When you type in a query in any search engine, sometimes you see only generic text results; but most of the time you will be seeing rich snippets in different formats, depending on the kind of search query. All this is made possible by a concept called “Schema.”
Schema: What it is?
Schema is nothing but a structured data vocabulary defining the relationships, actions, and entities on the web pages, emails, etc. It is because of schema that search engines get to know the meaning of all the subject matter so that they can present that in a better way in the result pages.
The search engines will usually crawl the content and the web pages of your website, but they won’t get the data easily, like the number of reviews, who you are, your location, what exactly you do, etc. Schema will help inform the search engines where all this data is.
Reasons to not ignore Schema:
Adding schema may not guarantee an improved ranking in the search results, but it surely betters the author rank and markup. It is not difficult to get the schema markup done; after all, you will get the following benefits:
You will be highlighted in the search engine result pages for review schema markups and author with rich snippets.
You will take in more data over a period of time, in your platforms and applications. Businesses that will have schema markup data will get benefited as it will be integrated very easily.
If you want your data in a structured format, just follow the schema.org markup conventions; then even other third party applications apart from Bing, Google, etc. will easily pull your data.
The working of schema
The work of schema is generally based on identifiers. In this process, you add a specific markup to your data to tell the crawler what exactly is it and they will classify it accordingly. There isn’t any universal schema but it has different types that include organization, person, local business, etc.
In every block, you mention what your schema is all about. Is it about any event? Is it about any place or a person? When the search engine understands the type of schema you are referencing, the next step will be about the different attributes and elements that will be displayed.
Identifying schema and structured markup
You should not jump on implementing the schema concept for your website, first find out whether any schema exists for your website, and then confirm how much of it is present. You will come across hundreds of tools that will help you in this task; one of the best ones is Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It will do the following things:
Finding out whether there is any schema in your web pages.
It will also identify whether any parts of schema are missing, and are there any errors in the schema markup.v
Another good tool is the Schema Scanner which will check your website “page-wise” for schema and also find if any page has incorrect or missing schema markup. The process of identifying structured markup is easy, just enter the webpage URL and you will see a tab giving info about the structured data if it is there.
Google uses the markup format of schema.org to find structured data and also errors if any such is present. If it does find any errors then you should take the following actions:
Dump all of that erred data and start building it again; that is if you have the resources and time.
Fix the existing schema and then add any new data to markup on it.
Schema is second only to Open Graph among all forms of markups when it comes to popularity, then came the Twitter Cards and Microformats.