Schema markup for SEO

This week, 51 Blocks is taking an in-depth look at the benefits of using schema.org and microdata markups for SEO. As search engines continue to enhance their algorithms, we continue to seek the simple practices of using markups to enhance a websites overall standing.

In 2011, the major search engines--Google, Yahoo, and Bing--came up with the initiative to release schema.org. Since, the HTML markup code can be used in a wide range of areas pertaining to both SEO and Local Search.

What does schema.org do?

It is a simple markup code that basically gives specifications to search engine’s to help them better understand the semantics within a web page’s content. Schema.org and microdata makes it possible for search engines to read things like: testimonials, business addresses and phone numbers, and even video content/subject.

Schema.org in terms of SEO

While schema markup doesn’t necessarily improve rankings directly, it does enhance the click-through-rates that visitors share with your website. We can think of it much like the authorship markup (another microdata code) that gives a website a more visually appealing link in a search result. Furthermore, schema markup allows Google, Yahoo, and Bing to easily understand your content the way you intended it to be understood.

Also, using schema and microdata markups will entice search engines to begin showing “rich snippets” in search engine results. These results can include ratings, and photos that are made possible by using the markup. Recent articles even go as far as to say that adding schema markup to a testimonials section of a website will replace the Google Star rankings as seen on Local Search results.

Videos can also be enhanced with schema.org video markup, as it helps to describe video content on the web. Indexing videos will allow Google to display them as search results for relevant search queries. This has an added benefit of allowing users to discover your videos and watch them on your site. People will also be able to view videos in Google’s video search.

Added benefits of structured data

Search engines scrape the web for structured data, because it enables them to process massive amounts of otherwise unorganized information, and display it in a consistent format to Google/Bing/Yahoo searchers. When you add schema.org markup to your website, search engines directly extract information from your website to be displayed on a search result. The overall picture appears more cleanly, more visibly friendly, and easier to manage.

As Google rolls out its newest carousel for Google Maps, we can see that search engines are looking to find information rather quickly, and with data that is most relevant to the search. The semantic markup improves the quality of the overall search query and the ways by which the search engine reads relevant content information from your website.

In general, schema markup has proven to be a beneficial addition to strict SEO work. While there is no direct correlation between microdata markup and rankings, it does enhance the overall display of your website on search results and the way your website displays useful information.

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