If you’ve invested in search engine optimization (SEO) services and haven’t had a discussion about schema, your SEO company is doing a disservice to your web presence. Schema allows Google to take data from your website and display it in a certain way to users searching for you on the web. The way you look online in search results can affect whether users visit your website, so ensuring you’re being displayed in the best way possible is essential.

Let’s look at what schema is, how it works, and whether it actually matters during an SEO campaign.

So, What Exactly is Schema?

By collaborating with Google, Bing, Yandex and even Yahoo, Schema.org created a markup language that gives the various search engines information on how it should display information from your website. These rich snippets when setup properly on your website gives search engines a variety of data to showcase in the search engine results. If you’re a business, additional information can encourage users to click on your link over another where less information is present.

How Does Schema Work?

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller explained rich snippets this way: “If we can recognize someone is looking for a car, we can say oh well, we have these pages that are marked up with structured data for a car, so probably they are pretty useful in that regard. We don’t have to guess if this page is about a car.”

For example, when searching for a restaurant’s Yelp reviews, you’ll often see its star ratings below its link. Schema markup allows Google to pull this information from Yelp’s page on that restaurant and give you a quick view of what it rates. These rich snippets as schema calls it give potential visitors more information and makes your website seem more authentic than your competitors.

Does Schema Actually Matter?

By telling Google more about what your website does, the more information it can extrapolate to share with searchers. While Google doesn’t always display this information, the more data you provide Google, the more likely it is to display the correct information about your website to users. For local businesses, this information can be crucial to those looking for a product or service they’re unfamiliar with. By providing more information, these searchers are encouraged to click on the company showcasing more of who they are, what they do, and more through Google than those who don’t.

While Google may not use schema yet as a true ranking factor, the more information you provide to those looking for you online, the more chances you have for them to click and visit your website.