Schema markup is a type of microdata that creates an enhanced description that Google may use in search results as a rich snippet.
In essence, it is a shared vocabulary that enables search engines including Google, Bing, and Yandex to better understand the content on any given webpage.
An integral part of search engines’ ability to understand the content on your page is their ability to match it to a relevant query.
Is the scheme the ranking factor?
Let’s review the evidence.
Claim: The schema is the ranking factor
In early 2018, Roger Monti wrote about an update to Google’s “Introduction to Structured Data” resource:
In case you’re curious, this help resource for Google’s on How does structured data work? Changed again slightly – here’s what he says today:
“Google Search works hard to understand what the page is about. You can help us by giving Google clear clues about the meaning of the page by including structured data on the page.”
Now, Google says you can “help us” with structured data.
The consensus among SEO professionals has long been that while a scheme was useful, it was not a ranking factor.
However, the above edit made SEO professionals wonder in 2017 what changed to justify updating the text.
Evidence on the chart as a ranking factor
Schema.org Explain Why is schema important for search engines:
Your web pages have an underlying meaning that people understand when they read the web pages. But search engines have a limited understanding of what is being discussed on those pages.
By adding additional tags to the HTML of your web pages—tags that say, “Hey search engine, this info describes this specific movie, place, person, or video”—you can help search engines and other applications better understand your content. best and presented in a useful and relevant way.”
A case study published by Google itself is involved Blueprint success story Rakuten, which increased traffic from search engines by 2.7 times after “collaborating with Google Search in 2017 to make their structured data more useful.”
Google also notes that the time on page has increased 1.5 times.
Recently a Experience 2020 By Dixon Jones it was found that over the course of a month, twice as many sites to which the scheme was applied gained rankings compared to the missing rank.
It was also found that pages with rich content benefited the most.
Evidence against the scheme as a ranking factor
In Monty’s article, he also referenced some of the things Gary Illyes said at Pubcon 2017:
“…add structured data to your pages because while indexing, we’ll be able to better understand what your site is about.”
“It will help us understand your pages better and, indirectly, lead to better ranking in a sense, because we can rank easier.”
Here Illyes shows that the ranking advantage of using a schema is indirect.
It makes ranking easier when Google has a better understanding of what entities appear on the page and what they are about.
John Mueller of Google confirmed that the schema is not a ranking factor in a file Reply by tweeting To a question in 2018, where SD = structured data:
So, using schema markup does not give you a ranking boost.
The next question is, does using a schema make your site more technically accurate and help rank in that way?
In the 2019 Google Webmaster Central Office Hours video, Mueller said:
On the other hand, we use structured data to better understand the entities on a page and see where that page is most relevant. But that doesn’t mean that just because people do things in a technically correct way on a website, a page is a better page than it could be otherwise. .
We will try to use it (schema) to show you (your page) in more relevant search results which possibly brings more users to your pages that already match the topics of your pages.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll show it to more users or that it will rank better.”
very much for this idea.
Mueller likens the concept of the schema as a classification agent to the idea of HTML validation as a classification agent.
None of these factors tell Google that the page has more value to the user.
Do you need more evidence?
In 2020, Danny Sullivan, Google’s search coordinator, said that structured data is optional, adding that it “has no effect on ranking in web search”.
Scheme as a ranking factor: our verdict
The scheme does exactly what Google said on file Schema.org 2011 launch announcementImproves how websites appear in major search engines.
Using the chart can:
- Improve the appearance of your search result Via rich snippets.
- Enable you to appear for related inquiries You may not have it, if Google doesn’t understand the relevance of your page.
- Increased time on page As you get exposed to more relevant queries and users discover more engaging content.
There is no evidence of it being used by Google to determine search rankings, but these are all good things.
Anything you can do to help Google better understand why your page is the best answer to a relevant query will definitely help support your SEO goals.
Featured Image: Paolo Bobetta/Search Engine Magazine