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What is the Difference Between Microdata, Schema Markup, and Rich Snippets?

May 10, 2016

Microdata, Schema Markup, and Rich Snippets Work Together to Provide a Better Search Experience for the User.

If you’re in marketing, you may see the terms microdata, Schema markup, and rich snippets floating around. If you want to quickly get up to speed on what these three web elements are, then this article is for you.

The first thing to know is that all three – microdata, Schema markup, and rich snippets – provide search engines with information about your website in the search engine results pages (SERP).

Let’s break down each term in more detail.

What is Microdata?

Microdata is a form of coding language for semantic markup on HTML pages and is designed to describe web page elements so a search engine can understand the content on your website. The information can then be used within the search engine’s results pages.

What is Schema Markup?

Schema markup is a type of on-page code, most frequently used in the microdata format. This code and data language is organized by what’s called a schema vocabulary ( which was created in collaboration by the following major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo!. Within there are over 100 labels for Schema markups, some of which are listed below:

  • Authors of articles
  • Date of articles
  • Bread crumbs of your website navigation
  • Reviews
  • Address

What are Rich Snippets?

If you use a search engine, such as Google, you will likely see a rich snippet in the SERP. A basic snippet (or search result) is pulled from your title tag and meta description; then, the Schema markup (a form of microdata) adds to your snippet to enrich (or enhance) it, thus, becoming a “rich snippet.”

Below is an example of a basic snippet:

In the screen shot below there are two examples of Schema markup.

The content reading ‘ > Blog > Posts’ is a result of a Schema markup called “breadcrumb” markup. Breadcrumb markup shows the path from a website’s home page to the page that was returned in the SERP. Another example of breadcrumb markup is the publication date at the start of the description – in this case, it reads ‘Oct 27, 2015’.

One of our clients, Danby® Appliances, has the “reviews” markup on their website so users can view product ratings (and the number of reviews) in the SERP without needing to click into the website.

In short, Schema markups provide additional information to search engine users and makes your website listing look more appealing in the SERP (i.e., rich snippets).

What are the Benefits of Adding Schema Markup to Your Website?

By optimizing your website code to include Schema markups, you will see the following advantages:

  • Providing appealing information, such as reviews and ratings, draws attention to your snippets and could increase the click through rate.
    For example, if you are a Consumer Products Goods brand or grocery store chain with a food blog, including a recipe image (another type of Schema markup) creates an eye catching rich snippet.
  • There have been speculation within the SEO community about Schema markup becoming a signal for certain search engines in the future.
  • Theoretically, you’ll gain higher quality visitors because they know more about what your page in the SERP is about.

Here at tbk Creative we are committed to helping you master the web and grow your revenue. If you have any questions about Schema markup or digital marketing in general, feel free to contact my team.