Not the Red-Pen Kind of Markup: All Things Schema
Strong content is content that goes through markup before you hit publish. I’m not talking the red-pen markup your high school English teacher was fond of–though, if we’re honest, a lot of online content could benefit from such treatment. After you edit content from your latest copy or ad writer, you aren’t done with markup duties. When entering content onto your website, use schema coding to increase search engine optimization.
What is Schema?
Schema markup is coding that is included with the rest of the code for your pages. The purpose of schema is to communicate information about structured data on your pages in search engine relevant ways. While Google and other search engine spiders are powerful analytic tools, they aren’t human and they don’t always have the ability to determine content via context. Schema markup is like the flag man at the airport—it waves the spiders in the right direction and helps them navigate your site for better ranking.
Schema doesn’t just highlight specific bits of content; it also defines the content for a search engine. You can define a name by telling the search engines this person wrote the article on the page. You can also define phone numbers, addresses, products, locations, and events, making Schema an especially strong tool for local content marketing. Other common schema types relate to creative works, such as movies or books, health and medical terms, and organizations. Internet Marketing Ninja Ann Smarty recommends sites use schema to define videos, review data, and articles too.
Schema for Non-Coders
Schema is written as code, but you don’t have to be a coder to implement basic schema on your web pages. Schema.org provides hundreds of examples of schemas for various types of structured data. Content marketers with some basic understanding of webpage coding can copy those schemas into appropriate areas within site database files, adjusting the code to reflect actual pages and objects on the site.
DIY schema coding isn’t for everyone, though, because fiddling with the code on your site can break things. Breaking your site or a large number of your pages and links is even worse for SEO than having a site without schema at all. Some platforms and templates include options for schema, letting you fill in blanks or make selections to activate code already present in the template. Another option is to work with an SEO expert or website developer that can implement schema on your site.
While the use of schema markup has seen exponential growth since 2011, as of late 2014, only about 21 percent of pages used the coding even though schema does improve page ranking. John Mueller of Google even hinted that the search engine could make structured data markup an official factor in ranking soon. Getting on board with schema now puts you ahead of the race to the top of the search engines.
Sarah S knows that markup is important to great content, which is why she loves working with professional editors and site coders to develop pages that press all the right SEO buttons for clients.