Schema.org For Busy Professionals

Beat the #1 search result on Google

Schema.org metadata is a standard agreed upon by all major search engines to give content creators the ability to describe their content with more than traditional meta title & meta description we’ve used for years.  This encourages rich search results like this one:

What is schema.org? An example of rich search results
An example of rich search results

Best of all you only need to be able to type and follow directions to get started. 

Why should I care about Schema.org metadata?

Adding Schema.org’s metadata improves a site’s probability of showing up in a search engine’s rich results which significantly improves the click through rate to your funnel.   These rich results also offer the opportunity to rank above the coveted #1 search position. Examples include breadcrumbs, site links,

corporate contacts,

events,

Rich Search Results Event Example
Rich search results event example

recipes.

Rich search results recipe example
Rich search results recipe example

How much is adding Schema.org support going to cost me?

There’s no cost to participate, and in most cases your content management system, like WordPress, already contains the data needed.  The only cost is figuring out what to add, writing it up, & adding it to each page.  For a typical 10 to 20 page site curating and adding Schema.org metadata will take 5 to 10 hours.  For a more detailed estimate contact me with your project details.

What Schema.org metadata should be added?

The metadata and schema you choose depends on the content you’re working with.  For this blog post, I used QAPageQuestion and AcceptedAnswers. You could read through the reference links below to find just the right data or you could cheat off my homework with these 3 easy steps to find what Schema.org metadata you should use, I won’t tell:

  1. Google around until you find a couple rich search engine results, like a recipe, answer to a question, definition, or whatnot that relate to what you’re trying to accomplish.
  2. Copy & paste the URL of those pages into Google’s Structured Data Testing tool
  3. create a spreadsheet of metadata types that has proven to work for others, including examples to reference when integrating into your project.

How does the Schema.org metadata get added to a website?

There are multiple ways of adding the metadata. Google prefers JSON-LD, a structured text format that works well with programs and humans.

In a page’s <head>, preferred, or <body>, add JSON-LD customized to your application and similar to the example below:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "your-type-here",
  "metadata-name":"your-data-here"
}
</script>

Where your-type-here is one of the many Schema.org types, and metadata-name is one of the types of metadata types pulled from the structural data testing tool, and your-data-here, is what you want it to be.

Test in Google’s Structured Data Testing tool. It may take a few attempts to get all the quotes and commas in the right places.

Who should use Schema.org metadata?

Almost any project can benefit from Schema.org metadata because of the low cost relative to the benefits.

For existing sites if the project uses any of Google’s supported data types I’d focus on the ones closest to the revenue stream and most likely to be deep linked to.

Is there any reason NOT to add Schema.org metadata to my content?

If the content is so short that all its value can be displayed in a search engine’s rich content card then that could be a downside.

In the following example, I suspect most people get what they need directly from the rich search result and don’t need to click through:

Rich search result example - what is JSON-LD?
Rich search result example – what is JSON-LD?

Where can I learn more about Schema.org metadata?

Where can I find help with Schema.org metadata for my project?

I’m an independent Solution Architect available to help solve your technology strategy, management, and implementation problems.  Send me a message and I’ll get back to you on where to start.




  • jay myers

    Interesting post. I’m enthused to see how JSON-LD has made it’s way into the mainstream from a W3C recommendation to being adopted as a preferred standard for Schema.org metadata — it shows the power of Linked Data and serves as validation for those of us in industry and academia who have been promoting these standards for a very long time.

    I would be careful not to paint Schema.org as a magic bullet for increased page rank in Google. It certainly is an important factor that should be on the top of every dev’s list, but there are other factors that also play into the black box that is Google’s search algorithm. Being an experienced Solution Architect, I’m sure you have those items covered 😉

    Good introduction to Schema.org!

    • Thanks, you’re right about schema.org not having a direct effect on page rank.

      A challenge for this post was to keep it useful for folks who may implement schema’s and short enough that it was approachable. I had to leave a lot out, and what it does not do was one of them.

      And yea I should be slicker at sales, but awkward charm is still charm right?