Rich snippets, schema, rich results, markup or structured data - whatever you call it - adding extra code that sits in the background of your site can help search engines to determine the structure of your website pages.
This means that the search engines can display more 'rich' detail under your search results listing and users can make more informed choices about which links to click, in turn reducing bounce rates.
Take the example of a restaurant. Using schema you can tell the search engine whether you take bookings, what you serve for breakfast, and whether you offer drive-through service, without it needing to crawl your site for answers.
Schema markup uses a common language with consistent headings and categories so that your website content can be uniformly understood by different search engines. You specify the correct logo, social media channels and latest reviews to be displayed alongside your business listing.
The relevancy of your website matched to key terms is what the search engines are interested in. They want to connect users with the content that answers their query in the shortest time. With schema what you are in effect doing is highlighting and underlining the key information about your business.
You can add schema to your homepage or you can target key pages with specific markup. Back to the example of the restaurant, on the page about lunch service schema can help point out the average price of a main course, the key dishes and lunch service times.
A question often asked
Google views each search as a question. Adding structured data to your frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages helps to clearly label to Google:
1) what the question you're answering is, and
2) the answer!
FAQ snippets have many benefits. Firstly, your search engine result will take up more physical space on the search engine results page (SERP), pushing other results down out of the viewport.
Secondly, it provides more information than just the standard meta title and description for the page. It gives you more opportunity to 'wow' and get customers to click through to your website.
Finally, the fact you're offering so much more information instils a sense of reliability in your brand before the potential customer has even had to click.
So what you're saying is...
Schema markup also helps voice assistants answer questions. Taking the FAQ schema one step further, you can tag sections of content as 'speakable'. In this instance, smart speaker devices use this structured data to answer questions on a specific topic.
Whatever your thoughts on voice search use, it's clear that if you provide this extra information to the search engines, then your answer is more likely to be read out than if the code is not present.
Why is Matt from marketing getting involved 'code-side'?
There are two reasons why schema gets me excited - sad, I know. Number one is, it gives you some control over what information is served by the search engines about your business.
If SEO is an art and a science, schema markup is the science bit. In the same way that you have brand guidelines and usage instructions for your logo, the schema allows you to specify how information about your business is displayed to potential customers.
If the marketing department is the 'brand police' for printed brochures - checking to make sure the correct text and logo are used, markup allows you to do the same with digital assets.
The second reason is nerdy. I make no apologies, but I am a bit of a control freak and putting things in order makes me happy. Seeing rows of structured code, labelled data, and everything in its place give me the same sense of satisfaction as writing a neatly tabbed HTML email or arranging a shelf of books in height order. I do stop short of grouping colours!
If you are less sad than Matt and would like a chat about how we can take care of this code on your behalf and other SEO marketing for your website get in touch with the content marketing team. Call 01202 684400 or email [email protected].