Updated January 10, 2023Reading Time: 3 minutes
A Map for Your Search Engine
Schema wants to become the skeleton that holds up SEO. Schema is a psychological term used to describe a kind of rapid profiling that the takes place in the brain in order to understand something. For example, if you’re about to walk out of the office and some people walk in with wet coats and umbrellas, your brain immediately thinks that it’s raining.
You don’t think explicitly about the rain, or run through other various scenarios, you jump straight to the most likely conclusion. Your brain fills gaps with what it expects to see. Similarly, schema on websites provides context and an easy way for search engines to better understand and index the Web’s content.
The Schema used in SEO has the same purpose. The idea is that you’re putting out some easy to read directions that tell the search engine exactly where it needs to go to get information about your page. Instead of it needing to crawl every single line of code to try and establish context, you are pointing it to what it needs to know.
This enables the search engine to more rapidly read your website and verify if it contains the information that it’s looking for. The idea behind Schema.org is to create a standardized language for website code, that makes it easier for web developers to do their jobs. A kind of Esperanto for the internet.
Schema Your Way to the Top
If you have done any coding or played with WordPress, you will be familiar with HTML tags like <h1>. This tag, if either side of a word, indicates that the word inside it is a header, and should be read first by the search engine. But it does not give any context about what the heading means.
<h1> New Bows in Stock <h1>
This heading could be talking pretty pink bows to hold back a girl’s hair, or it could be talking about a hunting bow for next year’s deer season. All the search engine knows is that it is the most important thing on the page. Schema helps to solve this problem by adding context to the words, speeding up the time it takes the search engine to read your page. Much like alt text explains an image.
Using the example above your HTML would look like this:
<h1>New Bows in Stock</h1>
<span>Look at this seasons girl’s hair ties</span>
<span>Pink Girl’s Hair Accessories</span>
Adding extra information improves the quality of information the search engine can provide to users and decreases the number of irrelevant visits or clicks your website gets, but it is still difficult for the search engine to work out exactly what you mean as it has to read all of this information and then categorize it itself.
If you use schema you would highlight your text like this:
<div itemscope itemtype =”http://schema.org/Product”>
<h1 itemprop=”name“>Look at this seasons girl’s hair ties</h1>
<span>Director: <span itemprop=”color“>Pink Girls Hair Accessories</span>
See <a itemprop=”sameAs” href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_tie”>wikipedia entry</a> for more details.
Here you have told the search engine that the page is talking about a product, the product’s name, and color and linked to a page defining the product. This background information makes the page a lot more reader friendly for the search engine, speeding up the process dramatically. By linking it to the wiki page for hair accessories, the search engine automatically knows it does not need to show your page to someone searching for hunting tools.
A Note on AMP
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is another type of schema, designed to improve mobile performance. Google has recently been pushing AMP along with Schema as AMP is a way of increasing mobile search speed. While AMP may soon be out of date (based on recent comments from Google) its a sign that frameworks like Schema are here to stay. You just need to make sure you’re picking the right one.
What’s A Schema?
Now you have some information on what Schema is, and why it’s going to help your page rank higher, you need to know how to do it. Stay tuned to find out more as we publish more information about implementing Schema marketing. Can’t wait? Then check out the Schema.org site and work through their instructions.