Having great schema markup can put you ahead of the competition, so why is it one of the least used forms of SEO? Something that became clear in last week’s #Semrushchat was that there is a lot of interest in schema, but many didn’t understand what it was or found it too complicated to use.
Structured data is absolutely worth the time and effort. Creating detailed schema feeds search engines with more nuanced information about your webpages and enhances the rich snippets, which can make your pages appear more prominently in SERPs.
To tackle this subject and give it the full attention it deserves, we had not one, but three very special guests join us for #SemrushChat: CEO and co-founder of Schema App, Martha Van Berkel, digital marketing expert Jason Barnard and CEO and founder of the agile SEO platform RankSense, Hamlet Batista.
Take a look below at the insightful advice and valuable tips given by our guests and community, and let us know what you think in the comments.
Are you currently using schema markup on your site’s pages? If so, which markups are you using?
- “Of course! We optimize key information on our website @schemaapptool. This includes Organization, BlogPosting, Product/SoftwareApplication, ContactPage/Contact Point, FAQ, Videos...” — Martha van Berkel
- “I have had lots of success with the Yoast plugin for FAQ using this technique: How to Create Google Friendly FAQ” — Jason Barnard
- “All the Schema all the time. Of course. The question should be why are you not using it?!”
- “JSON is my mark up weapon of choice. And appropriate schema for the content, Events, company, breadcrumbs (they are underused!!)” — Simon Cox
- “Yes. The most used: Website, Organization, Breadcrumbs, Services.” — Heba Said
- “Yes, For Articles, Products & Reviews.” — MahdiAli Khanusiya
- “We are not - our site is hand-coded and adding it to our site would prove difficult. Ideas anyone?” — IntelliCentrics
- “@IntelliCentric Try using JSON-LD markup. It should be simple even if your site is hand-coded.” — Hamlet Batista
Learn About Structured Data and Google
In this webinar, Paul Lovell, Jono Alderson, and Martha van Berkel look closely into structured data outside of the Google Developers` guidelines and the types of structured data Google rewards web pages with enhanced search visibility features.
Schema: What tips and resources would you recommend to those who are just starting to learn about it?
“We do a lot of education on schema markup. We offer a free email course to learn the basics. I would also spend time really getting familiar with the Google documentation, and then going to read the examples at the bottom of the page on the class pages at schema.org/Article. Together they tell a story.” — Martha van Berkel
What to Know About Schema
“It depends on how you learn best. If you are like me and learn best by doing, I highly recommend:
- Reading on the basics.
- Browsing the gallery of what is possible and
- Trying this codelab from Google https://bit.ly/2vU5WEv” — Hamlet Batista
Remco Tensen, explained, “I hate to do coding. But the logic in schema is so easy, I like checking what's new and how I can use it. I recommend looking for examples. look for basic schema added bij plugins and sites when http://schema.org lacks examples.
Use Google's structured data testing tool, (or some other brand's). But beware that a lot of warnings are false positives, like in any one-size SEO tool, and are not a true reflection of how the search engine machine itself handles the microdata.
Also, keep in the back of your mind that a CMS might throw up false-positive errors and warnings too if specific microdata isn't recognized as standard. Double-check how the output is handled with a good tool to make sure you're not panicking over nothing.
And don't worry: Google won't punish bad form. If something is wrong, you might not get a specific effect, but you won't be punished. Unless you are obviously overdoing it with schema spam.”
Learn Schema Markup Essentials
In the video below, experts Judith Lewis and Andrea Volpini, dive into Schema markup essentials and discuss the most important things you need to know to successfully implement structured data on your website.
What are the challenges of schema markup? What could be changed or simplified?
Hamlet Batista said,"Some of the biggest challenges are around nesting elements correctly and figuring out the right values to use for certain attributes. Also dealing with attributes that are required but are not visible on the page.
There is some overlap between HTML5 semantic tags and schema tags. For example, <article>, <nav> vs. schema.org/Article and schema.org/SiteNavigationElement.
Maybe, we could use semantic tags instead of schema when applicable. See W3 Schools Semantic Elements.
- “I would like to see more examples at Schema.org for implementing different types of Schema. There are some, but I think there would be more adoption of Schema if there were more fleshed out examples.” — Bill Slawski
- “@bill_slawski Amen! Totally agree. I have challenged my team to start publishing our more complex examples, our own Schema.org example list :)” — Martha van Berkel
- “Getting developers to apply it automatically & explaining the schema concept to the client about how it is another facet in defining content for better relevancy for content spidering for SERP's.” — Alexis Huddart
- “As with many SEO tactics/enhancements, the difficulty can often be explaining benefits to clients and implementation to dev resources. Some will get it, others will resist.” — James Leisy
- “S-L-O-W and error-ridden writing by hand.” — Jason Barnard
What tools or plugins do you use to implement schema markup?
- “Schema App Tool Editor and Highlighter of course! Why? No code, automatic deployment, all schema types, great support, and proper connected markup for simple and advanced content types. We also use Schema App WP Plugin for our blog = Free.” — Martha van Berkel
- “We use Yoast, Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP and I have heard great things about SchemaApp. I like that they are effortless as they plug into the CMS to get what they need.” — Hamlet Batista
- “Use https://schema.org/Thing for reference, and I have used this plugin for WordPress sites . For other sites, it is getting developers to add Schema Markup into the code.” — Alexis Huddart
- “If your site uses Craft then @nystudio107 has built a brilliant schema plugin for it. Really takes the grunt out of the setup and running.” — Simon Cox
- How Website Speed, SEO, Content, and Schema Affect Rankings [STUDY]
- Taking Your Schema from Developer Led to Marketing Led
More Types of Schema Markup: Do you think this will make webmasters’ lives easier or harder?
To keep up with different forms of Schema, keep an eye on the Organization of Schemas and the types Google breaks down here.
“More types of Schema and more complex Schema could mean a steeper learning curve, but if it adds more value in terms of richer results & augmented search queries, it can be worth the effort.” — Bill Slawski
- “I think these new challenges will breed new opportunities for SEOs and business owners. It wouldn't be an exciting job without so many changes happening all the time!” — Hamlet Batista
- “I am excited for new types of content that can be optimized, especially in niches like health and finance. More features mean more opportunity, so overall = Good news. Depending on the team’s tools, knowledge and time to learn/test it can be good or bad!” — Martha van Berkel
- “Barrier to entry will seem higher. Will probably demotivate some. For those already on the bandwagon, this is a more (welcome) opportunity to express themselves.” — Jason Barnard
- “We think it'll be a combination of both. It would make their lives easier because having more types of schema could be beneficial for different types of websites. On the other hand, it would make it harder because it's more to think about, implement, and test.” — Tallwave
- “This is why it is critical to get out of plugins and explore the entire Schema library for properties in your respective type. The more familiar you are with the library, the easier your life will be marking up!” — Matthew Silva
Structured Data for the Knowledge Panel
In the video below, Paul Lovell, Jono Alderson, and Jason Barnard delve into the types of structured data that will help with the Knowledge Panel and brand-related SERPs.
What is your experience using schema?
How have you found using schema markups? We would love to know more about your experience. Tell us in the comments below what has worked, what hasn't, or what tools or plugins you would recommend to others.
We would like to thank our participants for taking part in last week’s #Semrushchat, and don’t forget you can join us every Wednesday at 11 am ET/4PM BST.