As any consumer can attest to, the first search engine results page (SERP) is the most relevant when seeking immediate and reliable results. For businesses aiming to drive maximum traffic, securing a place in the Knowledge Card and among the top organic search listings is invaluable. While the composition of the SERP changes often (like with Google's recent removal of its Right Rail ads), there is still hope for businesses looking to boost their SEO. This hope hinges on a business' ability to speak the language of search engines through Schema markup.
When generating a SERP, it is challenging for search engines to tailor and display results that are both reliable and relevant to a user's request. It is even more challenging to do so when the search engine has to determine the semantic meaning of every web page on the internet. To help search engines correctly interpret content, web developers can supplement the pages they manage with Schema markup to provide explicit meaning and context to search engines.
Schema markup is a common language for describing data on the web that helps search engines understand (and later rank) a site and its content. Composed of numerous tags called Schema tags, Schema markup allows businesses to describe their website content in a way that search engines can understand. For instance, Google may recognize the presence of an image on a business's website, but is not able to discern whether it is the business's logo or an image of its storefront. Yahoo may read a web page containing the keyword 'tombstone,' but how does Yahoo know whether 'tombstone' is referencing the object, the movie, or the pizza brand? Schema markup helps to eliminate this confusion.
Schema.org is a collaborative effort between major search engines to provide a structured framework around which search engines can effectively determine the meaning of a page and its underlying content. By aiding a search engine's understanding of a website through Schema markup, a business not only makes its site more understandable, but simultaneously creates rich content that makes its site more favorable in search engine result rankings.
For businesses hoping to move to, or even move up on, the coveted first page of the SERP, the key is to mark up everything they can on their sites with Schema tags. Some relevant questions to ask when Schema tagging a site:
What do viewers hope to find on this page?
What keywords are related to the site's content?
What keywords are consumers most likely to associate with this business or service?
With over 10 million sites using schema.org to markup their websites, Schema tagging will likely become the de facto vocabulary that search engines will default to when indexing data, entities, and the relationships between them. Despite the power and reach of search engines, they are still machines and not humans, so Schema tags allow businesses to make it clear to search engines what they want to convey in their content.
Using Schema markup to detail the content of a website will make a business easier to find and more favorable in search results. To learn more about using Schema markup, go to schema.org for detailed information on how and why to use Schema tagging, and check out our whitepaper, How To Speak Search Engine, to optimize your business for the age of intelligent search.