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web development for search engine optimization

3 ways you can add schema to your website

Now that John Mu has suggested that Schema can help improve your rankings, SEOs are finally paying attention. The ranking benefits might be slight but there are several other beneifts from Schema markup.

The biggest challenge, however, is how you could add this to your site. Here are some options.

How to add schema to your site manually

If you’re a developer you might be able to add schema directly to your web pages. There are a couple different ways you could do this: my modifying your HTML or by adding a JSON-LD code snippet to your page. ¬†Google has no preference- they just want your data.

Some forms of schema are easy to add manually. I’m thinking of schema that will stay the same throughout your website’s life. For example: website, organization, and even local business schema’s data will always be the same. Why make this difficult? Just add it manually.

If you’re adding Schema manually you’ll need to use Google’s Structured Data Tool. This can help you validate an existing webpage for properly formated Schema. You can even use it to manually create Schema before you add it to a web page. This is particularly helpful when you many types of Schema on a page. Sometimes they have to work in concert with each other. This tool will help you detangle that potential mess.

Adding schema to your site with CMS plugins

Some CMSes have plugins that will insert Schema into your website for you. For example, the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress makes it easy to add website and organization schema. With a slight modification to your theme, the Yoast SEO plugin can add breadcrumb markup to your pages too. I’m sure other CMSes have similar plugins.

If you’re using a plugin to serve Schema, be sure to check its output with the Structured Data Tool. Sometimes plugins use outdated schema markup. Sometimes plugins break. Sometimes plugins lie. Before I use a plugin for schema I always look for a live example of the plugin in action, and test it with Google’s tool.

This is especially true when it comes to Review Schema. Some plugins promise big but can’t deliver. In fact, if you do this wrong, Google might send you a nasty-gram through your Webmaster Tools account.

Adding schema to your site with Google Tag Manager

If you’re not yet using Google Tag Manager, this might be the time to start. Once you install this on your site, you can use it to serve code without having to bug your developer each time. It’s also the perfect way to serve Schema data to Google.

When it comes to static Schema (website, organization, and even Local Business) Google Tag Manager makes this very easy. Just add it as a static code tag and tell GTM the pages you want it to serve on.

Where GTM shines is when you need to add dynamically-generated Schema. GTM can read the DOM of your site and use these elements to create a JSON-LD encoded schema markup. This would work great for breadcrumb and even article schema.

GTM can be a little technical (so you might need a developers help, after all). Thanks to GTM’s preview tool, you can keep trying things out until you get it to work. One thing I do is create the schema in the Structured Data Tool and then paste it into GTM. Be sure to test it (again) in the Structured Data Tool after you publish your schema on your live site.

Schema is always changing. Be sure to keep an eye on it. In fact, if you login to your (old version of) Google Search Console, it will tell you if you have any schema errors.

The good news: Google is forgiving, when it comes to schema. I’ve seen several instances of incorrectly implemented schema that Google still used. As more people implement it, however, I’d make sure mine was right. Clean up your schema, so Google knows exactly what you’re trying to say.

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