“Schema is a code language that delivers relevant and important information about your site directly to search engine databases.”

Schema is a structured data markup language which was created by the big names in search engines (Google, Yahoo! & Bing) to make it easier to collate relevant information about and from sites. Schema matches particular named categories (determined by the search engine) with values from your site to the search engine’s databases.

The entire catalogue of information that can be marked up using the Schema language can be found on the official Schema website.

This information contributes to the knowledge that is collated by databases. The most popular representation of this is Google’s Knowledge Graph. Google’s Knowledge Graph collects information from authoritative sources like Wikipedia and sites with a strong domain authority and displays this in a prominent position on the search engine results page (SERP).

“Consider schema to be your own guide for Google Yahoo! or Bing on how-to translate and read your website.”

Schema can be used to pull important information about any number of things out of a site and report that information back to search engine databases. For example, Schema can identify information about particular people, like sportstars and celebrities. It can report information about the latest offer on a particular type of product. It can report information on organisations, public and private places, movies, books, etc. The list is pretty long!

How does Schema work?

Schema works by identify the itemscope and then relating itemtypes with itemproperties and indexing the associated information. Check out the table below to get a better understanding of what this actually means.

Schema CodeDescription
itemscopeThis allows you to explain to any robots reading your page what parts of the information displayed on the page are relevant to the property.
itemtypeThis establishes what type of item or thing you are trying to ascribe relevant information to. This includes things like: movies, books, businesses, organisations, people, etc.
itempropThe itemprop then is used to define property that you wish to ascribe information to. Taking the example of a movie this information could include: the director, year of release, genre, etc.

Using these code snippets you can define a whole range of items and communicate information about your business, your website and your webpage in particular that it is typically difficult to communicate directly to search engine databases. Consider schema to be your own guide for Google Yahoo! or Bing on how-to translate and read your website.

How does Schema support SEO?

Schema code is given significant weight when it comes to the algorithm used to determine the rank of pages when being returned for the SERP. Not only that, but it allows you to communicate information more directly through the Google algorithm. This means that there is less room for “interpretation” when spiders are reading your site.

Building authority and credibility

Adding a schema code to your website can significantly improve the way spiders read your website. Using schema code to communicate key information about the purpose of your website to spiders will influence the way your site is indexed. For example, you can associate your business with your website and identify what your primary service is to the spiders. This means that spiders will have a more relevant context in which to place your website.

Not all information is good information. That’s why using advanced schemas is typically reserved for more later stages of SEO projects. There are better things to target early on in an SEO project. Keeping this in mind will help hone your schema strategy.