Jade Coleman explains why schema mark-up is essential for e-commerce websites and offers her top technical SEO tips for keeping up to date and ahead of the competition.
What are Schema Mark-up, Structured Data and Rich Snippets?
Schema mark-up is code that you put on your website to help search engines such as Google provide more detailed results to users.
Structured data for websites refers to any data within a fixed field within a web page.
Schema is a set of vocabulary tags that can be added to the HTML of a website to structure the data and provide additional information so search engines can understand the content.
The way the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) display your marked up data are called rich snippets. Adding the schema mark-up to a website enhances the way your page is displayed in the SERPs in the form of rich snippets. It has been reported that enhanced listings can increase click-through rate by as much as 30%.
There are many different uses for schema.
For users, rich snippets produce useful information that can help the searcher with specific queries. For example, a snippet for a recipe page might show the total preparation time:
A product page snippet might show the price, stock levels and reviews:
For Google, rich snippets enable the SERPs to display enhanced listings and can assist algorithms to better index and understand the content of the page. Here's what Google has to say:
Including structured data mark-up in web content helps Google algorithms better index and understand the content. Some data can also be used to create and display rich snippets within the search results.
Benefits of Implementing Rich Snippets
It can be very beneficial for an e-commerce website to implement schema mark-up for rich snippets, some of these benefits include:
- Drawing a user's attention to your relevant result
- Providing instant information as related to the search query
- Increasing click-through rates
- Reducing the amount of bounces due to searchers finding the content they were looking for.
There are many different items on a website that can be marked-up with schema. The most popular for both e-commerce and lead generation websites are displayed below:
How To Implement Schema Mark-up
Adding schema mark-up to your website requires development. It’s important that what you mark up on your website is appropriate for the content.
The schema.org vocabulary data can be embedded in an HTML page using Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD formats.
- Microdata and RDFa allow you to define new HTML attributes, which allows you to specify what schema.org field names correspond with what is visible from the page.
- JSON-LD is the most recent and said to be the simplest mark-up format for the schema.org vocabulary. With JSON-LD you can implement a section of JSON data inside a script tag anywhere in the HTML. JSON-LD script can sit away from the user-visible text HTML, therefore making it easier to implement.
Google has technical and quality guidelines for structured data; these can be found on the Google Developers website.
Google’s structured data mark-up helper can guide you on how to add Microdata to your HTML. First you have to select a data type from a list of 10 and then add the URL of the page that you would like to start tagging. After highlighting various data items, including name, image, description etc, the tool will create the HTML for the website.
Monitoring Your Schema Mark-up
Monitoring and checking for schema errors can be done several ways.
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool allows you to input any new code containing the mark-up into this tool and validate it. If you already have structured data on your website but would like to edit it then you can fetch the URL of a page beforehand and it will display any errors that need fixing.
It’s recommended to monitor the errors with structured data on a regular basis; this can be done in the structured data report in Google’s Search Console. This will give you the different data types used on the website and whether or not the mark-up has any errors.
Not sure how to implement schema mark-up or what information to use for your rich snippets? Contact our technical SEO team today.