How Schema & structured data can increase your ranking
May 21, 2015 - Marketing
Structured data is getting much popularity day by day, search engines like Google and Bing are continually suggesting webmasters to implement a structured data markup into their websites. Despite that, you would find a few websites that have seriously taken semantic markup into account.
The Majority of webmaster find it difficult to apply all the necessary structured data attributes, but it is required for them to understand the value of it as structured data helps in improving search ranks and organic traffic of a website.
This article will show you the good reasons to start using schema markup for your website. But first, let’s understand about structured data:
Structured data is a markup code that helps search engines to understand the contextual meaning of any information provided on the webpage. It can serve a webpage’s information in a meaningful way to a user for his convenience, for example a rich snippet of a webpage on Google.
Structured data can be divided into four categories:
Microformat is a type of semantic markup that adds Meta information and some other features into a webpage by reprocessing existing HTML code.
Microdata are HTML 5 attributes that appends built in semantics with a webpage to make it easier for a search agent to understand the meaning of information.
Resource Description Framework Attributes or RDFa is a type of structured data that injects some attributes in XML and HTML documents for the convenience of search engines.
In the beginning, major search engines were using these three structured data markups, however, they still use these for the sake of old websites. But they wanted to establish a common set of semantic attributes that could be used universally. So, they invented schema.org,
Let’s get a better understanding of it:
On 2 June 2011, Google, Bing and Yahoo launched schema.org that is a semantic markup standard, which helps a web crawler to interpret any website’s content correctly to deliver better search results. Schema structured data can improve the way your website appears in search results by improving the rich snippet.
Here is the sample code of Schema
<div itemscope itemtype =”http://schema.org/Movie”>
<span>Director: <span itemprop=”director”>James Cameron</span> (born August 16, 1954)</span>
<span itemprop=”genre”>Science fiction</span>
<a href=”../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html” itemprop=”trailer”>Trailer</a>
Here ‘itemscope’ specifies that the HTML code in the <div>…</div> tag denotes a particular item (in this example it is Movie). The ‘itemprop’ describes the property of that item, such as Name, Director, Genre etc.
When you implement schema markup code you should validate it with Google structured data testing tool to check whether the code is right or not.
Correlation of Schema Markup with Search Rankings
The Schema does not affect your website’s organic ranks directly, but interestingly there is a great correlation between schema and SERP rankings.
Schema markup decorates your website listing with rating, reviews, price, votes, testimonials etc. This extra bit of information makes your website listing look attractive to users, thus more people click on it.
Let’s compare two examples to understand it efficiently, here is a website search result that doesn’t use schema markup:
You can clearly see that this website doesn’t provide any extra information that can help a user instantly with cooking “Paneer Tikka”.
Now look at this example:
In this example, you can observe the extra information like ratings, votes and time to cook the recipe. This information is pretty useful for users as it helps him to know more about the recipe without clicking on a search result.
This decorated rich snippet does a couple of good things that improves the ranking for your website, here are those things:
Improves the CTR (Click Through Rate)
Schema markup improves the CTR for your website by making your website listing appealing & meaningful to users. Through schema you can show valuable information of your webpage instantly which helps users to decide whether to click or not to click.
Enriched user experience
As I mentioned earlier, the schema markup makes your website listing look beautiful to the users. But that is not the sole aim of schema; it also allows a user to get the valuable information up front, without making a click.
You can build a decent authority among all websites by implementing schema markup. I told you in the beginning of this article that a very few websites have implemented structured data so far, this creates a chance for you to take advantage of the schema. By applying semantic markups you can improve your brand’s trust value among users and take your website to a whole new level.
Better user experience leads to better user engagement. As your website search result looks appealing and meaningful, more users tend to engage with it. Google is constantly working on providing better search results. You can help them by using schema, and reap the benefits from Google.
But how can you contribute? By adding schema markup into your website that provides beneficial information in advance. Schema provokes a user to click on a listing; hence you get quality visitors on your website. Furthermore, more user engagement sends a positive signal to search engines that your website is good and delivering the information that users need.
The deduction of this article is quite clear, structured data doesn’t affect your website’s ranking directly, but it increases the CTR, user engagement, traffic and reputation of your website which sends some positive ranking signals to search engines. These positive signals help your website getting top rankings and traffic.