Getting your site to rank well in search results is only the first step of an effective SEO strategy. To inspire readers to engage with your content, your search result needs to stand out — and that’s where schema markup comes in. Google uses schema to generate rich results featuring eye-catching images and details such as star ratings.
In this article, I’ll explain the most common types of schema markup so you can choose the ones that will be most impactful for your business.
Wait — There Are Different Types of Schema?
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! collaborated to introduce schema in 2011, providing a shared vocabulary for describing the content of websites to search engines. As Yoast explains in its history of schema, this vocabulary was quickly adopted, leading to new types of schema markup being added in every release. Currently, there are close to 800 types of schema markup describing organizations, places, people, creative works, events, and more. Each type has a set of properties to provide detailed information — there are almost 1,500 properties total.
While you might be tempted to combine different schema types on one page to improve the chances of landing any rich result, it’s best practice to use the markup that matches the primary elements on the page. As Google’s John Mueller explained, you shouldn’t add how-to, FAQ, and article markup to one page. Rather, you should use the schema that best matches the primary intent of the page. Is the page a blog post that provides detailed instructions on how to do something, followed by some commonly-asked questions? If so, you should only use how-to schema.
However, some types of schema do complement each other. For example, you can use the schema organization type to describe your business, with review markup that demonstrates how satisfied your customers are. You can also embed video schema on videos in a how-to blog post, and use how-to schema on the blog post itself.
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Important Schema Types for SEO
You don’t have to implement schema on every page of your website. Begin with pages related to your core activities. Below, I’ve compiled the most common types of schema in SEO to get you started.
Review Snippet Structured Data
Many people rely on reviews, whether they’re deciding where to eat, what to buy, or whether to use the services of a local business. By adding review snippet markup to your page, you’re giving users the social proof they need to take action. Research shows that 88% of consumers trust a user review as much as a recommendation from someone they know.
Review snippets are often used for local businesses, products, books, movies, recipes, and apps. With this structured data, Google can display an aggregate star rating, the number of reviewers or raters, and an editorial excerpt from an online review.
Nearly half of shoppers use Google to discover or find new products, making it essential to boost the visibility of individual items in your e-commerce store. By adding product schema to product pages, you provide search engines with information for rich results, such as the item name, description, price, color, size, star rating, and availability.
Consumers can see what the product looks like in SERP and scan the details. Your product may also be included in other types of results, such as a carousel at the top of the page or a price comparison listing. Without product schema, you risk losing out to competitors who are appearing in these rich results.
Article schema is used for news stories, blog posts, tech articles, and other content. Use the markup to indicate the title of a piece, author, author URL, publication date, and an image to represent the article. Article schema helps Google better understand the content and displays with a larger-than-thumbnail image.
How-to schema is your go-to when you’re providing step-by-step instructions on how to complete a task. Use how-to markup to indicate the required tools, each step of the task, detailed directions, and total time the task will take. You can also provide images and video clips.
If selected by Google, your page displays as either a list of steps, or a carousel with a description, video, or image for each step. Users can immediately see the value of your content and click through to see the full article. The how-to schema also makes content compatible with Google Assistant.
Use FAQ schema if you have a list of questions and answers focused around a specific theme. Google uses this markup to display the questions in a dedicated box in SERP. Users can click a dropdown menu to see the answer or visit your FAQ page directly.
Have a look at our blog post on adding schema to your web pages for a specific example of how to implement FAQ schema.
Event schema highlights lectures, conferences, concerts, festivals, and other events. Google often uses this schema to populate calendar listings, enabling users to discover your event even if they aren’t specifically searching for it. Users can see information such as the date, time, duration, and venue directly in search results.
These rich results can be highly effective for driving traffic. Eventbrite saw a 100% increase in typical year-over-year traffic to its event listings from Google Search after implementing event schema.
Breadcrumb navigation clarifies your site’s hierarchy for search bots. When you use breadcrumb schema, Google displays your site’s hierarchy in SERPs instead of the actual page URL. For example, here’s what our blog post on index bloat looks like in SERPs:
This gives the URL (above the page title) a clean look, indicating exactly where users will land on your site. It can also encourage click-throughs if users see that the page falls in a category with other relevant information.
Video schema is key to getting more exposure for your video content. Search engines can’t crawl videos, so this markup gives Google valuable information for indexing purposes. If you use video structured data, Google can display a video thumbnail next to your search result to draw attention to your content.
You can provide details such as a description, upload date, and duration. In some cases, you can also give Google the timestamp of key moments in the video so users can jump directly to the relevant part of the video directly in SERP.
Get the most from your video schema by following our video SEO best practices.
All schema types require you to mark up images to generate a rich result. You can add structured data to images so they display with additional details about the creator and licensing. Don’t forget to use alt text, too!
Organization schema enables Google to provide a summary of your business in one place, whether it’s a corporation, NGO, educational organization, or professional service. You can indicate the organization name, address, purpose, website URL, and social media handles so users can get in touch or find more information online. You can also supply details such as investors, founders, the management team, area served, and related organizations. The information appears in a knowledge panel for prime visibility.
Another way to improve your visibility and branding is through logo schema. This markup indicates which image on your website you’d like associated with your company in SERP. Google can then display your logo in search results and knowledge panels. This markup is typically placed on your homepage with organizational schema.
Schema Types for Local SEO
Nearly half of Google searches (46%) are local in intent, making some schema types particularly important if you rely on local clients. I’ve listed below the most important types of markup for sharing details about local businesses with Google. Don’t forget to combine these types of schema markup with review snippet markup to provide social proof and help convert searchers into customers.
Local Business Schema
Use local business schema to help Google understand the type of business you have and the products or services offered. Categories cover almost every niche, such as childcare, dentists, lodging, real estate agents, automotive businesses, and stores.
This type of structured data gives customers the information they need to connect with your business, including address, geo-coordinates, phone number, business hours, and departments. You can specify a logo or image to be displayed in search, such as a picture of your storefront so customers can recognize it easily. Information may appear in Google Search, Maps, or a knowledge panel. You can also incorporate an action, such as booking an appointment.
Restaurant schema can give your business an edge in a highly competitive industry. Use food establishment schema to clearly identify your niche, whether your business is a bakery, pub, brewery, coffee shop, distillery, fast food, ice cream shop, restaurant, or winery. Customers searching for a place to dine can see a description of your eatery, the type of cuisine, dine-in and take-out options, location, hours, price range, and reviews. All of this information appears in search results, saving customers the effort of visiting individual websites.
Mark up menu items to tempt potential diners directly in SERP. For the biggest impact, pair restaurant schema with carousel schema, enabling Google to display your menu in a horizontal list with images that users can swipe through.
Need a Schema Analysis?
Structured data helps Google understand your content and display it in a visually rich layout so it stands out in search results. Our team of experts can help you identify the best types of schema markup to use on your website to reach more customers and achieve your business goals. Schedule a free SEO consultation today.