Is Schema Markup a Google Ranking Factor?
Schema markup in Google website SEO is a form of microdata that provides a more detailed description for Google search results, similar to what rich snippets provide. In a nutshell, it’s a common vocabulary, allowing search engines like Google, Yandex, and Bing to better understand the content on any given website for SEO.
The search engines’ ability to interpret the information on a page is essential to its capacity to match it with a relevant question.
With this in mind, the question remains: does Google use schema as a ranking factor? Here are some insights on the matter.
In early 2018, an update to Google’s “Introduction to Structured Data” was published, stating that Google Search tries to understand the context of a page’s content. It does, however, offer some benefit when site owners use structured page data to leave explicit clues about the page content for Google to understand better.
Now, Google invites site owners to “help them” by utilising structured data.
The conventional wisdom among SEO experts had been that search engines do not use schema as a ranking factor, but it is indeed useful in SEO.
However, the aforementioned update caused a stir in the SEO community, with many wondering what had changed and its implications on page rankings.
Is There Evidence for Schema as a Ranking Factor?
Schema.org explained why search engines need schema. They said that as people read web pages to understand a certain topic better, search engines operate differently with a limited understanding of the information that those web pages contain.
Thus, by adding extra tags to a web page’s HTML — tags that provide search engines with information on the page, whether it’s about a certain person, place, video, or movie — site owners may help search engines and other systems get a better understanding of the content on their pages and display it in a more helpful and relevant manner in the search results.
Interestingly, a Google case study highlighted Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company that sells consumer packaged goods. Rakuten increased its traffic from search engines by 2.7 times after working with Google Search in 2017 for a more successful structured data strategy.
Google also noted that dwell time went up by 1.5 times.
A similar study in 2020 revealed that twice as many sites with schema ranked higher than those without in just a month. They also found out that pages with rich content benefited from schema far more than those that didn’t.
Here’s Why Schema is Not a Ranking Factor
One should take note of a few things that Gary Illyes said at Pubcon 2017, where he said that adding structure to a page will enable Google to better understand what a site is all about.
Moreover, he added that this would help search engines better understand a page’s content, leading to better rankings, as this facilitates the process easier.
Here, Illyes makes it clear that the use of schema and page ranking is indirectly related.
It’s also helpful for Google to have a better understanding of which organisations or people appear on the page to make ranking simpler.
In a 2018 tweet, John Mueller confirmed that schema is not a factor in Google’s SEO rankings for websites. He stated that there’s no generic boost in rankings when using structured data (SD). However, SD can help Google better understand what a page is all about, making it easier to identify where it’s relevant for improved targeting.
With all of these confirmations, we can confidently say that simply utilising schema markup doesn’t boost a page’s ranking.
Can Schema Make a Site More Technically Sound?
In 2019, Mueller discussed in a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout that the use of structured data does help Google better understand what the page is all about and find out where the page can offer some value. However, just because site owners are doing things right from a technical standpoint doesn’t mean that their web pages become significantly better.
Google will use schema to show pages in more relevant search results to generate more traffic to pages that match the search topic. However, this does not mean that Google will show the page to more users or rank it better.
Mueller compared the concept of schema to validated HTML being used as a ranking factor. Neither of these informs Google that a page provides more value to users.
Schema functions exactly how Google describes it in its Schema.org launch announcement in 2011 – it improves the visibility of Google websites in SEO.
Here are the benefits of using schema on-page:
- Improve the appearance of search results using rich snippets.
- Allow sites to show for relevant user queries where Google may not have understood the web page’s relevance.
- Increase dwell time as the site is shown for more relevant queries and users find more engaging content.
Maximise the Benefits of Schema Markup for Your Page SEO
Schema markup is a form of structured data that you can add to your web pages to help search engines understand what your content is about. When used effectively, it can improve your site visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs). We at position1seo.co.uk are experts in helping businesses maximise the benefits of Schema Markup for their SEO.
Position1SEO can help by ensuring that your markup is implemented correctly, ensuring that your website is fully optimised for search engines to crawl. Our team of experts can also help you identify the right schema markup types for your content and provide support with testing and troubleshooting.
We can help you achieve better rankings for your pages and increase your website’s visibility in the search engine results pages. Our SEO best practices will help you improve your website’s performance and will give you the extra edge that you need to stay ahead of your competitors.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries regarding website SEO. Call us on 0141 404 7515 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services.