We’ve launched this series to highlight the stories of real people using schema.org markup in non-techy language. This Schema Story spotlights Becky Duncan from Florida, the co-founder of wTVPC.com. With over 14,000 pages on their internet and tv streaming website, organic SEO plays a significant role in their business.
Becky shares what she has learned, what she has tried, and how to do schema.org markup at scale.
Martha: Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Becky: My name is Becky Duncan and my husband is Dan Dunca. We are the co-founders of wTVPC. We were looking for our next act in life and wanted to start an online venture. We got interested in the area of internet tv and streaming tv – seeing it as an unsettled, chaotic industry undergoing this rapid change as technology is being developed and adopted. So as a space that could hold some opportunities, we developed the website as a place to introduce people to TV channels around the world, show what is available online and help people to navigate the confusing world of streaming TV. The site is still in that awkward teenager phase, I would say, but its maturing every day.
Martha: What role does organic search play in your overall business strategy?
Becky: Well, it plays a big part! We rely on organic search to get people to most of our pages. We do some blogging and we are a Google News approved website but the vast majority of our pages are completely reliant on organic searches. We have so many pages, that organic search has become a huge part of generating traffic.
Martha: When you say ‘so many pages’ can you tell us a bit about the scale?
We currently have over 14,000 pages.
Martha: How did you first learn about Schema.org markup and why was it of interest to you?
Becky: My husband and I, as newbies, started trying to learn as much as we could about online marketing and soon came across this thing called structured data. We had no clue what it meant and so we started exploring it and the more we learned the more confused we were. But there was something about the concept of schema markup that made some intuitive sense, even without really understanding it. Just with the mind blowing volume of content online these days, you can easily see that search engines need a better way to quickly figure out what a website is about. So it did make some sense, that this was something that we should look into some more.
Martha: How would you describe semantic search marketing or structured data in your own words?
Becky: Well, I still have a hard time understanding it to be honest. I would say that semantic marketing means directly telling search engines what your content is about and who it’s meant for. That really helps the search engine to properly serve it up. So instead of kind of hoping that the crawler picks up the gist of what one of your pages is talking about, you kind of tell it, in no uncertain terms and in very structured terms, what it’s about. To me it’s a more proactive, empowered way of promoting your content to search engines so they can hopefully promote it to actual users.
Martha: We love it because it’s something you also control as a website site owner. You get to determine what goes in that structured data and what’s being told to Google.
Becky: Yea, that was a huge part of the appeal. Here’s something that we can be active about doing, that feels better than just waiting and hoping that the right keywords get crawled on your site.
Martha: Talk to me about the value you see from it. What are some of the other value components? How would you describe the value to someone who is just learning about it?
Becky: For me personally, it’s too soon for us to have any hard data to evaluate the value of it but I do not think that you and Mark are lying. I think that there’s a tremendous amount of value in terms of taking control of your site and getting it in front of people. With organic search, I’m talking about keywords and other SEO methods that a lot of people have probably heard about, it seems like they are going by the wayside as new and better technologies come along and I think schema markup, is the new and better technology, if you can call it a technology. Yes, so in three to six months ask me again and we’ll have the glowing reports to show.
Martha: In your journey, as you and Dan were trying to navigate this world of online marketing, what were some of the resources? Where would you go to learn about online marketing and structured data?
Becky: Well, we went to schema.org. and we went to the websites of some of the experts in the industry. Although, we really could not understand what they were talking about. We went to Hunch and that’s when we called in the real experts, you guys! We said ‘Alright, we’ve read enough, I need to talk to somebody and ask questions and get some answers.’
Martha: Semantic marketing is really a philosophical question more than a technology question. The coding for semantic marketing can be automated, as we do through Schema App, it is more about defining how this thing exists and what is its relationship to the world and to other things. It is also about figuring out how things are connected. If something has an ‘offer’ and an ‘offer’ is a thing that is sold, then how is that ‘offer’ described? Does it have a price point? Does it have an output and what is that output described as? It’s this chain of things that are connected.
Have you gotten a sense of how the semantic web is connected for wTVPC? Does the markup on your site help connect international viewers and local viewers to the content on your site?
Becky: It is something that we are now starting to think about more now that the site is up and we’ve ended the development phase.
Martha: What type of Schema.org have you used on your website? What are some of the things you have done to enhance wTVPC?
Becky: We have our station pages, so for each channel we have on our site, those are marked up as television objects. Those are also marked up as reviews because we also have review data on each page. We also have a number of articles on our site, from the really broad to the really specific [i.e. “The best celebrity news in Hindi”] that are marked up as collection pages. They feature a number of reviews on them and a number of individual tv stations listings. We also have markup on our site for articles, news articles and blog postings.
Martha: What have been some of your “Ah-Ha” moments in your journey with us?
Becky: At the beginning it was a decision and a discussion in making the initial investment and hiring Mark to do the page template markup and I am so glad that we did. I think if people have a lot of pages like we have, if you can get Mark to do that page template, you are going to save a tremendous amount of time and stress. I think that it is really smart to have him do the home page and the contact page because then you have peace of mind that it is done right. At the beginning I said I don’t want to do it wrong and then worry about whether I’ve made mistakes or not on this. I’m glad that we had him do that work. And really taking advantage of the resources you guys provide like the videos and the training sessions. It’s just helpful to have someone walking you through things as you kind of stumble around, learning the ropes.
Martha: Any parting words you want to share with our audience?
Becky: Don’t wait until you feel like you know what you are doing to get started because then you probably never will. So even if you feel like you are groping in the dark, just go ahead and start marking up your pages, start using the App. The best way to learn is by making mistakes and then fixing them. I think that’s the best way to learn. This stuff is great too because if you do make mistakes they’re not going to break your whole website.
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Martha is the CEO and co-founder of Schema App. Schema App is an end-to-end Schema Markup solution that helps enterprise SEO teams create, deploy and manage Schema Markup to stand out in search. She is an active member of the search engine optimization community, and the work that she does through Schema App is helping brands from all over the world improve their organic search performance.