Why do 0.3% of sites use schema markup when some form of schema is in 36% of Google search results?
What is Schema Markup?
A few years back Google, Bing, and Yahoo realized that they could produce better search results if websites were more clear about the content on the page. They formed the site schema.org to list schemas that defines the structured data needed by search engines. This data has proven itself useful and other search engines like Russia’s popular Yandex search engine has joined the initiative.
Why Should I use Schema Markup?
Schema markup makes proven, verifiable improvements to search results. By adding schema markup to you site you can:
- Display breadcrumbs that appear in Google search.
- Include your business phone numbers and hours of operation in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
- Show off reviews and star ratings.
- Attract potential buyers by displaying product information like price and availability.
- Potentially gain more sign ups to your event.
Google does not officially use schema markup to rank one site above another. I don’t think most SEO experts would go as far to say they do either. Sites that rank better are the ones that have more attention paid to improving the content and the user experience. Part of making those improvements is that you include schema markup in your site. And these improvements have paid off. A recent Searchmetrics study of 50 million domains found that the average ranking for domains with schema markup was 21. Sites that did not include schema markup had an average of 25. Despite these obvious benefits Searchmetrics found that most sites do not use schema markup.
This metric is astounding when you remember that they found that schema appeared in 36% of search results. There are a couple of reasons why this number is so high:
- An education problem. Many web designers and web developers building sites today do not about schema markup.
- Most existing tools do not automatically generate schema markup.
- The markup can impact the entire design of a page. This is not usually the case but it is not impossible.
- Web teams may only include them as part of a paid SEO service.
- Not every schema defined on schema.org visible impacts search results.
- Not every schema has an example nor a clear explanation for how search engines may use the information.
- It will take days or weeks for changes to possibly appear in search engines. They may never appear.
Does my site use Schema Markup?
You can check to see if your site uses schema markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. You’re going to want to see results that specifically mention schema.org or data-vocabulary.org in them. This tool also lists Google Authorship information and Facebook open graph information (saying something like rfda-node) in the results. This information is not the structured data that search engines are looking for. Those are useful tools for social media marketing that you should also include. Just don’t mistake them for structured data needed for search engines.
Thank you and keep building your brand.