Structured data is the language of search engines and the only way to explicitly tell Google what your web pages are about. It’s been around since 2011 and is typically a conversation topic of SEO specialists and search teams. But I am about to let you in on a secret…. There’s more to it! Structured data provides you with the unique opportunity to differentiate your website content, empower you to deliver leading-edge SEO, discover opportunities to increase sales, and yield business insights to increase the value you deliver to your clients.
Structured Data Differentiates your Web Content – BORING
By telling Google exactly what it is about, you are providing context and uniqueness to help search engines match that content to people who are looking for a specific topic. For example, if you were adding structured data to a Cosmetic Dentist’s site who specializes in replacement teeth, being able to classify their business as such instead of generically as a Dentist would make the world of different in search. Now they would be matched on searches for people who needed tooth replacements, and not families looking for quarterly cleaning. Ok, that’s the basics. Let’s talk about real differentiation.
Structured Data Builds Relationships Between Your Entities
Once your data is defined, structured data gives you the unique ability to connect the data together. No longer do you have to rely on page links to hope that Google understands that two things are connected. Schema.org markup allows you to create the relationships between information on your page. Creating these relationships are what build a knowledge graph. Some examples of what you might want to connect for search engines are: founders to a company, inventors to a product, reviews to a product or organization, service area of a product or a service, category to a product, etc.
One use case where this becomes very strategic is when you find out that most of your traffic is coming through a specific topic or thing for a business. For example, a pharma tech company may notice that all of their traffic comes through their about page. They find out that this is because their buyers are researching who contributed to the product before they consider buying it. Now with schema.org you can link the scientists that contributed to the development of a product so that Google knows to show that scientists papers, degrees and products in search.
Hint: Figuring out how to connect two things is not always obvious on schema.org. Try the Schema Paths tool to help you figure it out.
Stress Free Way of Staying On Top of Google’s Changes
Let’s be honest, staying on top of Google ever changing requirements is painful. It is no different in the area of structured data. Google changes their recommendations by updating the structured data page, but often the changes are not announced. How do you know if your website is in compliance? Google expects you to run every page through their Structured Data Testing Tool, which has officially been replaced by the Schema Markup Validator (SMV), or to evaluate all the errors in Google Search Console.
At Schema App we have a better way. Manage your accounts centrally and when Google makes a change to their recommendations, be notified and guided on what to update. Now you can see which pages are in compliance and which need updated.
Discover More Sales Opportunities
Pre-sales takes a lot of time, and the research portion is time consuming and some might say boring. What if I told you there was a way to discover a website’s health with the click of a button. Schema App provides the ability to analyze any site so you can see the health of their structured data. Now you can go in with a detailed report, showing your clients why they HAVE to hire you. Using Schema App’s structured data analyzer, see what your client doesn’t know about their website and show them the value and opportunity of structured data.
Structured Data Yields Valuable Business Intelligence
The area of Semantic Analytics is relatively new. Semantic Analytics is the practice of taking all the things you have defined with structured data and adding that business information into your analytics. Now, instead of looking at traffic, bounce rate, etc for a URL, you can see what business “thing” it is about. It all begins with adding structured data to your website, then using this structured data to understand what your business is about. Data in analytics will go through a paradigm shift from being about pages to being about entities (things).
Let me share some examples so you can better understand Semantic Analytics and how it will change how you do marketing!
- You have 100’s of posts on a company blog, Semantic Analytics would allow you to look to see what author or category drives the most traffic. This would then inform your content team on who is the author that has the best online performance and which categories drive the most traffic. You could have the author write more content in the top performing category as a new content marketing strategy.
- You have a large E-commerce site. You are trying to figure out what promos you should do next month. Now you can look at the traffic and conversions by brand and color, etc. If you were in the t-shirt business and found that your maroon t-shirts were selling more than any other color, you could have a promo on maroon shirts to capitalize on the trend.
- You have 450 locations. You are wondering if there is a trend with regards to regions and your online conversions. Now you can use your defined regions, or city and state to see the conversion traffic. This might inform which store you highlight in your newsletters, or where you prioritize your next location.
With Schema App, you can create custom reports highlighting how conversions relate to your business. Schema App offers existing custom reports on Author, Category, Brand, Collection, Color, City, State, Video and the ability to create reports on ANY Schema.org entity or property. The best part? With Schema App we automate the whole process making it easy to adopt this powerful and complex capability.
So now you know. Structured data isn’t just an SEO tactic, it’s a way to differentiate your agency and bring value to your clients. So what are you going to do with this information? Sit pretty and ignore it or put it into action. Try out Schema App’s Structured Data Analyzer when you sign up for a free trial of Schema App Pro and start discovering new opportunities for you to add value to existing and new customers!
Start bringing more value to your clients through structured data.
Martha van Berkel is the co-founder and CEO of Schema App, an end-to-end Schema Markup solution provider based in Guelph, Ontario. She focuses on helping SEO teams globally understand the value of Schema Markup and how they can leverage Schema Markup to boost their SEO strategy and drive results.
Prior to Schema App, Martha was a Senior Manager at Cisco Systems for 14 years responsible for the global online support strategy. She has a degree in Applied Mathematics and Engineering, attended MIT for Innovation and Strategy, is a Mom of two, as well as an avid rower.