Calvello

    Mara is a freelance writer at Databox and a Content Marketing Manager at G2. In her spare time, she's either at the gym, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable.

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