Posted on May 9, 2013 by
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Using structured data is a useful way for search engines to understand what your website is about. The code not only provides context but when implemented correctly can also make your website stand out in the results via displaying Rich Snippets.

rich snippets

Marking up particular sections of your pages using Schemas from Schema.org (the plural of schema is schemas, not schemata, as far as Schema.org are concerned) is particular good for SEO because it is recognised by the major Search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex and can help with increased click through rates from the snippets visually standing out.

Implementing Schemas can seem daunting at first but it is relatively easy once you get into it. For example, if you have a section on a page which is related to a geographic location, you can add a few extra lines of code to each element that relates to a Schema that tells search engines that it is a location.

Below is example HTML of the LocalBusiness Schema giving a business address for a particular location (with the Schema attributes bolded):

<!– Begin portion of HTML with LocalBusiness Schema –>
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<h1><span itemprop=”name”>RocketMill</span></h1>
<span itemprop=”description”>An Internet marketing agency for driving targeted campaigns to increase conversions and visibility.</span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>Unit 26-27 Basepoint Business Centre</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Crawley</span>,
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>West Sussex</span>
</div>
Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”> 01293 265 370</span>
</div>

<!– End portion of HTML with LocalBusiness Schema –>

As you can see the from the highlighted Schema attributes above they provide a context for search engines to understand from the content contained within the element.

A good way to preview (or test) rich snippets is by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. From there you can paste in a URL and see what parts are extracted from a particular page and preview the results as Rich Snippets.

Below are the main types of Schemas you can use to improve results, particularly for a marketing perspective:

Location

Using Schemas to describe a location, especially for businesses, is great for local search. For setting a location for a company/business the Schema to use would be Organization.

You can also use subset Schemas of the Organization schema that provide more detail such as Local Business – Which is good for organisations with branches/offices such as banks or restaurants. You can also find Schemas related by industry such as RealEstateAgent, SelfStorage, even an InternetCafe or a type of FurnitureStore.

Breadcrumbs
mini site links

These are great for displaying mini site links in search results. A very simple one to implement, add itemprop=”breadcrumb” to the HTML containing the collection of URLs. Like so:

<div id=”mybreadcrumbs” itemprop=”breadcrumb”><a href=”#”>Home</a> > <a href=”#”>SEO</a> > <a href=”#”>This page</a></div>

Reviews & Reviews
reviews rich snippet

Visitors seeing the Ratings Rich Snippet (particularly if the ratings are good) can influence click through rates. See the example Review Schema below for rating an individual thing/item/product/place:

<div itemprop=”review” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Not a happy camper</span> -
by <span itemprop=”author”>Ellie</span>,
<meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”2011-04-01″>April 1, 2011
<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>
<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content = “1″>
<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>1</span>/
<span itemprop=”bestRating”>5</span>stars
</div>
<span itemprop=”description”>The lamp burned out and now I have to replace
it. </span>
</div>

For aggregating reviews together you can use the Schema for AggregateRating which looks like:

<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4</span> stars -
<span itemprop=”reviewCount”>167</span> reviews
</div>

Products

Updating your product page’s HTML with an appropriate Schema for products is a great way of providing up-to-date information to be displayed in the search results; displaying info such as the price, availability, and like above, reviews & ratings, etc. Again, increasing click through rates. Below is a sample portion of code using the schema Product accompanied with Aggregated Ratings and a Review:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Sharp R27STMA Microwave Oven</span>
<img src=”sharp-microwave.jpg” alt=’Sharp R27STMA Microwave’ />
<div itemprop=”aggregateRating”
itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”
>
Rated <span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4.4</span>/5
based on <span itemprop=”reviewCount”>38</span> reviews
</div>
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
<span itemprop=”price”>£84.95</span>
<link itemprop=”availability” href=”http://schema.org/InStock” />In stock
</div>
<h3>Product Description:</h3>
<span itemprop=”description”>The Sharp R27STMA is a practical microwave oven with plenty of capacity and features to cater for all your cooking needs.</span>
<h3>Customer reviews:</h3>
<div itemprop=”review” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Great microwave</span> -
by <span itemprop=”author”>Nicckynoo</span>,
<meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”2012-12-15″>December 15, 2012
<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>
<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content = “1″>
<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>5</span>/
<span itemprop=”bestRating”>5</span>stars
</div>
<span itemprop=”description”>I have used it a few times today and so far I am very pleased. Attractive to look at and large enough for our dinner plates.</span>
</div>

In Summary

The best way to learn about using Schemas is to practice on a personal webpage that you have created yourself and use Google’s Structured Data Tool to see what it picks up. Once employed enjoy the many benefits they can bring!

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