You might not know this, but Schema.org was launched as a collaborative effort between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, with Yandex now adopting the language too. It's purpose? To create a standard set of formatting options for webmasters, allowing them to categorize web information effectively for search. Search Engine Journal delved into approximately half a million domains and tens of thousands of different keywords in an attempt to verify whether or not Schema markup has any bearing on rankings. Although their discovery sessions found that few people were making use of Schema markup, their findings were indicative of favorable results for those who did.
Keywords Integrated With Schema
Of the results that were studied, almost 40% of Google keyword search results incorporated Schema markup. Considering that many businesses aren't making use of this standardized formatting taken from Schema.org, it's impressive that almost half of actual results are. Their findings also indicated that sites like Amazon and Wikipedia have their own way of creating structured data markup, so if you include these results, the amount of keywords with some form of formatting markup increases to 65.6%.
This diagram below was taken from Search Engine Journal and it clearly depicts which entries were most featured in search results with structured data markup. As you can see "offers" comes in at number two, clearly depicting how businesses are leveraging off this standardized formatting to promote their service or product related offers.
Rankings For Sites With Schema And Those Without
The sites relating to the top 50 keywords in their study were analyzed to test out the theory that sites marked up using Schema.org integrations would rank higher than those without. Their findings showed that sites with Schema.org formatting ranked on average four positions higher than those without. While we can't be sure that these results are directly related to Schema.org markup, one can assume that they do contribute to the overall positive performance of your site. It's another action to check off on your list when ensuring that your site is optimized for search, not unlike ensuring that your page load time is quick and your title tags are written correctly.
Read up more about the different types of structured data markup.
Marking Up Your Site With Schema.org
Marking up your own site is fairly easy if you have a basic understanding of HTML. If not, you can always get a developer or digital professional to help you. There are specifications on Schema.org to follow and you can also consult Google Webmaster Help for more guidance on implementing structured data directly. Using my own experiments as a test case, it was a matter of days after marking up content that the additional rich snippets appeared on my search results. If for nothing else, it provides a more comprehensive search result that attracts more attention and should result in a higher click through rate.