So you’ve authored and added Schema Markup to your webpage. Congratulations! If you thought that’s all there is to it, though, you thought wrong.
Schema Markup, also known as structured data, is a code you can add to your site to help search engines better understand the content and entities on your website.
However, Schema Markup is not a one-and-done strategy. As with any SEO initiative, the circumstances around what makes good Schema Markup are constantly changing. Therefore, it is necessary to manage the markup on your site on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains accurate and healthy.
Whether it’s content changes on your page, Google modifying properties for rich result eligibility, or even the evolution of the Schema.org vocabulary, it is critical that your Schema Markup best supports your search objectives, which often requires revisiting the markup across your site.
Let’s dig into some of the strategies our Schema App team uses to manage our customers’ Schema Markup for long-term success.
Verify That Your Markup is Deploying Properly
Authoring your markup is just the beginning. You need to add it properly to your page and make sure search engines can crawl it for it to take effect.
The good news is that Google provides feedback through triggered emails from Search Console. These emails identify errors or warnings with your structured data that impact rich result eligibility. But why wait for Google to notify you?
If you want to be eligible for a rich result as soon as possible, the best approach would be to test your Schema Markup during the implementation stage – before Google picks up on your new enhancements.
Test your markup using the Rich Results Testing tool and Schema.org Validator
After authoring your markup and gaining access to the JSON-LD, you can paste that code into Google’s Rich Result Test and the Schema.org Validator to ensure your markup is accurate when you deploy it. This proactive approach ensures you don’t miss any opportunities to stand out in search.
Once you’ve added the markup to your page, run your page through those same resources again to identify any initial speed issues or crawlability issues that might impact the benefits offered by Schema Markup.
Request indexing on your priority pages
Assuming everything looks good with deployment and you want to get the benefit as quickly as possible, request indexing on your priority pages so that Google can pick up on any new enhancements.
Ensure Your Schema Markup Aligns With Your Content
Your Schema Markup must be reflective of the content on your page to be effective.
To ensure that it provides the appropriate semantic value, you should author your Schema Markup to support the intent of the page. This will require choosing the most appropriate schema Type and utilizing the associated properties within that schema Type.
For example, are you detailing a service your organization offers? If so, you can utilize Service markup to identify where and when this service is available through the areaServed and hoursAvailable properties.
It’s likely that you will eventually edit or modify the content on these pages in some way. This introduces the risk of Schema Drift, where the content on a page may become misaligned with the values stated in your schema properties.
With the Service markup in the example above, if you change the areaServed or hoursAvailable properties, you will need to revisit the markup to ensure it aligns with the actual content on your page.
By neglecting your markup and not aligning it with your content, you’re likely to miss opportunities to provide more context to Google to better align with user intent. What’s worse, is that you could also be sending mixed signals to Google which may impact performance.
At Schema App, we overcome the issue of content not aligning with markup through our Schema App Highlighter tool. With our Highlighter, users can create a Schema Markup template for similar pages. The markup will then map dynamically to certain elements on the page. Therefore, any changes you make to your content will automatically be reflected in the markup.
Learn how the Schema App Highlighter has made it easy for the CAPREIT team to maintain their markup while dealing with fluctuating prices on their listings.
Optimize Content to Improve Rich Result Eligibility
The semantic value of Schema Markup cannot be overstated, but it is undeniable that rich results provide a visual element in the SERP that draws user attention and potentially improves CTR.
As defined in our What is a Rich Result article, “a rich result (formerly known as a rich snippet) is an enhanced search result displayed on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) that can be achieved by implementing the appropriate structured data (aka Schema Markup) on your site.”
The key element in that definition above is to implement the appropriate structured data, as each rich result has different requirements. Google’s documentation on Recipe rich results, for example, is essentially a cheat sheet for content ideas and it is worthwhile to review these types of resources to identify missed content opportunities.
Though Google has also changed where and when FAQ rich results will be awarded, FAQ demonstrated another common opportunity where including a single question and answer would show as a valid enhancement. However, Google would only award this rich result to pages where a minimum of two questions and answers were included.
Particularly in blog posts or articles, we would commonly see only a single question and answer included in the content. This presents an opportunity for content teams to optimize the content by introducing an additional question and answer to pursue rich result eligibility. Read Baptist Health’s case study to find out how they were able to improve their rich results eligibility by optimizing their physician page content.
Even though you might have started off your Schema Markup journey authoring markup based on the content on your page, you can also use it as a content opportunity to identify missing content on your page that would make you eligible for a rich result.
Keep Up With Google and Schema.org Documentation Changes
Both Google and Schema.org are constantly changing. An ever-evolving landscape is familiar territory for most SEOs, but making changes to existing Schema Markup can be a challenging task requiring the efforts of additional resources like Development or IT teams.
Nonetheless, when Google makes changes to rich results, it provides an opportunity for you to improve your content for a more enhanced experience in search.
For example, when the Pros and Cons feature was introduced, it was a change that enabled highlighting specific pros and cons of a product directly in the SERP. This provided the opportunity to revisit editorial Product reviews and related markup to ensure there aren’t any missed opportunities for a more enhanced product rich result.
Similar to Google’s constant updates, the Schema.org vocabulary is frequently changing. These changes might impact the various recommended properties for Google’s rich result eligibility.
Maintaining an awareness of these changes and utilizing the most current Schema.org properties helps organizations win in search by having a more enhanced appearance and richer markup compared to competitors.
Look for Opportunities to be More Semantic
When you implement Schema Markup, you are effectively informing search engines about the entities on your site and improving your semantic SEO. However, you can be even more semantic by linking the entities on your site to other entities on your site and other external authoritative knowledge bases. Doing so will help you develop your very own marketing knowledge graph that you can then reuse for any AI initiatives you have.
By linking entities on your page to other entities on your site
You can link entities on your page to other entities on your site to explain the relationship between both entities.
For example, if you have a blog post on your site, you might want to tell search engines that this blog post is published by your organization. You can explain that relationship by nesting your Organization markup under the publisher property of the BlogPost markup.
This is one of the many ways you can link entities on a page to other entities on your site.
By linking entities on your page to other external authoritative knowledge bases
As you build expertise working with Schema Markup, you can provide further context to your entities by linking to resources like Wikipedia, Wikidata or Google’s own Knowledge Graph. We often use properties such as areaServed, sameAs and knowsAbout to help increase the search engine’s understanding of all the entities mentioned on our customers’ sites – including external entities like cities or other well-known brand names.
Take, for example, Burger King, a global chain of restaurants where, in Australia, it’s known as Hungry Jack’s. Depending on your audience, identifying this relationship through sameAs properties can help search engines clarify the relationship between Burger King and Hungry Jack’s and support performance for a wider range of user queries.
Identifying opportunities to enhance your markup by linking to external entities leads to a more thorough knowledge graph. This, in turn, provides a variety of opportunities, such as enabling search engines to provide users with more accurate responses to their queries.
Download our Guide to Connected Schema Markup eBook to learn how to connect the entities on your site and develop your knowledge graph.
See What Your Competitors Are Doing
Schema Markup is publicly available information and while comparison can be the thief of joy, it can also be utilized as an opportunity to improve your own Schema Markup strategy. We often perform competitive analysis for our customers to help them understand what their competitors are doing in terms of content and Schema Markup.
This includes identifying net new properties or links to external entities that were not previously considered. Additionally, it can help you discover new rich result opportunities by comparing content.
Sometimes, the ultimate insight from comparing your Schema Markup to that of your competitors is that you’re on the right track. This then allows space for other SEO initiatives to potentially bridge that performance gap.
Review Performance and Make Data-Driven Decisions
One of the benefits of implementing Schema Markup is its positive impact on your organic traffic performance. You can easily monitor the performance of rich results using tools such as Google Search Console and Schema Performance Analytics.
Analyzing Rich Result Performance
Though correct Schema Markup will only have a positive impact on your organic performance, certain rich results might show improved performance or, at times, reduced performance.
There can be a variety of reasons why you might see an overall decline in CTR with certain rich results. For example, is the price of your product outside of most buyers’ budgets? This will allow a user to self-assess and decide whether to click through to your page or not, suggesting a potentially lower volume of clicks.
Outside of the myriad of reasons a certain rich result might reduce CTR, it’s important to determine if those rich results are properly serving the intent of your page.
For a converting page, generating clicks might be your top priority. This presents the opportunity to pivot your rich result strategy and targeting. If the price of your product is too high, consider focusing solely on product reviews.
Alternatively, you can get creative with How-to rich results to demonstrate how that product can help users accomplish a particular task.
Ultimately, it is important to ensure your Schema Markup supports your business objectives, which might mean that the most obvious rich result isn’t always the ideal solution. Therefore, you should always experiment to see which rich results work best for your content and business objectives.
Experiment to See What Works
Implementing markup at scale is a challenge for most companies. There can be a variety of barriers, including access to internal IT development resources. You may need to make a business case to justify access to those resources for sweeping changes to your markup.
In the example above from data-driven decisions, introducing How-to content and markup on a single page, let alone a large volume of pages, could be a daunting task. Starting with a smaller volume of pages might be the best way forward to limit the resources required from Content or Development teams.
You can also consider A/B testing pages where you’ve implemented some of the above recommendations, such as modifying certain rich result targeting or implementing linked entities.
Sometimes an unwelcome change might be introduced by Google, requiring a pivot to maintain consistent performance across certain pagesets. As discussed in our Changes to FAQ & How-to Rich Results from Google article, the good news is that change can spark innovation.
While FAQ may not be as worthwhile for rich result targeting, consider experimenting with linked entities, different rich results, or even just expanded markup. Find a tactic that provides maintained performance on your priority pages.
Manage Your Schema Markup for Success
There’s a lot to consider with managing your Schema Markup. The above strategies are just some of the ways our Customer Success team supports our enterprise customers to remove the complexity of managing and maintaining their structured data.
By working with Schema App, you have access to a dedicated Customer Success Manager who can provide you with the expertise and help you manage your Schema Markup from strategy to results. That way, you can stay current with all the industry trends and Google changes, and receive timely content recommendations to stand out in search.
Our Schema App solution also includes access to our tools, like the Schema App Highlighter, which ensures your markup scales dynamically even as your content changes. We also have advanced features like Linked Entity Recognition to ensure that identified entities in your content are reflected in your structured data.
On top of achieving rich results, semantic Schema Markup can help you prepare for the advent of Google’s Generative Search Experience, which makes a focus on managing your Schema Markup all the more necessary.
Need support strategizing, deploying and managing your Schema Markup? Get in touch with our team today to learn about our solution.
Kevin Veilleux is a Customer Success Manager at 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.