The Beginner‘s Guide to Rich Snippets and Schema Markup for SEO

If you‘ve searched for something on Google lately, you may have noticed that some of the search results look a little fancier than others. You might see star ratings, author photos, cooking times, or other extra bits of information in addition to the standard title, URL, and meta description.

These enhanced search results are called "rich snippets," and they are made possible by something called schema markup. Implementing schema markup on your website can help your content stand out in search results, drive more clicks and traffic, and even boost your SEO.

In this beginner‘s guide, we‘ll break down everything you need to know about rich snippets and schema markup, including what they are, why they matter, and how to set them up on your own site. Let‘s dive in!

What Are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are normal Google search results with additional data displayed. This extra information is usually pulled from structured data found in a page‘s HTML. The structured data is formatted in a way that Google can easily read and understand.

Some common types of rich snippets you may have encountered include:

  • Review stars: Shows the average star rating and number of reviews
  • Recipe info: Displays cook time, calories, and user ratings
  • Event details: Shows dates, locations, and ticket pricing
  • Video results: Includes video thumbnails, length, and upload date
  • Job postings: Shows salary, location, and company reviews
  • Author info: Displays an author‘s photo and byline

For example, if you search for "easy banana bread recipe," you‘ll see results with star ratings, prep times, calorie info, and thumbnail images:

[Insert screenshot example of rich recipe snippet]

The extra information helps the results stand out and gives searchers a better preview of what they‘ll find when they click through. Rich snippets catch the eye, plain and simple.

How Do Rich Snippets Impact SEO?

Now you may be wondering, do rich snippets actually improve search rankings? Can adding some structured data really boost your positions in Google?

Well, not exactly. Google has stated that structured data and rich snippets are not direct ranking factors. Just because a page has markup does not mean it will automatically rank higher.

However, rich results can significantly improve your organic click-through rates. When your result has more visual appeal and information compared to the other plain listings, more searchers will click on it.

Higher click-through rates send positive user experience signals that Google does use in its ranking algorithms. More clicks and engagement can indirectly help increase your search positions over time.

One case study by Milestone found that adding schema markup to a client‘s website increased the average click-through rate from 2.1% to 4.8% – a 128% improvement! Organic traffic to the site also jumped by 69% year-over-year.

So while schema markup alone won‘t rocket you to the top of Page 1, it‘s still a valuable SEO tactic to make your existing search listings perform better and drive more traffic.

Understanding Schema and Structured Data

To unlock the power of rich snippets, you first need to understand the relationship between schema and structured data. is a collaborative community project created by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. It is essentially a collection of HTML tags that can be added to a webpage to improve the way search engines read and display your page in results.

Schema is a form of microdata. It provides a specific vocabulary that you can use to describe the properties of different types of content – like events, recipes, people, products, articles, and more.

When you add the schema microdata to your HTML code, you are marking up your content with structured data. The structured data helps search engines better understand what your content is about.

You can think of schema as a filing system for your website‘s data. It organizes the data in a logical format so Google can more easily categorize, interpret and showcase that information in the search results.

Structured Data Formats for Markup

There are three different formats you can use to structure your data with schema:

  1. JSON-LD: Javascript notation embedded in a tag in the page head or body
  2. Microdata: HTML tag attributes added inline to page content
  3. RDFa: HTML tag attributes that extend beyond schema

Google recommends using JSON-LD whenever possible. JSON-LD is the easiest to add and maintain since it does not require you to change any of the HTML content on the page itself. You simply paste the markup within a tag.

Here‘s an example of what JSON-LD looks like for an article:

"@context": "",
"@type": "NewsArticle",
"headline": "Article headline",
"image": [
"datePublished": "2015-02-05T08:00:00+08:00",
"dateModified": "2015-02-05T09:20:00+08:00",
"author": {
"@type": "Person",
"name": "John Doe"
"publisher": {
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "Google",
"logo": {
"@type": "ImageObject",
"url": ""
"description": "A most wonderful article"

As you can see, the code contains tags like "@type", "headline", "author", "datePublished", etc. These tags and their values help define the key data points about the article.

The other two types of markup, microdata and RDFa, involve adding tags inline within the HTML elements. Here‘s a microdata example:


4.7 stars based on 563 reviews

As you can see, the itemscope, itemtype, and itemprop attributes are added directly to the relevant heading and span tags to define the movie title, rating, and review count.

While this inline tagging format works, it‘s much more time-consuming than adding the markup via JSON-LD. You have to manually change the HTML each time you want to edit or remove the schema, which creates more room for error.

Sticking with JSON-LD will make your schema life easier in the long run.

Schema Types and Properties

Once you understand the concept and format of schema markup, the next step is looking at the different types of schema available for various content types. Each type has its own set of properties you can use to define your data. provides definitions for hundreds of data types, ranging from creative works to events to organizations to products. You can explore the full list on

Let‘s look at some of the most common schema types for rich snippets:


The Article schema is used to markup any articles, blog posts, or news stories. It allows you to define properties like the headline, author, images, publication date, and publisher.

Check out the full list of Article properties:

Local Business

If you run a business with a physical location, the Local Business schema is a must. It helps you show data like your address, phone number, hours, geo-coordinates, and price range.

Adding Local Business markup also enhances your appearance in Google Maps and local pack results. Learn more:


Recipe schema shows tasty information like the dish name, photo, prep time, cook time, ingredients, nutrition facts, ratings, and reviews. No wonder recipes are some of the most eye-catching results on the SERP!

Explore the Recipe properties:


Have an ecommerce site? Product markup helps showcase your products‘ info right in search, including the name, image, description, sku, brand, price, currency, availability, ratings, and reviews.

Full Product property list:


Planning an event? Add Event schema to display key details like the event name, start and end dates, location, offers, and performers. Event markup can help you stand out for relevant search queries.

Event schema docs:


Video schema allows you to define your video content for search engines, including the title, description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration. This markup improves your chances of showing up in video search results.

Video property reference:


Review and rating information can be added to any of the schema types listed above using the Review schema. For example, you could include Review markup for a recipe, product, or local business.

Review markup often generates those shiny gold star ratings you see next to search results. Just be aware that Google recently cracked down on self-serving reviews. They will only display review snippets from third-party sites, not reviews of your own business or products.

Review schema guidelines:

These are just a few of the many schema types at your disposal. When choosing a schema type, consider what kind of content you have and how you want it to look in search results.

How to Add Schema Markup to Your Site

Now that you‘re well-versed in the world of schema, let‘s look at how to actually implement the markup on your site. The process will vary slightly depending on what platform you use.

Adding Schema in WordPress

If your site runs on WordPress, adding schema is relatively easy thanks to plugins. Some popular schema plugins include:

  • Schema Pro
  • Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP
  • Schema App Structured Data
  • WP Review Pro

Most of these plugins will automatically add JSON-LD markup to your posts and pages based on the content and settings you define. Some also include schema generators for custom post types.

For example, to add schema with the Schema Pro plugin:

  1. Install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site
  2. Navigate to Schema Pro > Types > Add New
  3. Choose the schema type (e.g. Article, Event, Product, etc.)
  4. Configure the schema properties using the post meta fields
  5. Enable the new schema type for the appropriate posts/pages

After setting up the plugin, it will dynamically insert the JSON-LD each time the post or page loads. You can usually find the script in the page source.

Adding Schema in HTML

If you don‘t use WordPress, you can add schema directly to your HTML templates. This will require a bit more elbow grease and coding know-how.

Google‘s Structured Data Markup Helper is a handy tool that can generate the JSON-LD for any page:

  1. Open the Structured Data Markup Helper
  2. Select the schema type (e.g. Article, Product, Local Business, etc.)
  3. Enter the URL of the page you want to markup
  4. Highlight parts of the page and assign the schema properties
  5. Continue adding markup items until you‘ve defined all the key properties
  6. Click the "Create HTML" button and select JSON-LD
  7. Copy the JSON-LD and paste it into your CMS or HTML

You can insert the JSON-LD script anywhere between the and tags or even right above the tag. The location doesn‘t impact the functionality.

If you prefer to use microdata format, the process is the same. But instead of copying a JSON-LD script, you‘ll copy the individual snippets and add them inline to the corresponding HTML elements on the page.

Testing Your Schema Implementation

After adding schema to a post or page, you should always test the markup to ensure it‘s implemented correctly. Google‘s Rich Results Test is the best tool for the job.

  1. Open the Rich Results Test
  2. Enter the URL of the page where you added schema
  3. Click "Test URL"
  4. Review the results to see if the structured data is valid or has errors

If the schema is set up correctly, you‘ll see a preview of how the page might look as a rich result. The test also shows the code for the structured data found on the page.

If there are any warnings or errors, they will be flagged at the bottom of the results. Common issues include missing required properties, invalid values, or problems with the formatting.

Troubleshooting schema errors can involve a good bit of trial and error. Make sure to double-check the schema documentation to ensure you‘re using the correct property names and nesting the markup tags appropriately.

Keeping Up with Schema Changes

As with any evolving web standard, the rules and recommendations around schema markup will likely continue to change over time.

Google makes occasional updates to its structured data guidelines and rich result requirements. For example, in 2019 they changed their policies for review snippets to combat spam and manipulation.

To stay on top of the latest schema changes, keep an eye on these resources:

  • Google Search Central documentation and blog
  • releases and discussions on GitHub
  • Official blog
  • SEO industry blogs and publications

If you use a plugin like Schema Pro, the developers will typically roll out updates to keep pace with any markup guideline changes. But it‘s still smart to monitor your rich snippets and structured data for any errors or disapproved issues.

Rich Snippets Are Here to Stay

Like it or not, schema markup and rich snippets are now an essential part of optimizing for organic search. Rich results dominate the SERP and will only become more prevalent as Google devours more data.

Even if you‘re not chasing position zero or featured snippets, implementing schema can help your standard blue links stand out from the noise and earn more clicks. A little JSON-LD can go a long way to improve your search visibility and traffic.

The key is to implement schema the right way and keep your markup squeaky clean. Publishing invalid or spammy markup can get your site penalized or marked as ineligible for rich results. When in doubt, refer to the official documentation and test your implementation thoroughly.

Now go forth and get your schema on! Once you see those glorious rich snippets populating for your site, you‘ll never want to go back to plain organic results. The rich get richer with schema markup.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.