Intro to Schema
Schema markup is a form of structured data. Structured data is a form of language that is added to the code that communicates information to search engines. Schema was created on June 2, in 2011 from a collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex to create a more information rich and intuitive web. The official Schema website provides resources to learn more and a complete library of schema vocabulary.
What is JSON LD?
Schema can be written and formatted in three primary ways. The first is called Microdata.
Microdata involves placing the schema within the existing code snippets of your website. When using this form, you place the corresponding schemas inside of the opening and closing brackets of the tag that contains the text that you want to identify.
Next, there is RDFa. This stands for Resource Description Framework in Attributes. RDFa is similar to microdata in that the schemas are placed within the target code snippets. However, the grammar, or specific markup language that is used, is different.
How does Schema Markup help my business?
Schema markup was created in order to help businesses communicate with search engines about the processes products services and other offerings that they might have. It also communicates things like information about the business.
as it stands now, search engines just do a very good job of guessing what content is on your website. It takes a bunch of information that it has about your businesses named citations from other websites mentions and content on your website to form a profile of your business. But overall this is still just guesswork and it’s piecing together those pieces about you and do 2 things like density of reference or explicitly structuring URLs and Meta Meta information on the page.
so schema markup takes the guesswork out of this it is structured in a language that search engines inherently understand because that’s what it was created for. So instead of having a contact page with some information that has your phone number and address you can write those words down and then signify that information but with schema markup there’s actually a dress markup that specifically was created to communicate to search engines that’s where your business physically resides and that’s very powerful.
in order to understand how schema helps your business, you have to consider how search engines operate. Search engines, especially Google want to return the most relevant and authoritative information to a user possible. So Google has to understand what your website business and what your content is about in order to return it to the right or Target users. Marking up your website services and brand with schema markup allows Google and other search engines to more specifically understand your business and in doing so they can then return your content or your website for more results and provide a better user experience.
with this increase, the user experience comes better rankings more search visibility and ultimately more revenue and brand awareness for your company that’s the power in schema markup.
all so you can be provided with what are known as Rich Snippets. Rich Snippets are those visual representations of information that you see return in search engines when you type in certain queries. Search engines to better serve users to allow them to consume information in a way that’s more user-friendly.
let’s take a look at the different types of Rich Snippets and how they can help your business
Full local business schema snippet breakdown
Here is an example of a complete snippet of JSON LD schema code that you can use for your own business: [insert image here].
For some of you that are unfamiliar with this language, it might look slightly intimidating. Not a problem, here is the breakdown of what each individual component of the code is, and what information you’ll need to provide to use it for yourself.
This is the name of your organization. Pretty straightforward. As a best practice, write your name as is legally registered.
Price range can be tricky. It should be an indication of how affordable your services are, but deciding on this can be a balance. From the official Schema.org website they describe it as “The price range of the business, for example, $$$.” So for this entry, use between 1-3 of those dollar symbols.
For this entry, you will want to enter in your top level domain. For example “schema.org”. Leave out any subfolders, unless your primary site that you’re marking up lives on a subdomain. Grabbing the URL straight from the URL bar works well, then paste it straight into your code snippet.
The telephone allows Google to better serve contact information to its users and can even potentially appear in search results (include here ) for mobile calls as well. A few things to not when including your number is that Google prefers the number to be written in the following syntax – “+(country code)-xxx-xxx-xxxx or following the structure of your number system if you live outside of the United States. If you are in the United States and live in Washington state, your number would be “+1-360-765-8900”.
The same as property is meant to allow search engines to understand the relationship between your business and it’s overall online presence. This section is to include links to all of your business’ social media and 3rd party local listings. When done properly and if your profiles are consistent, these social profiles can appear in your knowledge graph (show image or link here)
This should be an image that accurately represents your business. It can be your logo but doesn’t have to be. When choosing, keep in mind that this photo will potentially be seen in the SERPS by your audience.
Your description is a summary of what your business is, whom you serve, what services you perform, and where. This isn’t a direct ranking signal, so keyword stuffing won’t get you extra points. But it does help the search engines paint a clearer picture of your company offerings and that can indirectly help your search visibility by allowing your business to start being associated with the correct categories.
These will be the hours that your business is open to the public and has a person that can receive contact working as well. Time abbreviations for days of the week are Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr and open hours are in 24-hour format. So 17:00 would be 5:00 pm. Days and times should be written side by side with a space separator (example: Mo-Fr 12:00) unless you have different hours for different days, then you should use another line.
The URL for your company logo. If you use a cms system like WordPress, this can be found by going to your media library > photos > selecting your photo > then copying the URL that you are given. As long as your site is up and running, your image will permanently live on this URL.
Your physical address has a few different components to it that have to be written correctly to be understood.
- streetAddress – This is the address location of where your company resides. Record this exactly as it would appear on Google maps.
- addressRegion – This is what we would consider a state in the US. In other countries, this could be a territory. Use the abbreviated form.
- postalCode – Your region’s postal code
- addressLocality – This is what city your business resides in
- addressCountry – Your country.
How to include JSON LD markup on your website
It’s a good idea to construct your schema snippet outside of your website in a text editor or word processing document so that you can save it without the hassle of it affecting the surrounding site code. Now that you’ve built out your schema, you’ve got to include it within the site so that it can be crawled.
Since WordPress is the most popular CMS system in use right now (insert stats), this guide will show you how to include schema on your WordPress site as well as how to include the code if you operate a site that isn’t through a cms system.
First of all, power to you for maintaining a site this way. You’re a trooper.
Step 1 – copy your code snippet
Step 2 – open up your index.html document
Step 3 – Insert between the <head> </head> tags of the page
Similar to the manual description, but with a few additions due to the backend of the system.
Also, keep in mind that editing your code as about to be described can break your site when a theme update occurs. So if you aren’t familiar with child themes and why they’re important (link here), you need to stop and go read that.
Or you can use a plugin like this [insert plugin] to insert the code directly into that will prevent the code from being overwritten with updates. However, I suggested the method below when you’ve met the above requirement.
Step 1 – log in to your dashboard
Step 2 – Head over to the tab labeled “appearance” > “editor”
Step 3 – select and open the header.php file
Step 4 – Insert code right after the opening <head> tag
Step 5 – save your work
Validate your code
If you don’t validate your code you will not be penalized. But if it isn’t written properly and doesn’t render correctly to search engine crawlers, you also won’t get the full benefits that Schema has to offer. You won’t be understood.
So after you’ve finished building out your code (or even before) and once you’ve added it to your site, you’re going to want to test it out to see if it’s showing up properly.
First, head over to Google’s own structured data testing tool (insert link here)
Next, enter the URL of your website or you can copy and paste the code snippet directly into the tool. Then click the validate button.
Once the program has crawled the code, look at the panel on the right. Make sure there are no errors or goog won’t show rich snippets. If everything checks out then congratulations. You’ve done it!