“There’s schema for that” has become the new “there’s an app for that” in the SEO world. As the SEO practice continues to grow, more and more schema markup is being discovered and developed. There’s schema markup for nearly every business type, recipe, reviews, products on ecommerce, your dog. That last one I haven’t seen but give it a few months, I’m sure I’ll see it. To create this markup, people have used schema markup generators to develop markup easily and automated. But what happens when the generators aren’t up to speed with the rest of the schema that’s being developed?
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup is enhanced language on a page
signaling to Google exactly what is on that page. When Google crawls a page,
they can make an accurate assumption about what the page is about, given the
page is optimized correctly with proper headers, content, and structure. With
schema markup in place, Google can get a much better idea of what the page is
about. If you have a landscaping business, you can create schema markup that
will explain to Google that the page is specifically about your landscaping
business, your address, your contact information, business hours, and
geographic location. With schema markup implemented onto your site, your site
becomes more readable to search engines and enhances your visibility online.
What Kind of Markup Do You Use?
There’s two forms of schema markup that appear
the most on schema generators, JSON-LD and Microdata. But which one do you choose?
According to Google’s standards, they greatly recommend JSON-LD over Microdata
as explained here. JSON-LD is also easier to read
coding language that Google also uses to crawl and index sites.
Where to Start When Creating
One of my favorite tools to create schema
markup is, Merkle. With their generator tool,
you’re able to easily create schema markup for almost anything. They do a great
job lining out what you need to enter for the markup to work, and the tool compiles
it for you. When you’re done, Merkle provides the link to Google’s Schema Testing Tool for
you to validate the markup yourself.
But what happens when you can’t find schema
markup for your business on schema generator sites? Then it’s time to create
your own using a competitor analysis and Google’s Schema Testing Tool.
For an example, let’s create schema markup for real estate listings. Although there doesn’t appear to be a schema generator for house listings, we can make our own just by looking at what other sites are doing. When we visit popular real estate sites like Trulia or Zillow, we can view their source code and find their schema markup for houses. What we’re looking for in this case is “
SingleFamilyResidence” as it describes the house.
Pulling the Schema Markup
After we find the page with the schema markup we need, we can enter the page’s URL in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Google does a great job detecting every instance of schema that’s on the page and breaks it down into categories. Google’s tool breaks the page into two columns: The left column displays the source code from the page we are testing, and the right column displays all of the schema markup that Google has detected on the page, such as organization, product, and “
SingleFamilyResidence”, which is what we are looking for.
After clicking on “
SingleFamilyResidence” on the detected page, we’ll see a list of “
SingleFamilyResidences” which represent each house on the listing page. Click on one of them and we’ll have the schema markup we need to create our own markup.
Schema Markup Structure
To create this schema, we don’t need to build it from total scratch; instead, we can edit markup that already exists. A great template I used when creating the real estate schema was Whitespark’s “JSON-LD Markup Guide to Local business Schema.” I choose the local business schema because both the local business and real estate schema require a “
To create the markup, you can copy and paste
the local business schema to a blank notepad, a program found on most
computers. If you don’t have access to a notepad, Google’s Structured Data
Testing Tool can be used instead.
What to Replace and Add in the Markup
There are only a few functions and elements
that need to be changed for the local business schema to be converted to real
First, you’ll replace the
LocalBusiness” with type “
@SingleFamilyResidence” and add the address for the house for sale under the
PostalAddress”. Next, you’ll remove the description, name, telephone, and opening hours as they pertain to the local business schema. You’ll want to keep the geo portion in as it gives the listing a more concise location as to where it is. You can find the geographic coordinates for the house by searching the address in Google Maps, and in the URL will be the latitude and longitude. With these two fields correctly in place, you now have the schema markup that Zillow or Trulia has on their listing pages.
If you want to take it a step further, you can add more to the schema. For this example, you can add the listing price with the type, “
@offer”, or that the house has a pool with “
@accomodation” – “
To learn more about available schema, visit https://schema.org/. Schema.org
does a great job staying up to date with schema properties.
When you’ve finalized your schema and you’re
ready to add it to your site, test it through Google’s Structured Data Testing
Tool as a snippet of code just to make sure you don’t have any warnings or
Where Do I Place the Schema When
This seems to be the most popular question when it comes to schema. Some say you can place the schema in the
<body> section of the page and then some people say you can add the schema in the
Can I Add More Than One Form of Schema to a Page?
Of course! The more schema the better.