A beginner’s guide to schema markup for SEO

What is schema?

Schema is a type of structured data that allows search engines to better understand a website, page, or elements on a page. Schema markup is code that can be added to a website to define specific types of information and data. The schema allows search engines to understand and display specific pieces of information in the SERPs, known as rich snippets. These rich snippets are visual and can increase click-through rates as they make your web page stand out from others.

Different types of schema

There are hundreds of different types of schema. Which you use will depend on your type of business, what information you have on your website and what you want to promote within the SERPs. Some of the most common types of schema markup include:

  • Organization
  • LocalBusiness
  • Review and AggregateRating
  • Person
  • Q&A / FAQ
  • Products
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Events

What schema should I use?

The type of schema markup you use will be determined by a few factors.

Firstly, your business type. What kind of business you are? If you are a local business mostly serving a geographic area, you should start by using the LocalBusiness schema as this tells Google you operate locally. Whereas if you are an online ecommerce store, you would be more likely to use Organization schema to highlight key contact information.

Secondly, what kind of information do you have on your website? Do you have Q&A or FAQs? Do you have products? Do you have reviews from Google or use a third-party review website like Trustpilot? Do you run courses or events? This information can all be marked up with schema.

How do I generate schema and add it to my website?

Once you’ve decided what information you want to mark up, how do you go about getting the schema code? And how do you add it to your website?

To generate the Schema code, you can go to the Schema.org website and find the type you are looking for. This can be a bit overwhelming, so an easier way to create the code is to use one of the ‘schema markup generator tools’ that are available online – these create the schema for you. There is also a Google markup tool you can use to help create schema based on page items. You can also take a look at one of our previous blog posts by my colleague Sara to see examples of what the schema code actually looks like.

Schema is available in different formats; JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. At Artemis we use JSON-LD for all of our clients.

Once you have the code ready, you can test that it works in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Run the schema through the code snippet and it will highlight any errors or warnings. Once any errors or warnings have been fixed, you are ready to add the schema to your website. We would recommend testing the schema again once it is live.

You can also monitor schema in Google Search Console, and there have recently been some new reports launched that allow you to keep an eye on the following; FAQ, how-to, events, products, logo, recipes schema and more.

Examples of rich snippets in Google

Here’s a few examples of websites using schema effectively, producing rich snippets in the SERPs:

1. John Lewis using Product and Review schema to highlight price, availability and product rating:

 

2. Into The Blue using FAQ and AggregateRating schema:

 

3. Songkick using event schema for upcoming concerts:

 

4. BBC Good Food using recipe schema:

 

Schema can be a bit fiddly at times, but the more you use it, the easier it gets. If you have any questions about schema or would like some help with adding schema to your website, we’d love to hear from you.


Why does UX matter so much on mobile?

In today’s blog, Artemis SEO Manager Kerry Jones examines website user experience (UX) and takes a closer look at why it matters so much on mobile.

Your website may be responsive, but is it truly mobile-friendly?

With Google’s switch over to mobile first indexing, user experience on mobile devices has become one of the most important factors to consider when optimising a website.

“The limited screen size on mobiles has required a complete rethink as to how content is displayed on websites. Google is adapting its search results based on how mobile pages are set up. As Google’s understanding of how users interact with mobile pages improves, an increased focus on mobile usability is absolutely fundamental for search success going forward. With the Chrome browser, Google has usability data across all pages of a website. Mobile usability is a key factor in 2019.” Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Artemis

Mobile vs. desktop

With an increasing number of searches performed on mobile vs desktop over recent years, now is definitely the time to take action on mobile to improve it as much as possible.

You might be thinking “how does this apply to me when 80% of my traffic comes from desktop?” Well Google will still index the mobile version of your website first, meaning that desktop rankings are deciphered from mobile and if your website doesn’t provide a good mobile user experience, then your desktop rankings are likely to suffer.

 

How does Google know if a website provides a poor user experience?

Google has access to website usage and engagement statistics, including the average time users spend on page/site, page interactions and bounce rates. If these statistics aren’t as good as your competitors, then Google may favour those better performing websites.

Things to consider on mobile:

  • Does the website load quickly in Wi-Fi as well as 3G and 4G?
  • Is the header condensed for mobile? Or does it take up the whole device landing screen forcing users to scroll down to see content/images?
  • Is the menu visible on all pages? Are all key pages accessible from it?
  • Is content readable or too small?
  • Are contact and sign up forms optimised for mobile?
  • Is the search functionality visible and does it use typing suggestions?
  • Does the website make sure of read more tabs where necessary to prevent endless paragraphs of text?

There are various ways you can review your mobile usability:

  1. Firstly, perform some tasks on your mobile that you would expect your customers to do, for example, adding a product to cart and going through the checkout process, or filling out a contact form to see if there are any obvious issues.
  2. Check for any mobile usability issues reported in Google Search Console. This section will point out instances whereby clickable elements are too close together, where the content has fallen off the screen, plus much more. You can also run the website through the Google Mobile-Friendly
  3. Run a Google Lighthouse report on the website. This will provide speed improvement recommendations as well as accessibility, best practice and SEO considerations.
  4. Set up Hotjar heatmaps to monitor mobile user behaviour and see what people are clicking on and how far they are scrolling down the page. Record users to find any common pitfalls or annoyances. Take a look at our blog post on how to turn visitors into customers on Hotjar here.
  5. Review Google Analytics for high exit pages on mobile devices, then go and check these on mobile to find out why users are leaving the site.

Google’s Playbooks for retail or lead gen websites are great resources to refer to whilst reviewing the UX of a website.

If you’re interested in ensuring your website has a UX that is optimised for mobile, Artemis offers a mobile first audit.