You're probably thinking to yourself, "What is Schema, and why should I bother with it? I'm already blogging....what more do you want from me?!"
Having structured data is an integral part of a robust on-page optimization strategy, which is one of the pillars of an SEO strategy. While many of the tried and true on-page methods are still very much valid today, as Christian Arno says in his blog post, it's still wise to think about ways to set your content apart from the others in the search results. One of the ways you can do that is through the use of Schema markup within your content, which can impact the click-through rates (CTR) of your listings in the search engines.
What is Schema?
Structured data is a way to add HTML attributes to the code of a page, in order for search engines to understand what the content on that page is about. The big search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex, use this markup to enhance the display of their search results, which in turn help people find the right pages. A collection of these schemas are found on schema.org.
Now, search engines can do just fine understanding what your content is about without structured data, but search robots might pass over data that could set your web page apart from others in the search results.
Schema.org lists hundreds of schemas for any type of situation, but some of the more common schemas include:
Here's an example of how schema markup can give rich snippets to the search results, as you can see in this screenshot of a search for the movie "Evil Dead":
While using schemas in your content won't necessarily lead to higher rankings, as explained in this video by Matt Cutts, Google's head of webspam, this markup can increase the CTR of your listing in the search results. In fact, check out this case study on seo-chicks.com that shows how adding product schema increased the average CTR for one of their clients.
How to Add Schema to your Content
Let's talk about a couple of ways to add schema markup to the content on your website. I understand coding to an extent, but I would usually rather find a tool to help me implement changes to my website with minimal effort. There are a couple of options when it comes to adding structured data to your content, including the Schema Creator and the Schema Creator WordPress plugin, both by Raven Tools.
With Schema Creator, you can choose from six schema types, and simply fill out a few fields in a form to create the microdata. When all the fields are filled out, the right HTML will be provided to you.
Get started at schema-creator.org.
Schema Creator WordPress Plugin
If your blog runs on WordPress, Raven created an awesome plugin to help you add schema.org structured data to your content. A few of the features of this plugin include:
- Shortcode functionailty
- Editable schemas
- Form-based editor
With this plugin, you get an icon right above your text editor. When you click the icon, you can select a schema type, fill out the fields and the correct schema will be automatically inserted into the blog post.
This plugin is free, and can be downloaded at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/schema-creator/.
Do you have any success stories from adding schema markup to your content? Share them in the comments!