When building a website, it is best to give people and search engines plenty of information about it. Where people are concerned, letting them know what your site is all about encourages the right people to click on your link. For the search engines, it gives them the information they need to know for your site to be listed in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
There are various ways of achieving this, perhaps the most common being keyword usage. There are also meta tags and descriptions that give explanations of what your content is about. Another, perhaps more advanced type is schema markup.
Schema markup is often overlooked because of its apparent technical nature, but it’s still very beneficial to use. So, what is it, how is it beneficial, and how do you add schema markup to your WordPress website?
What’s Schema Markup?
You’re likely already aware of rich snippets. If you aren’t, rich snippets are a type of schema markup that tells Google what to display when your website shows up.
Schema markup can also give Google more information about the context of your content. Let’s take for example a website that sells toys for your pets to play with, including toys for mini-pigs. Search terms like “mini-pig toys” will bring up just that, but there’s a problem — the search can also bring up results for pig toys, as in toys that are pigs. Instead of getting results for toys they can give their mini-pig to play with, they will instead get some results for George and Peppa Pig soft toys.
Alternatively, you might publish case studies on your website that will help you to demonstrate your value to website visitors that are considering your products. Again, it will be good to clearly explain the context of the content so your readers know exactly what it’s about to avoid any confusion, that’s customer value management. Let them know it’s a case study and that they should treat it as such.
This is where schema markup comes in — it allows you to provide Google with more context for your content so it knows when your website should be shown, and to whom, as well as the right information to display in the SERPs.
Schema Markup Types
There are literally hundreds of different markup types, so all but the most obscure categories should be available. There are more being introduced all the time, and you can find the full list here.
Some of the most common types include:
Author: This markup allows you to tell readers that a person or company is the author of a particular piece of content.
Events: A useful markup tells readers that your content is related to an upcoming event.
Local Business: Local businesses can use this markup to ensure that details such as opening times and their location are displayed in the SERPs.
Recipes: A lot of people turn to the internet for recipes, making this markup very useful indeed.
Article: This markup tells readers the content is an article and allows you to add information such as the title, the publisher, and the rating.
How Is Schema Markup Beneficial?
It’s best to give Google and the other search engines as much information about your website as you can, and schema markup helps you do just that. This helps to let them know that your website is relevant to what people are looking for and more relevant than other websites that might otherwise be shown.
There’s also the click-through rate (CTR) to take into account. A high CTR tells Google that a lot of people are clicking on your website from their search results. What’s more is that because schema markup helps provide more context, your website is more likely to contain what people are looking for. This, in turn, means they are more likely to click through to other pages on your site, increasing your CTR further.
Google likes websites with a high CTR. It tells them that people have found what they are looking for and this is entirely what Google is about. Thus, a high CTR tells Google that it’s in their best interests to show your website when people use the right search terms.
How to Add Schema Markup to Your WordPress Site
So, we’ve ascertained that schema markup is a good thing for your site, but the coding aspect will probably sound a bit daunting for a lot of people. The good news is that there are ways to avoid having to do the coding yourself. There are four main ways to achieve this:
- Add it via your theme,
- Dedicated markup plugins,
- The Yoast plugin,
- Or with Google’s structured data markup helper.
One of the reasons for WordPress’ popularity is the availability of templates — ready-made websites that can be modified to suit your preferences. All you need to do is add your own content. WordPress templates come with a variety of features making them suitable for a wide range of needs, from the basics of content management to the advanced features that are suitable for large and highly functional websites that get a lot of traffic.
One popular template is the aptly named theme, The Schema. This theme has an options page that allows you to add information about your website, and this information will automatically be added to your website as schema markup — no coding required.
There are light and premium schema themes to choose from, with the light version being free, but you really need the premium theme to take advantage of schema markup and the other powerful SEO features the template offers.
You might be wishing you were told about the schema theme before you built your site, because changing themes can be a huge hassle. The good news is that it’s still fairly easy for you to add schema markup to your site without having to change themes at all. This is thanks to the Schema plugin or the Schema Pro plugin, which you can easily download and install into your existing WordPress theme.
The schema theme has a number of features available that help you add schema markup to your WordPress site with relative ease. A free version of the Schema plugin is available, although many people are likely to want the premium version that offers features that include support for different Schema.org types and the ability to enable schema markup anywhere on your content.
There is no free version of the schema pro plugin, but it offers even more advanced features for people who are looking for more advantages to get ahead in the SERPs.
The Schema plugins can be downloaded and installed the same way as any other WordPress plugin:
- Go to Plugins>Add New.
- Search for the plugin you’re looking for.
- Once you’ve found it, click “install.”
- Once installed, click “activate.”
There’s a good chance you already have Yoast installed or that you are at least aware of it. For those who aren’t, Yoast is a popular WordPress plugin that offers a wide range of features that help you optimize your website for SEO. The plugin is widely considered to be an essential tool to have if you are to get ahead in the SERPs.
Schema markup is available with the free version of the Yoast plugin, although the premium version offers additional features that will help you rank better in the SERPs. Yoast schema markup doesn’t offer features that are as advanced as the ones that come with the dedicated plugins, but it is still more than enough for most people’s needs.
Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Another option is to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. This tool will allow you to add schema markup to content by providing your URL or your content in HTML form. You then get to select how to mark it up from the various schema markup options given. The markup helper allows you to highlight content and assign markup tags to the content, and you can add multiple tags to different parts of the same content.
Once you have finished marking up your content, click the “CREATE HTML” button and the helper does just that — it generates the content with the schema markup code included. You can then download a file that is automatically generated and post the content straight into your WordPress website in the HTML section where you would usually add written content.
The job isn’t quite done. It’s also a good idea to check the content to see that it works as it’s supposed to. Google comes to the rescue again in this regard with help from the Structured Data Testing Tool. The tool allows you to add a URL or the code you want to check, and then it generates results that show you just how the content will show up in Google.
When it comes to SEO it’s a good idea to look for any advantage you can gain above the competition. Even the smallest of advantages can be the difference between your site being clearly visible toward the top of the first page and being hidden away on the second page or lower. One way to gain an advantage over the competition is to use schema markup, and a study from 2017 showed that only around 30% of websites use the tool.
A lot of people might shy away from using schema markup because it sounds complex. In reality, it can be a lot simpler than you might think. Regardless, it is certainly worth the effort because using schema markup right can help to send a lot more good quality traffic your way. This is because schema markup helps your website rank higher and because it encourages the right people to click on your site when it does show in the SERPs.