Some things catch on like wildfire — iPhones or Gangnam Style. Others take time. Implementation of schema.org markup has grown slowly since Schema.org was launched in mid-2011.
What is Schema?
Schema is microdata and one of many. It is applied to the content on a page to define what sort of content it is. Schema elements and attributes are directly added to the HTML of a web page. Schema is a way of categorizing and specifying content on a web page.
So, specific terms can be defined as entities using the appropriate HTML code. Each entity will have various different properties. Some examples of entities include: books, persons, recipes, events, organizations, etc. Similarly, a book entity will have properties such as author, publisher, and other meaningful details. A recipe entity will have properties including nutrition information, name, description and ingredients.
This is primarily meant for the benefit of the search engine crawlers. Indeed, schema.org is an initiative founded by search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Why Should I Care?
For web developers, the role of schema markup is likely to grow in importance and hence they should care about it. With the growth of semantic search, the role of schema markup will likely increase and more websites will implement schema markup.
The introduction of the Google Hummingbird updates shows the direction in which Google wants to move. Add Google Knowledge Graph and Google Carousel to the equation and the competition between Google and Bing to offer better results for local movie and restaurant searches, and it’s clear why more and more websites will start adding schema markup to their HTML.
Benefits of Schema Markup
SEO is dead. Long live SEO.
Well, of course SEO is alive and well. Only the nature of SEO has changed and search engines like Google have got smarter at detecting black hat SEO techniques such as link stuffing. Schema markup is a great white hat SEO technique that can be and should be adopted.
When you use Schema markup to properly categorize words and phrases on your site’s HTML that helps the search engine crawlers to better interpret the content on your pages. This in turn helps your website beat other websites in the organic search results. Getting a good position in the search engine result page (SERP) organically beats placing paid search marketing any day.
So for long-term SEO benefits, use of Schema markup is definitely recommended.
Search Ranking Benefits
According to a study by Searchmetrics, pages with Schema markup rank four places higher compared to pages without Schema markup. The study also found that the websites related to Movies, Offers and TV series were most likely to have implemented Schema markup. Fewer than 1% of websites integrate Schema markup. But the Google search results show Schema markup-derived information for more than 36% of keyword queries.
Rich Snippets Benefits
When sites have Schema markup, Google shows rich snippets in the search results when content from those websites is shown in the search results for relevant keywords. So you get additional details related to the search phrase and these additional details will include stuff such as show timings when the search is about movies and ratings for restaurants and nutrition, cooking time or calorie information when the search is related to recipes.
One of the reasons for the low integration of Schema markup into websites till now has probably got a lot to do with the fact that this is a manual process and Schema markup needs to be added to each entity on each page.
This is rather labor intensive — especially if a site is a large one with hundreds or thousands of pages. It’s easier to integrate Schema markup with a new website while it is being developed.
As the Web becomes more and more semantic and search engines try to answer search queries that are phrased more like real questions rather than keyword searches, the need for structured data such as Schema markup will only increase.
As we start seeing more and more of wearable devices like Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear, the role of Schema markup will only increase since these devices use semantic search. The use of Google Knowledge Graph and Google Carousel will keep on expanding to include more search categories and since they all use structured data such as those with Schema markup, the value of Schema markup will keep on rising.
So, integrating Schema markup with a website has many benefits with no downsides.