Schema (Schema.org) is a semantic vocabulary of microdata (or tags) that you incorporate into your HTML code to help search engines to interpret and rank your page in SERPs.
There was significant collaboration between search engine companies Google, Yahoo! Bing and Yandex and Schema.org was the result. What it does is to help users provide the right information to the search engines to interpret and understand web content. This then goes on to help them to accurately deliver your content in search results as well as possible.
By adding Schema markup to your HTML code, you allow your content to display better in SERPs because you are enhancing the rich tags or snippets that display below your page title. So depending on what you want to highlight and appear, you can choose to add Schema to your rich snippet to display a review star rating and publication date to show your fresh content. Without it, Google may choose to display your meta description instead.
So for example, to get a review rich snippet, you would use the following code:
<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>[Aggregate rating given]</span> stars –
<span itemprop=”reviewCount”>[Number of reviews]</span> reviews
If you want to generate your code within your HTML, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
What is the difference between microdata, structured data and Schema?
Structured data works to pair a name with a value to help the major search engines to more easily index your page and content.
Microdata is a form of structured data. It works with HTML5, and Schema works to provide a set of definitions for microdata tags.
Schema and SEO
When you create your content, you can use structured data to mark up all sorts of different items. You may want to highlight a particular product that you are promoting, or highlight an upcoming special event that is time critical for bookings etc.
Most content creators use structured data to provide readers with more information without having to include it within the text on that page. So it could highlight anything from examples of creative work, information about a person or speaker at an event, provide more information about a place – anything extra that is important and related to your content.
Which search engines currently use Schema?
The co-collaborating major search engines that are using Schema are Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex. In fact, the Schema vocabularies are currently being jointly maintained by these companies. It is unclear or uncertain whether other search engine providers are using Schema markup to display their search results, but if they aren’t, it is likely that they will in future.
What about Open Graph?
The social media giant Facebook currently uses Open Graph markup to parse out their information. This helps them to sort out what descriptions and images to display on feeds. Open Graph is not quite so advanced as Schema, so doesn’t carry the more highly detailed list of options that Schema has. The great news is that both Open Graph and Schema can be used together, so combining the two should provide much better value and higher quality targeted information to news feeds.
How does structured data affect rankings?
So far, there is no conclusive proof that structured data improves rankings, despite many experiments and in-depth discussions by analysts. However, there are indications that search results that include rich snippets created by using Schema appeal to the user and encourage a much higher click-through rate.
The best thing to do right now is to do an n = 1 experiment using Schema markup to see how your customer base and target audience responds to your rich snippets.