Website owners and managers correctly implementing and knowing about schema, or schema.org markup and structured data are increasingly becoming more and more critical. Though it is new to the world of the internet, the website will show up on search results much better when structured data is implemented correctly. Both non-technical and technical staff can benefit from this article.

 

Web Search 101

Languages like JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and Ajax, made to create a website’s elements, are not able to be read by the human eye. Hidden in between the lines and behind the scenes, these languages are the control of the website and act as its brain. While the human eye can read websites, the languages that make up the brain of a website are read by the ‘bots’ that are moderated by search engines such as Google and Bing.

Bots are programmed to search the internet not only to read the content and identify the pages of a website but also decide how good a website is and what it is about. Recording all this information into a massive index, a term searched in a search engine with get results in the comparison of the index with the term used.

 

Don’t Trust the Bots

Bots are not entirely perfect at being able to know exactly what a website is about. The code of a webpage is mostly contrived of elements such as content, social media widgets, headers, and footers, etc. To fully understand what a web page is about, bots need to be able to separate the code used to create its elements from the unique images and text. Making algorithmic decisions and judgments, the bots don’t always get it right. If they get it wrong, it could mean one of two things. Either your website was not given position high enough in the index, or that is wasn’t recorded in the index for the proper search terms.

 

Schema is your Friend

The schema.org markup (or structured data) is added to a website to give search engine bots the information needed to know precisely what your web page is about. The code is made explicitly for the bots and is used for two reasons. First, the risk of information going missing is minimal as the bots easily recognize the code. The second reason is that text placed on the webpage tells the bots precisely what it is about.

Schema allows you to list every property that you can use when creating the structured data for your webpage. You can look at the full list of types and each of their properties at schema.org.

There is no limit to the number of blocks of schema you can have on one page. For each product listed on a single page, you can create another block of schema. Be sure to note search bots will likely penalize your webpage if you attempt to manipulate search results using schema falsely. The adequately implemented schema can have your website ranked with Rich or Featured snippets.

Rich snippets are search results that Google has added additional information to, enhancing it organically. These include yellow stars, indicating a review of the website or a search box under some web pages listed in the search results.

Featured snippets appear above and are separate from the organic search results. It is Google’s way of attempting to answering the query typed into the search bar. It appears larger than the search results, with a border highlighting it.  

 

How To Code Schema

Adding schema code to a website can be done in one of three ways: RDFa, Micro-data, or through JSON-LD.

JSON-LD is the route that Google recommends website owners and managers use to implement schema. It may seem more complicated than Micro-data or RDFa, which can be added to already existing HTML tags in the same way as CSS class, but JSON-LD is separately created from the original block of HTML generated for the web page. Across an entire website, implementing schema through JSON-LD is easier to manage, not needing to weed through your already existing block of HTML code.

To help you create a valid code and test it before implementing it on your webpage, there are some useful links you can use. When making a website for several different blocks of schema, using a JSON-LD Schema Code Generator is very useful. WordPress also has plugins for your site that can help you code schema for different blocks on the page.