Marking up your content with Schema.org is one of those web practices that you should be doing for the well-being of your site. It's all fair and well telling people that by using Schema.org to mark up your content, it will elevate their rankings and offer them improved visibility on Google. But how exactly do you implement it and where do you start? If you're a layman, you might not understand the intricacies, but that's okay. We're going to run through it with you to give you a little more depth on the subject.
Although there is debate that applying structured data to your website content will help you rank higher in search engines, it's a practice that will help rich snippets appear on your search results. These in turn make your search result more attractive, which can result in a higher click through rate. That's not to say that in years to come that Google won't make it a ranking factor.
These two examples clearly depict the difference between two search results on the same page, the first with rich snippets - more information and validity - the second without.
How To Mark Up Your Pages With Schema
It's not an easy job, especially if you've got a site of hundreds of pages, but it's worth putting in the extra effort if you need to get one up over your competitors. Schema.org has put this guide together that explains how to implement structured data on your sites. As mentioned in our previous blog post, you do need to have some degree of knowledge in HTML so that you can modify the divs on your site without deleting something vital.
Look at these examples that can be found on the Scheme.org site. The first one shows the HTML code without the markup. It's speaking about the movie Avatar - we know that, but search engines more than likely don't, so we need to add a little additional definition for them to understand.
The second example shows how by adding itemscope, we're telling the search engines that everything contained in that div (from <div> to </div>) is about an "item".
The third example shows how we can be more specific about the actual "item" by telling search engines that it's actually a movie by adding the itemtype as contained in the Schema vocabulary.
That's it! That's how you define an item and there are many different items listed in the Schema library. Now you've given Google (or other search engines) so much more insight into what this instance of Avatar is referring to, which will thus offer you more refined results and also more involved search results.
Schema also offers an example of how to markup an event. With dates and times being written in so many different ways, search engines can get confused as to what the number or figures relate to. This is especially beneficial if you're hosting an event that needs more traction and attendees. Using the time tag as well as the datetime attributes will help search engines better understand exactly when your event is due to be held. datetime will always refer to dates listed as YYYY-MM-DD with Schema's structured data, while actual time refers to HH:MM:SS (seconds only applicable in certain instances).
Using a capital T in front of the time in datetime will tell search engines that the characters that follow indicate time - as in the below example:
How Many Pages Do I Need To Markup?
It's important to try and mark up as many pages as you possibly can to get the most value. If you're pressed for time or resources, you can look at the primary pages in your site's hierarchy and deal with those before any of the sub-pages or secondary pages. If you do find that it goes quicker than expected, then deal with the sub-pages too.
You can test the work you've done with Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to verify whether or not it is correct.
It's quite straightforward if you have that understanding of HTML. If not, get someone in the know to help you. It seems a lot more complicated than it is, but once you understand how the code works together you'll notice that it's simply a case of using exact information from a library of resources. And it will become more familiar over time. Here's a great Schema Audit to help you out. Good luck and let us know if you come right.