Eight reasons schema tags are important for SEO and how to implement them

Mike Erlindson

When Google crawls your website it can gather a lot of information about the content. It can associate a list of keywords to the screen and it can tell how important keywords may be depending on emphasis, H1, H2 or H3 tags. It can also determine the relationship between keywords with other keywords on the screen.

The search crawler may also understand meaning for the specific keyword itself. However, the search crawler won’t necessarily understand the context of the keyword in relationship to the screen content. And it won’t understand if the keyword is attached to an action. This is why schema.org was created.

Schema.org was created in a partnership by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex to make it easier for search engines to understand your content. Schema tags are referred to as a vocabulary that gives your content meaning. Schema tags can be used on everything such as recipes, product information, cars, job postings, financial services, educational institutions, geography, music and reservations. The full list of schema classes is exhaustive and covers nearly every industry.

The use of schema tags is the next logical step to make search engines smarter. The following is a list of reasons why you should be using them:

  1. The major search engines created the schema.org standard. If they think it will make your site easier to understand then you should be using it.
  2. Schema tags will make your content more prominent in search results.
  3. We’ve seen a bump in search results listings for sites where we’ve implemented them. According to a recent report sites that use schema tags rank four positions higher than sites that don’t.
  4. Currently less than one percent of websites are using schema tags. This is a great opportunity to improve your rankings versus websites that don’t use schema tags.
  5. Schema tags are used to display rich snippets in the Google knowledge graph on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). They allow users to access your content with one less click.
  6. You can add a search for your site directly on the SERPs which also gives visitors faster access to your content.
  7. Schema tags allow search engines to compare and display similar products and services. As Google evolves it will be easier to compare your products or services with competitors directly in the search results.
  8. Schema tags can be used to display dynamic content in email. This increases customer engagement.

Examples

If you search for “all recipes banana cream pie” the ratings, cooking time and number of calories appear on the search results page.

AllRecipes.com schema data displays ratings and recipe information.

AllRecipes.com schema data displays ratings and recipe information.

A site search appears for Houzz in Google search results.

Houzz Search in Google Search Results

Houzz search in Google Search Results

Ability to track flight status from the Air Canada SERP listing.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 3.30.34 PM

 

Email sent from Air Canada contains dynamic content using the Flight Reservation class.

Air Canada email with schema tags.

Air Canada email using schema tags.

How to Implement Schema Tags

There are a number of ways to implement Schema Tags. Start by reviewing which schema class is relevant to your content.

Once you’ve determined the relevant schema class you’ll need to implement on your website. This will likely require programming knowledge. You can research implementation on the Google Developer Website.

There are, however, options that do not require programming knowledge. Some content management systems such as WordPress have templates with built-in schema tags. These usually cover blog-focused content and cover things such as title, publication date, author and description.

Another option for non-programmers is to add the tags using Google Webmaster tools using the data highlighter tool. You can see a video on how to use the data highlighter on the video below.


Please note this method only helps with Google. It will have no effect on Bing or Yahoo search engines.

Need help or advice?

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Do you have any insights or questions? Please participate in the discussion below. We’d love to hear from you.

About The Author

Mike Erlindson is the President & CEO of Soulfx Technologies. He manages the design and development teams and has worked on hundreds of projects for clients in a wide range of industries. He previously worked at the Southam Infolab, Cyberplex and was Senior Producer of The Toronto Star Online.

He’s been both an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario and an Associate Professor at Centennial College teaching classes on User Experience Design and Client Service for Technology Consultants.

His entire career intersects content and technology. Always on the cutting edge, his masters degree research paper about online newspapers won the top award of his graduate school class.

Mike can be found at:

About Soulfx

Soulfx specializes in digital strategy, user experience design and cloud software development. Our software applications help clients become more efficient which increases revenue and decreases costs. Client industries include health sciences, pharmaceuticals, financial services, insurance, government and education. Contact Soulfx or call 1-877-827-4555 xt. 228