You Use “Search” Every Day …
And So Do Your Customers
Maybe you are looking to buy something online or research your options. Perhaps you’re in the mood for Thai food and are looking for a restaurant with great reviews and ratings or maybe you’re trying to self diagnose that weird ache coupled with a low-grade fever. Regardless of what you’re looking for, your probably going to start with “search” – on your laptop, your smartphone, Google Home, Alexa, Siri … maybe even from your wristwatch. In fact …
More than “90% of customers report that they use search at every stage of their customer lifecycle” (Forrester)
So the question becomes, with so much content out there, how can you attract your target audience?
How Structured Data Works
When a search engine receives an inquiry, they crawl the web looking for relevant and reputable results, but it isn’t always easy for them to decipher the content out there. Your website might make sense to humans, but does it make sense to machines?
With the objective of delivering excellent service to their users, Google, Bing, Yahoo and ultimately Yandex, collaborated back in 2011 to create a comprehensive labelling system (an ontology) that they called schema.org. The idea was that if website owners could tag their content with these labels, known as “classes” or “types” the search engines would understand the content on their webpages and well as the context of the content. This improved “understanding” of the content would help to improve “findability” resulting in higher impressions, clicks, click-through rate and ultimately revenue.
Today, the schema.org vocabulary has grown to over 800 primary “types”, each with their own properties to further describe and bring clarity to the content. It is managed by a large group of interested individuals and chaired by Google. Some industries have even created their own “extensions” so that they can describe their industry-specific content (automotive, financial, health and bibliography).
The challenge is that the schema.org vocabulary is extensive and is constantly evolving. Choosing the most accurate “type” can be tricky. Plus your website content changes as does the Google algorithms. Adding the code by hand is a time consuming, finicky effort and maintaining it is just an onerous, which is why we created Schema App.
Adding schema markup to your website is well worth the effort. Not only do the search engines explicitly understand your content, but schema markup can make you eligible for rich results and features (so you stand out from your competitors), optimize your content for voice search, allow your content to be accessible via many different devices and provide you with additional information in Google Search Console so you can understand what is driving your traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts use a variety of tactics to help their customers be found and stand out in search. Schema markup is one of them. Leading SEO experts recommend schema markup (aka Structured Data) as an imperative for success:
Barry Schwartz. Search Engine Land 5 Tips and Trends from Google Webmaster Conference
Danny Goodwin. Executive Editor Search Engine Journal 10 Important 2020 SEO Trends You Need to Know
Stephanie Newton. Bright Local The Future of Local Search: 20+ Predictions for 2020
John Mueller. Google. Google uses Structured Data to better understand the page content- 1.40 min video