If you had asked me that last week, I would have said, “Sure. Use Schema. It’ll improve your rank in search. Google likes it. It helps them better understand what your page is about and they can pull all the pertinent info from your meta data. It’s the bomb diggitty.” (Does anyone say “bomb diggitty” anymore?). Then, Backlinko analyzed 1 million Google search results to figure out which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings.
[Digression: Backlinko always makes me think Plinko. Which makes me think The Price Is Right. Which makes me think of Bob Barker. I miss Bob. Drew Carey is fine, but really if someone is going to tell me to spayed or neuter my pets, I’d rather it be Bob. That said, I haven’t watched The Price Is Right in a while, so I have no idea if that’s still a thing or if Mr. Carey uses the closing credits to encourage you to support something different, if he has his own pet project to promote. See what I did there? Digression over.]
Backlinko article, in summary, is full of great information based on a TON of research. Read it. Twice. For my purposes, I just want to talk about what they had to say about Schema.
Schema Doesn’t Impact Your Rank In Search
Schema and Structured Data Markup are code snippets you put on your website to help search engines return more informative search results.In other words, structured data helps search engines understand your site’s content.
Schema Markup has been touted as a way to significantly improve your search ranking. Except, as it turns out, it doesn’t. The folks at Backlinko discovered Schema has little to do with rankings. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a silver bullet for propelling your site to the first page of Google. Useful, in-depth content and solid backlinking from lots of authoritative websites are still the best way to go (no shocker there).
So, while it doesn’t seem to help in any discernible way (at the moment) to improve your search rankings, there are really good reasons to use it.
Why You Should Use Schema
I’m doing a very shallow dive on Schema Markup, so if you’d like a more detailed overview and some concrete examples of the ways Schema can be used for SEO, Tony Edwards, over at Search Engine Land wrote a great article breaking down the different types, as well as provided a trove additional resources. Go there.
Schema is a great way to organize meta data. Well-organized meta data that is pulled into the SERP helps customers gather more information at a glance. And anything that improves your customer’s experience is good for your business.
Let’s say you add Schema Product & Offer Markup or Schema Rating Markup to your site. Now, you can show customers–in the search results–product information, including price, where to buy, and how well it’s rated by other customers.
People are scanning search results, quickly gleaning as much information as they can, looking for the link that they’ll deem “most likely to succeed” (in providing the info they seek). Giving customers a descriptive overview increases their confidence that they’ve found what they’re looking for.
In addition to providing your customers helpful information, Schema can be another tool in your marketing arsenal. Product Schema lets you funnel customers to specific products. If you’re selling three types of coolers, but there’s one you want to promote over the others, you can set up the markup language, so customers who search for “coolers” see that product you’re promoting in their search results.
Make Sure Your Schema Actually Works
Just a note…It really should go without saying, but I’ll say it: If you add Schema Markup to your website, monitor and test it! Don’t go to the effort of implementing it if you’re not even going to make sure it’s set up properly. It would be wasted time and effort otherwise.
And again, it should go without saying, but don’t get all spammy and go around keyword stuffing your meta data (we stuff things like turkeys, pillows, and a favorite deceased pet (Scrubs fans know what I’m talking about), not keywords). Google has a lot of guidelines on that and has no problem throat punching (penalizing) websites that abuse it.
So, in summary, Schema Markup, while a useful and worth spending the time to set up properly, it will not get you to the first page of Google by itself. It can’t take the place of well-written, useful, in-depth content, but it should definitely be one piece of your overall SEO strategy.
Tools & Resources
Structured Data Markup Report
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Google’s Guidelines for Structured Data —Policies & Rich Snippet Reviews
A Guide To Schema Markup & Structured Data SEO Opportunities By Site Type