What you need to know about Schema.org and Google’s Data Highlighter

Although Schema.org was introduced several years back, structured data markup only started to gain great popularity with the rollout of Google’s Data Highlighter Tool late 2012/early 2013. The Data Highlighter tool makes it easy for non-technical people and people who don’t have direct access to their website CMS to easily markup their data for better search result visibility and rich snippet display. However, there are still many organizations not capitalizing on this opportunity because they are unsure about the benefits or what to do.

What are the Benefits of Schema, Structured Data, Markup, etc.?

Structured data provides search engines with rich snippets, which give the viewer relevant information before they even click on a result.

Is Marking Up Data Worth My Time?

In short, yes. The Data Highlighter was created to help Google learn about your website (vs. other search engines); therefore, markup created through Data Highlighter does not carry over through other search engines. For this reason – if resources allow — adding the Schema code directly to your website may be a better option as it is supported by Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo.

That being said, if you do not have these capabilities or are not looking to spend a great deal of time marking up pages, the Data Highlighter tool can still be of great benefit to your website and your organic traffic. Tagging pages only requires you to highlight the phrase and select a tag. Google does the rest.

What Should I Mark Up?

Anything you think would be helpful! At the very minimum, it is recommended to markup your business details, such as phone number, address, hours, etc. The rest is dependent on your business. If you sell products, you can use Schema markup for pricing and reviews. If your business has events, markup the location, dates, and times. The more you markup, the easier it is for search engines to figure out your site structure.

Do I need to mark up EVERY page?

With Data Highlighter, you can tag a group of pages. When Google starts becoming more familiar with your website, it will attempt to automatically tag similar pages for you, although it is generally recommended to highlight and tag as much as you can for better accuracy. Keep in mind, just because you markup every page does not necessarily mean Google and other search engines will always show it. Often times, only the first few results will display rich snippets.

Helpful Tools for Marking up Content

Google offers a helpful Structured Data Tool Helper for more advanced users who wish to embed the structured data right onto their webpages. This feature works similar to Data Highlighter; however, instead of directly publishing you are given the HTML code with the markup to load to your website. You can check how Google sees your site by using the Structured Data Testing Tool. The Schema.org website also lists available markups and how to get started.