1. WHAT IS SCHEMA.ORG?
schema.org was an initiative launched by the largest search engine operators such as Google, Yahoo!, bing etc, to create a common set of schemes for structured data markup on websites. Later in November 2011 Yandex which is Russia’s largest search engine joined the initiative. They use schema.org vocabulary along with micro data, RDFa, JSON-LD formats to markup website content with metadata. A lot of vocabulary on schema.org was mainly inspired by earlier formats such as FOAF, OpenCyc etc. schema.org (or just ‘schema’ in short) is nothing but a semantic vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML code to improve the way search engines read and represent you webpage in search engine results pages.
1.1 SCHEMA MARKUP
As a webmaster you are familiar with HTML tags on web pages. An HTML tag tells the browser how a particular snippet of information should be displayed which is included in the tag. For example “<h1>cars</h1> ” tells the browser to display the string “cars” in a large bold text. Here cars could mean anything from the vehicle car or a train car to the Hollywood movie cars. Basically the HTML tag gives no information about the text or the string means. So this makes it difficult for a search engine to provide accurate results from a search request that seems quite vague. This is where schema markup comes into play.
schema.org provides a set of shared vocabularies that website developers can use to mark up their webpages such that the ambiguity of the search request is reduced and such that it can be understood by major search engines such as Google, Yandex, Yahoo! etc. Basically webmasters use the schema.org vocabulary along with the Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD formats to add information to your Web content.
1.2 MARKING UP CONTENT USING MICRODATA:
Any webpage has an underlying meaning that can be understood after reading the contents of the webpage or maybe even by merely examining its content superficially. However when it comes to search engines, there is a very limited understanding of what is being discussed on those pages. By including additional tags to the HTML of your webpages you can help search engines understand your content better. For example if your website provides information about vehicles then adding tags which tell the search engine that “This website contains information about cars, trucks, bikes, their BHP etc” will help search engines understand your content better. This increases your websites relevancy with respect to the search request.
For example if you own a website that is based on science and explains scientific theories by famous physicists and scientists, your HTML might look something like this:
<span>Director: Stephen hawking (born january 08, 1942)</span>
2. UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURED DATA:
Search engine bots works hard to understand the content of a web page. You can help the search engines by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to them by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a standard format using which it can be made easier for search engine bots to understand the content as well as context of your page. Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general. Google also shows additional information about your content directly in the SERP via rich snippets.
Rich snippets are basically the additional information that you see in the results when you search for something. For example:
- Star ratings
- Related events
- Even timings
- Related articles etc
Basically rich snippets are the visible results of structured data that appear in the SERP.
2.1 DIVING DEEPER INTO STRUCTURED DATA:
There are three structured data formats:
- MicroData (based on HTML)
- RFDa (based on HTML)
- JSON-LD (based on java script)
2.2: A SIMPLE EXAMPLE OF STRUCTURED DATA:
The above snippet is an example of JSON-LD structured data which describes a particular car which is the Aston Martin Vantage. It also describes that it is a 4 wheeler sports car. Thus this gives information to the search engine to better understand your website. This way if someone searches for car, four wheeler, sports car or Aston Martin vantage or a review about the car, your website is qualified and relevant to be shown on the SERP.
3. IS SCHEMA MARKUP VITAL FOR GAINING TRAFFIC?
Schema markup plays a vital role in gaining traffic. Adding Schema markup to your HTML improves the way your page displays in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title.
In the above given example, the search request was “The Da Vinci Code”. We can see that the first result contains both a star rating and the date of publication. This snippet provides very little but very vital information about your website. The second result however does not contain this information. A user is more likely to click on the first result as it seems to have the information the user is looking for.
Schema markup also tells the browser or search engines what your website contains and has to offer. This way the search engine knows what your website contains and will display your website on the SERPs when any search request with relevance to your website comes up. In addition, one study found that websites with markups rank an average of four positions higher in the SERPs than those without markups. Retail firms can achieve up to a 30 percent increase in organic traffic just by using structured markups
In conclusion larger number of rich snippets increase the click through rates increasing the overall traffic to your website.
4. HOW DOES LUMINATE.AI HANDLE THIS?
As we’ve read earlier in the article Schema markup is microdata that you can use to help search engines parse and understand your website’s information more effectively.
Luminate provides automatic schema markup feature that automatically detects entities in your website and adds the schema tags and rich snippets for these entities. As a result of this, entities are easily understood by the search engines or other information retrieval systems. For example in a website about Metal bands, Luminate detects the key words and adds schema.org markup to your website adding snippets such as bands performing, event times etc. This obviously impacts the SERP in a favorable way by improving the semantic visibility of the content. So if the search query is a semantically nearby word to the concept being mentioned in the content – the chances of your page impression in SERP increasing is high.
In conclusion Luminate assists a website to appear higher in the search engine index and increases the click through rate of your website by adding snippets and tags to your websites.