Schema markup can give your SEO a boost, providing additional data to search engines as well as making better use of other tools like social media platforms and Google knowledge panels.

There are several ways through which you can add this markup to your site, either by installing a plugin or by manually adding the right code.

In this post, we’ll explain what Schema markup is, show you some of the benefits, and give you some examples. You’ll also learn how to add Schema markup to your WordPress site.

What’s Schema Markup?

Schema markup is a kind of metadata (referred to as microdata) that’s added to your site to give search engines more information about what’s going on. In the past, we’ve used HTML tags to provide this kind of information to search engines.

Things like title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords (no longer relevant) have all been useful to tell search engines what a site is about.

But that doesn’t give search engines all the information they need to be able to fully understand what your site is about and who it would appeal to. And that’s where adding Schema markup to WordPress comes in.

Schema markup is added to the HTML within the pages on your site. It gives individual elements extra properties, such as what kind of information they include and what the context is.

So for example, you might see something like this on a page:

<div itemscope itemtype ="http://schema.org/Movie">
  <h1 itemprop="name">Avatar</h1>
  <span>Director: <span itemprop="director">James Cameron</span> (born August 16, 1954)</span>
  <span itemprop="genre">Science fiction</span>
  <a href="../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html" itemprop="trailer">Trailer</a>
</div>

Schema markup adds an extra layer of data to your content. It tells search engines whether this is about an organization, a person, a place, or even a movie.

This means that when people are searching for those things, they’re more likely to get an accurate result. It makes it more likely not only that your pages will be found in search results, but also that you’ll get accurate knowledge panels in Google and that your social media accounts will link effectively to your website and boost your search rankings.

It’s better explained by showing you some examples of how Schema markup can be used and what kind of information it provides. We’ll look at that shortly.

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Benefits of Adding Schema Markup to WordPress Sites

So before we start looking at how to add Schema markup to your WordPress site, let’s identify the benefits.

The major benefit is SEO. By providing contextual data to search engines, you make it more likely that your WordPress site will rank higher in SERPs. It means that the granular detail required by search engines in 2020 is more likely to be accurate and reflect what your site is really about.

So if you’re running a personal site with your own blog, you can tell search engines that your site represents a person and who that person is. Thanks to Schema markup, you can also link your site to your individual social media accounts.

If your site represents an organization, on the other hand, you’ll be telling search engines something different.

There are also benefits for location-dependent SEO. You can use Schema markup to tell search engines where your website is based or where the organization it represents is based. If people are looking for a specific business type in your area, you’ll get higher search engine rankings.

As well as SEO, Schema markup will help with knowledge panels in Google. Knowledge panels are areas of information that are displayed to the right of search results. They relate to the search terms and will give information-rich tables from a variety of sources.

So, for example, if I search for Matt Mullenweg, I see a knowledge panel telling me more about him.

Matt Mullenweg knowledge panel

Matt Mullenweg knowledge panel

If you add Schema markup to your WordPress site, Google will know whether your site represents an individual or organization, and what kinds of content it’s on your pages.
It can use that to populate your knowledge panel and ensure it contains more (and more accurate) information from different sources, like your social media accounts.

Schema markup also helps with rich snippets and sitelinks. This is when your search engine listing doesn’t just include your homepage, but extra information such as content from your site or a list of subpages within your site. Schema markup provides information that helps search engines pull out that information and add it to its SERPs. These rich search results proved to increase average click-through rates.

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Schema markup can also help you link your website to your social media accounts. One of the items of microdata you can include in your site is a link to various social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter. This will help search engines to use the two sources of information together to provide people with the results they need when they’re searching for something about you.

Examples of Schema Markup

So now you know why you should be adding Schema markup to your WordPress site. But before you can do that, you need to know what kind of markup you can add and what data types are supported.

There is a full list of the data types at schema.org and the most commonly used ones are:

This is just a small subset of the data types available: there are dozens, if not hundreds of them.

And there’s more being added all the time. For example, schema version 6.0 added new data types including MediaGallery, SportsEvent, FloorPlan and extra properties for JobPosting.

And with recent events related to Coronavirus, Schema.org now also includes schemas for special announcements, Covid-19 Testing Facilities, and more.

The Benefits of Flagging Podcasts with Schema Markup

As more and more of us rely on voice assistants like Amazon’s Echo or the Google Assistant, flagging that your content is a podcast is becoming more important. In fact, Google now includes audio sources in search results and is starting to prioritize audio formats in search results on devices using Android, its apps, and its homepage.

Using the Data Types

Let’s say your site represents a restaurant. To tell search engines this, you should use Schema markup, specifically the Organization and the Restaurant data types, to add this information to your pages.

On top of these, you might also want a location page and pages for events that you’ve got coming up at your restaurant, in which case you would use the Event data type to give search engines more information about that.

With just a simple example like this one, you can see how multiple data types might relate to one particular website or page.

Later in this post, you’ll see how to use a plugin to add microdata provided by schema.org to the various pages on your WordPress site.

First, let’s take a look at some real-life examples of Schema markup in action.

Schema Markup Example: Kinsta.com

The Kinsta website is a good place to start.

If we do a search for Kinsta, we get a result that not only includes the link to the website but also includes other search terms people have used to find Kinsta and some of the most frequently searched subpages in the site.

kinsta search results

Kinsta search results

If you plug the Kinsta website into Google’s structured data testing tool, you’ll find that there’s even more microdata included in our site.

Testing Kinsta’s structured data

(There’s also a rather cool Easter egg there in the form of the logo and other graphical information rendered as code!)

Inspecting the results of the data testing tool shows Schema markup data types being used, some of which are:

This is just a sample of the microdata provided about Kinsta. You can find the rest at the Google Structured data testing tool.

Schema Markup Example: Yoast.com

Let’s take a look at another example of Schema markup being used in a site. I’ve chosen Yoast because their SEO plugin includes Schema markup.

If you Google Yoast, you get some sitelinks (just as with Kinsta), but you’ll also get a knowledge panel that includes information about Yoast and about their social media accounts.

Yoast search

Yoast’s knowledge panel

If you run the Yoast website through the structured data testing tool, you’ll find that they’re using Schema markup to provide this information (as expected).

Testing Yoast's structured data

Testing Yoast’s structured data

Schema markup is mainly being used by organizations and by tech organizations. This is because, historically, adding Schema markup to a site wasn’t easy.
WordPress site owners, though, have an edge as they can use a plugin to add it.

Let’s see how.

How to Add Schema Markup to Your WordPress Site

There different ways you could use to add the schema.org markup. Let’s have a look at them!

Adding Schema Markup via Your Theme

One way to add Schema markup to your WordPress site is to install a theme that has Schema markup already included. If you search for schema on the WordPress theme directory, you get a number of results.

Schema theme search results

Schema theme search results

Let’s take a look at some of those themes.

The Schema

The Schema theme

The Schema theme

The free The Schema theme is designed to boost your SEO. It includes schema as part of its code and claims it will help boost your search engine rankings. It also has performance enhancements built-in.

Schema Lite

Schema Lite theme

Schema Lite theme

The Schema Lite theme is the free version of the premium Schema theme. It doesn’t include all of the features of the premium theme, but it’s a good way to try it out and see if the theme works for you.

Schema

Schema theme

Schema theme

The premium Schema theme has a similar design to Schema Lite, but has more SEO enhancing features. It includes an options page where you can add information about your site that will then be added as Schema markup.

Adding Schema Markup via a Dedicated WordPress Plugin

Most sites have already a theme installed, so you may not want to change your theme just so you can get the Schema markup. The good news is that there are plugins you can use to add Schema markup to your WordPress site.

Let’s take a look at some of the options.

The Schema Plugin

The Schema plug-in makes it easy to add Schema markup to WordPress. It has some useful features such as enabling different schema types on a per-category or per-post type basis, and it’s compatible with custom post types. It will also work with other installed plugins, including SEO plugins to take advantage of the markup you’re already using.

This plugin uses JSON-LD (a lightweight Linked Data format), which is what is recommended by Google and also supported by Bing. Note that review markup is not included with the core Schema plugin. However, there is a free Schema Review companion plugin that will add this capability.

Let’s take a look at how you set up the Schema plugin.

Install it in the usual way by going to  Plugins > Add New and searching for Schema. Click Install and then Activate.

Installing the Schema plugin

Installing the Schema plugin

Once the plugin is installed and activated, go to Schema > Settings to start adding Schema markup to your site. Fill in the basic information, like the location of your About and Contact pages, along with adding a logo.

Then, click on the Quick Configuration Wizard button to start setting things up.

Schema Quick Configuration Wizard

Schema Quick Configuration Wizard

Work through the wizard, providing information about your site and your social media profiles, then click on the button at the end to edit your custom post types.

Editing schema types

Editing schema types

Add any extra custom post types that are in your site to the list by clicking the Add New button and filling in the details. You can also use this screen to add Schema markup to categories. Check out the plugin documentation for some more advanced usage capabilities

If you want to further tweak your settings, go to the Settings tab. You can also add extensions by going to Schema >  Extensions. Here you can add additional plugins for WooCommerce, among other things. You can also  install the premium version of the Schema plugin which includes the following extra features:

Schema Premium plugin

Schema Premium plugin

If you need advanced Schema markup on your site, you might find it worth paying the extra.

The Schema Pro Plugin

An alternative premium plugin which will add advanced Schema markup to your WordPress site is the Schema Pro plugin.

Schema Pro plugin

Schema Pro plugin

Its features include:

  1. Support for a wide range of data types.
  2. Full automation so schema data is added to new and existing posts and pages.
  3. Support for custom post types, taxonomies, and archives.
  4. Custom field support.
  5. The ability to extend it and add more markup.

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Alternative plugins

Schema and the Schema Pro aren’t the only plugins that will add schema.org markup to your site. Others include:

Adding Schema Markup via the Yoast SEO Plugin

If you’re already using the Yoast plugin for SEO on your WordPress site, the good news is that you can use this plugin to add Schema markup. It doesn’t add as much markup as some of the premium plugins listed above, and isn’t dedicated to Schema markup, but it means that you don’t have to install and configure an additional plugin.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

When you first install Yoast, you will be asked for information such as the entity that the website represents, and social media links. This is all part of adding Schema markup to your WordPress site.

First up, you’ll be asked what type of organization the site represents.

Yoast wizard - website type

Yoast wizard – website type

Then you’re asked for the name of the person or organization. If it’s an organization, you’ll also need to upload a logo. In the screenshot below, I’ve chosen a user as the person the site represents. If you need to change details about the person, you do that via their profile page.

Assigning a user as the person the site represents

Assigning a user as the person the site represents

If your site represents a person who doesn’t have a user account, you have two options. Either choose the Organization option and fill in the details as if the person is an organization or set up a user account with an email address that’s an alias of your own, so your client won’t start receiving emails from the system.

If you need to update the type of entity your website represents at any time, go to SEO > Search Appearance and select the General tab. Scroll down to the Knowledge Graph & Schema.org section and fill in the correct details there.

If your site represents an individual, you can select a user from the drop-down list and the plugin will pull information about that user from their user profile. So if that’s you, make sure you fill out your user profile with information about your name and your social media accounts.

Editing schema.org markup in Yoast

Editing schema.org markup in Yoast

If the site represents an organization or a person who doesn’t have a user account, you can simply input information on that person or organization instead of selecting a user. To do this, go to SEO > Social.

Once you’ve set up the website type, Yoast will add data types and Schema markup to your WordPress site automatically.

Examples of how Yoast adds Schema markup to your WordPress site include:

Another interesting feature is Yoast Structured Data Blocks. You can use these to add FAQs, How-tos to your posts or pages, and the relevant Schema markup will be used to tell search engines what they are.

Yoast structured data blocks

Yoast structured data blocks

You can also add extra Schema markup with Yoast add-ons, such as location data types with the Local SEO add-on and News data with the News SEO add-on.

How to Add Schema Markup to a WooCommerce Store

If you’re running a WooCommerce store, there are even more benefits from implementing Schema markup. If search engines fully understand what your store sells and where its key markets are, they’re more likely to show your store to the kind of visitors you want. So it’s worth adding Schema markup to your WooCommerce store to enhance SEO.

Why add Schema Markup to Your Store?

Adding Schema markup to your store tells people about two key things.

The first is the brand: The Organization type and its subtypes will tell search engines which store this site is for and what kind of retailer it is. You can also use data types for local businesses to attract local custom.

You can also use Schema markup to mark up your post types. This way, search engines know that you’re selling products. This maximizes your chances of getting onto the Shopping search results.

Adding Schema Markup to WooCommerce Stores via a Dedicated WordPress Plugin

There are a few plugins that let you add Schema markup to  your WooCommerce store:

How to Add Schema Markup to WordPress Manually

The final option to add Schema markup to your WordPress site is doing it manually, without a plugin. This has the benefit of no extra code but will take more work.

You can do this by editing the template files in your theme.

So, for example, if you have a loop-single.php file which outputs single posts, the file might consist of code like this:

<article id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>" <?php post_class(); ?>>

 <h2 class="entry-title"><?php the_title(); ?></h2>

 <?php if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) { ?>                            
  <?php the_post_thumbnail( medium, array(
   'class' => 'left',
   'alt'      => get_the_title()
  ) );
 ?>                  
 <?php } ?>

 <section class="entry-content">
  <?php the_content(); ?>
 </section><!-- .entry-content -->

</article>

You could edit that code to include Schema markup, like so:

<article itemscope itemtype ="http://schema.org/Article" id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>" <?php post_class(); ?>>
  
 <h2 itemprop="name" class="entry-title"><?php the_title(); ?></h2>

 <?php if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) { ?>                            
  <?php the_post_thumbnail( medium, array(
   'class' => 'left',
   'alt'      => get_the_title()
  ) );
  ?>                  
  <?php } ?>

 <section itemprop=”articleBody”>class="entry-content">
  <?php the_content(); ?>
 </section><!-- .entry-content -->

</article>

You could probably add more, for example, to the featured image and any metadata. Find out which item types and properties apply to your content on the Schema.org website.

You’d then need to add the relevant markup to each of the template files or include files in your theme, including your header.php file.

Once you’ve done that, it will automatically be added to each page using that template file. You may find you need to add extra template files for post types that are using files higher up in the hierarchy, but this would just mean copying and renaming existing files and then adding the Schema markup.

Testing Your Schema Markup

Once you’ve added Schema markup to your WordPress site or maybe before you do so for comparison, it’s a good idea to test it.

Use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

Open the tool in your web browser and type in the URL of your site. Some plugins will give you a button that links to this right from the WordPress dashboard.

Google’s testing tool will indicate which aspects of Schema markup are present in your site and which are missing. If there are any missing that you think you need, you can then go back and tweak your plugin settings or add the missing markup manually.

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Summary

Adding Schema markup to your WordPress site will give you an SEO boost because it will tell search engines more about your site and the context it exists in. Displaying relevant information directly on a search engine’s listing page can be the difference between making a sale or not.

Most sites aren’t using Schema markup yet, so if you spend a short amount of time adding this, you’ll instantly be ahead of your competitors. You can either do it manually, use an SEO plugin like Yoast, or install a dedicated schema plugin on your site.

Now to you: are you taking advantage of Schema markup on your site? Let us know in the comments!


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