eli5: What is Schema markup and how does it work?



I started getting interested in SEO and currently I am taking a course on semrush, I understand this schema markup on an intuitive lvl but I need someone to explain it to me in simple terms.

In: Technology

Disclosure – I have never used semrush so if it’s a question specific to theirs, I may be wrong.

In short, databases have objects which are like spreadsheets. Each spreadsheet stores and organizes information in a certain way so it makes sense (contacts on the contact spreadsheet, etc). How these objects (spreadsheets) interact with one another is called a schema. It’s like the blueprint for a big database so you can see what goes where.

To document the ways they interact, you use markup. It’s a way to show relationships and hierarchy between the objects. You can have many types of relationships like one-to-one, one-to-many, and parent-child. All have different rules.

It’s a standard that’s intended to make important information on a web page understandable to computers.

While a human can look at your contact page and easily understand that it represents a widget company and this is the phone number and that’s the address, a computer isn’t capable of that kind of recognition. The schema format marks up the page in a way that makes it clear to the computer what data represent what and also provides additional context about who or what the page itself is about.

The end result of all of this is that search engines have an easier time classifying and organizing information so they can present appropriate results to a search user. If you’ve ever done a Google search for a company and seen the contact number, address, and other information pop up right in the search results page itself, that’s all powered by Schema.

The old format involved HTML attributes directly in the HTML, but over the past few years they’ve switched to JSON objects written into the page. Both formats still work, generally speaking.

If you want more information about the standard, [schema.org](https://schema.org) is the place to check out.

Schema.org is an open standard. It describes some extra code you can embed into the HTML source of your web page, that can be used by search engines to extract information that can be displayed directly in the search results.

Things like reviews, contact details, opening hours, upcoming events; there’s hundreds of bits of information that can be added, though not every search engine will support every type of data.