One study determined that websites with structured data ranked an average of four positions higher in the SERPs than those without.
And according to Searchmetrics, only 0.3% of all websites currently use schema markup.
So, what does that mean for the remaining 99.7% of us? Microformats and Schemas aren’t anything new – in fact, it has been around since 2011, when Google first introduced the concept of structured data and semantics web in order to interpret content beyond the written word. As it is known in the SEO community, being as detailed as you can on your website always ranks well in Google, and if you aren’t making full use of this to climb up Google’s pages – then your competitors will. This is where microformats and schemas mark-ups can come in to aid search engines understand your website better. In 2019, this will no longer be an option but a necessity.
What Are Microformats And Schemas?
In coding terms, microformats are small HTML patterns that signal information about a website using mainly the class or rel attributes on a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress. Sounds intimidating at first, but Microformats are essentially a vocabulary that wraps your data in order to help search engine crawlers read it and should be an addition to your basic SEO strategy.
A popular example of a microformat that you will encounter on your CMS is rel=”nofollow”, h=”card” and “rel=”tag” – each one having its own specific context and meaning.
Schemas on the other hand are very similar – at its most basic, both schemas and microformats help major search engines such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to quickly identify and understand a person, place, thing, company, product, event or review better in order to provide more helpful results to consumers.
Microformats or Schemas – What Is The Difference?
While microformats and schemas essentially serve the same purpose, they do have their differences.
Probably the most significant one that is useful to know is that microformats rely on the use of prescribed HTML values, whereas Schema information (specifically from schema.org) can be expressed in a number of formats, such as microdata, RDFa and JSON-LD. This means that microformats tend to be more limited in scope than vocabularies like schema.org – which makes schema markup the better choice for expressing better links and relationships between objects on your website.
There has been various debates on which format is the best – and JSON-LD tends to come up on top, mainly due to its ease of implementation. If structured data still sounds like unfamiliar territory, consider engaging a Digital Marketing Agency offering SEO services to start it up for you.
While there’s no link showing microformats and schema directly impacting SEO ranking, there is no doubt that they support your brand’s organic visibility on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) through rich snippets – something that we are about to discuss next.
What Are Rich Snippets?
As Google continues to expand with more brands entering the mix, the competition (and you) will have to find more ways to grab the attention of consumers. In 2019, the secret sauce comes in the form of rich snippets – extra details and information on your site that are displayed as reviews and ratings, person, brand, music and events that appear directly on Google’s SERP. Snippets can come in the form of content and imagery, which Google’s tend to favour – helping you achieve the highly coveted “position zero.”.
Getting Started With Microformats And Schemas
Now that you have nailed down the basics, here’s how you can begin to create your own. The best way to start is to copy and paste the mark-ups provided by Google or schema.org, amending and building on it as you go along. We highly recommend using Google’s Structured Data Tool to check if everything is in working order, as well as any errors that you will need to amend accordingly. Alternatively, a digital marketing agency offering digital marketing services will be able to help you make the transition effortlessly.
The most common types of schemas that you should be comfortable with are:
- Local business information
Which One Is Better For My Business?
Since every business is different, specific schemas can prove to be more beneficial compared to others. For example, majority of local businesses with a physical store can benefit by including business location, images, reviews, user ratings for articles and contact information. If you are organizing any upcoming events, using the event schema markup will be useful in allowing clickable listings of all your upcoming events in a rich snippet. E-commerce stores on the other hand selling products can now provide helpful details regarding prices, stock levels, reviews and promotions that will entice potential buyers to click-through to their landing pages. If you are consistently publishing articles on your website, make use of the article schema markup to boost your content in Google’s newsfeed with proper headlines, an image and the date and length of time since publication.
According to the statistics, 2019 will start off with more than 55% of the sites executing schema mark-ups. While not all businesses are built equal when it comes to microformats and schemas, understanding the basics of how it works and knowing when to use it is key. Our final advice? Start experimenting with schemas immediately and measure the results – improvising and improving as you go.