Schema, also known as structured data, in it’s purest form is the organisation of information to make it more readily accessible and available. It’s a tool used by website owners to improve the presentation and prominence of their website in the search results.

But why should you care if it’s organised as long as it’s visible?

Well, structured data is a valuable SEO tool and when implemented correctly, it can increase both your visibility and click through rate (CTR). This guide will talk you through implementing some of most useful structured data for your website through Schema and why it’s increasingly important to do so in the fast paced world of today.

No schema markup? A missed opportunity

In the summer of 1986, the film ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ premiered stateside. A little over a year beforehand the first commercial internet top-level domain name (TLD) .com was registered and by the end of ‘86 there were still just over 50.

Fast-forward thirty years and the latest figures from Verisign are that 329.3 million domain name registrations exist across all global TLDs at the end of 2016.

Of these millions of registered domains when researched in 2014, only 0.3% were making use of the Schema tool according to Searchmetrics. This was despite over a third of Google search engine result pages (SERPs) incorporating rich snippets supported by Schema.

This research demonstrates the lack of domains that incorporate Schema and therefore miss out on SEO potential.

Sending all the right signals with schema markup

If you haven’t heard of Schema before don’t worry, you will already have seen it in action on the SERPs. When properly added to your HTML, Schema markup (or other structured data) will enhance search visibility for users by producing knowledge graphs, rich and featured snippets.

schema markup movie structured data

The screenshot above shows an example of a knowledge graph down the right hand side, which is used as a summary to enhance SERPs. Likewise rich snippets enhance a search by presenting additional information to normal such as a star rating often seen for a film, restaurant or attraction. Seen in the top left of the above screenshot.

In addition to improving how your page displays in the SERPs, this organisation of data helps increase search engines’ understanding of your site’s content and identify relevant information faster.

This results in more search engine-friendly signals triggered for your business and content, which can indirectly impact search rankings and improve visibility.

Speed is key

A real importance is placed on speed for good SEO which Impression has previously discussed, summarising a talk from Brighton SEO on site speed.

In an age when so much is so instantly accessible and dictated by pace. Instant messaging. Bullet trains. Speed dating. Society becomes less tolerant to waiting as everything around us becomes faster and more efficient.

Ferris Bueller famously said in the 1986 classic “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

And this is even more apt in today’s world, structured data allows search engines and people to find what they are looking for faster. For instance, when searching for a product and the SERPs display many links, but one offers the price of said product, as well as a 4.6 star rating. This added content not necessarily provided by higher ranking pages, tells you the information you care about instantly, preventing the need to search through a site for it, likely increasing CTR.

But if you’re not utilising SEO tools like Schema when people “stop and look around once in awhile” your site will be missed!

How to implement Schema on your website

Which Schemas should you use on your website?

Granted, there are many to pick from and determining which ones to use can be difficult. So in this guide we will run through the best for your business.

Before that though, a great tool if you’re new to structured data and not feeling confident to write your own microdata is the schema generator. Which after choosing from a list of Schema options (covered in this guide) and populate appropriate information, constructs JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) for you to implement yourself. This can then be checked in a testing tool before adding to your HTML.

Organization Schema Markup

The Organisation Schema markup should be put in place by any business. It helps generate positive brand signals which can enhance your Knowledge Graph entry and website snippet presence in the SERPs.

By making the basic business information such as logo, social links and contact number more accessible, while promoting better branded search in SERPs as mentioned previously with the introduction of the knowledge graph.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<script type='application/ld+json'>
{
"@context": "http://www.schema.org",
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "Example Store",
"url": "https://www.example.co.uk/",
"sameAs": [
"https://www.facebook.com/example.co.uk/",
"https://twitter.com/example",
"https://www.youtube.com/example"
],
"logo": "https://example-logo-here.png",
"description": "Example description of business services and products.",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"streetAddress": "123 Example Rd",
"addressLocality": "Nottingham",
"postalCode": "NG1 1AA",
"addressCountry": "England"
},
"geo": {
"@type": "GeoCoordinates",
"latitude": "52.5555555",
"longitude": "-1.55555555
},
"openingHours": {
"Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr, Sa 09:30-18:00"
},
"contactPoint": {
"@type": "ContactPoint",
"telephone": "+44 (0)123 456 7890",
"contactType": "customer Service”
}
}
</script>

Schema Local Business Markup

Local Business Schema markup should be used by any business with a physical address to impact local listing and become more visible.

This Schema becomes increasingly useful if said business has multiple stores/ addresses. By specifying the address, opening hours, contact details and payment types accepted etc. for each store, these are recognised as stores in their own right and begin to rank independently of the main site. Meaning the most accessible store will be listed based on location. Speeding up the whole search experience for the user.

It’s worth noting that there are also industry-specific Schemas, such as AutomotiveBusiness, SelfStorage, TravelAgency and many more.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<script type='application/ld+json'>
{
"@context": "http://www.schema.org",
"@type": "ExampleStore",
"name": "Example Store",
"url": "https://www.example.co.uk/",
"sameAs": [
"https://www.facebook.com/example.co.uk/",
"https://twitter.com/example",
"https://www.youtube.com/example"
],
"logo": "https://example-logo-here.png",
"image": "https://example-image-here.png",
"description": "Example description of business services and products.",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"streetAddress": "123 Example Rd",
"addressLocality": "Nottingham",
"postalCode": "NG1 1AA",
"addressCountry": "England"
},
"geo": {
"@type": "GeoCoordinates",
"latitude": "52.5555555",
"longitude": "-1.55555555
},
"openingHours": {
"Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr, Sa 09:30-18:00"
},
"contactPoint": {
"@type": "ContactPoint",
"telephone": "+44 (0)123 456 7890",
"contactType": "Customer Service"
}
}
</script>

Schema Product & Offer Markup

Used together, the Product and Offer markups can help the user find important specific information in the SERPs, including price and status on a product. Google understands and displays this additional information thanks to the structured data markup on a particular product detail page.

The screenshot below from a Google SERP taken on May 19, 2017 shows such additional information. Notice the film has been rated 40 times on the Barnes and Noble site for an average rating of four point six stars out of five. It is currently priced at $6.29 and available in DVD.

schema markup ratings

For a user who is interested in purchasing to see an appealing price in the SERPs immediately gives an advantage to that website for making the information available faster.

It’s important to note that the Offer markup is required in order for the price to appear in Google SERPs. Further, for the Product Schema, only the “name” property is required. Whereas for the Offer Schema, the “price” and “priceCurrency” properties are both required. The latter “priceCurrency’ tag, is often overlooked and not implemented in the product template page on the CMS.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
<h1 itemprop="name">Ferris Bueller</h1>
<span itemprop="description">Teenaged Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a legend in his own time thanks to his uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away.</i></span>
<span itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
<meta itemprop="priceCurrency" content="USD" />
Buy New: $<span itemprop="price">6.29</span>
<link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/InStock" />
</span>
</div>

Schema Rating Markup

As with the Product and Offer markup the Rating Schema offers additional enticing information immediately for the user in the form of star rating rich snippets in the SERPs.

This schema is primarily used on e-commerce sites but can also be used for a local business site, such as a restaurant. When an item has multiple ratings that have been averaged together to produce an aggregate rating, then it would enhance the site to use the AggregateRating Schema.

Google assumes the use of a five-point scale, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. If you use anything other than a 1–5 scale, you’ll need to indicate the highest possible rating with the “bestRating” property.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Thing">
<h2 itemprop="name"> Example </h2>
<div itemprop="description">Ultra interesting. Super impressive.</div>
<div itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating">
<div>Book rating:
<span itemprop="ratingValue">9</span>
<meta itemprop="bestRating" content="10"/>
<meta itemprop="worstRating" content="1"/>
based on <span itemprop="ratingCount">20</span> ratings
</div>
</div>
</div>

Breadcrumb Schema

The breadcrumb Schema enables you to add a breadcrumb trail rather than a single URL in SERPs. This not only looks a lot more attractive and organised but is especially useful on mobile. Users can navigate all the way up in the site hierarchy, one level at a time, by starting from the last breadcrumb in the breadcrumb trail.

The screenshot below from a Google SERP taken on May 22, 2017 shows a correctly implemented breadcrumb structure (second line). The difference is noticeable when compared to the above screenshot from the Barnes and Noble site.

schema markup breadcrumbs

To implement this hierarchy would require a considerable commitment in development as it needs adding at the correct places in the templates along with testing.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<ol itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BreadcrumbList">
<li itemprop="itemListElement" itemscope
itemtype="http://schema.org/ListItem">
<a itemprop="item" href="https://www.ebay.com">
<span itemprop="name">Home</span></a>
<meta itemprop="position" content="1" />
</li>

<li itemprop="itemListElement" itemscope
itemtype="http://schema.org/ListItem">
<a itemprop="item" href="https://www.ebay.com/dvds-movies">
<span itemprop="name">Activewear</span></a>
<meta itemprop="position" content="2" />
</li>

<li itemprop="itemListElement" itemscope
itemtype="http://schema.org/ListItem">
<a itemprop="item" href=”https://www.ebay.com/dvds-movies/dvds-blur-ray-discs">
<span itemprop="name">Tops</span></a>
<meta itemprop="position" content="3" />
</li>
</ol>

Site Navigation Schema Markup

The Site Navigation markup can help search engines’ understanding of your site structure and both user and search engines navigation. Again allowing for faster more direct access to the required information, improving the digital customer experience.

This can be implemented by pasting a specific piece of JSON-LD code to your master template.

<ul itemscope itemtype="http://www.schema.org/SiteNavigationElement">
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-1/">Category 1</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-2/">Category 2</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-3/">Category 3</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url"
href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-4/">Category 4</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-5/">Category 5</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url"
href="https://www.example.co.uk/category-6/">Category 6</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url"

The future of schema markup

The six schema markups discussed in this guide should be seen as essential for any business, especially an ecommerce site.

Although implementation of all six would require some time investment, the potential rewards from organising your data in this way are more than worth it. Enabling both search engines and users to navigate and find the required information faster is proven to increase CTR, sometimes by as much as 30% according to Search Engine Land.

As the concentration of information, domains and competition continues to grow and the world around becomes even faster, a continually greater demand will be placed on websites to organise and deliver the correct information faster.

In line with this demand, the importance of structured data continues to rise with John Mueller of Google previously hinting at the search engine leader’s intentions to include structured data as a ranking factor in their algorithm. In the future as this happens, websites that invest time and effort into correctly implementing Schema now, will be set to reap greater rewards.

Today, adding structured data will give an SEO advantage over rivals in SERPs and likely CTR off the back of this. All because the additional data available to users will make them “stop and look around once in awhile”, even when life’s moving pretty fast.

Darol Lucas

SEO Executive

I'm an SEO Executive at Impression, where I enjoy implementing the latest technical strategies for our clients to help promote and grow their businesses online.

4 thoughts on “A Schema Guide for a Fast Paced World

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  4. AvatarGajanan Patel says:

    Nice Example for Organisation and Local Business Schema in Jason, Please Provide Jason code for Products, Breadcrumbs and Review ratings.

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