On June 27th, 2019 Martha van Berkel, Schema App’s CEO presented this content in a webinar. Watch it here:
Thinking about implementing Structured Data? Great idea!
When a search engine receives an inquiry, they crawl the web looking for relevant and reputable results. In an effort to make sense of all of the available content, the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and eventually Yandex) collaborated to create a comprehensive labelling system. This framework and vocabulary are called Schema.org and the associated code is called Schema Markup (aka Structured Data). When you add Schema Markup to your website you help the search engines understand your content. Schema Markup should be part of every SEO strategy.
Understanding = findability and findability drives results in search!
So just how important is schema markup?
1. Schema Markup drives business results
On average, our enterprise customers reported the following improvements, all of which they attribute directly to the addition to Schema Markup:
- 35% more impressions
- 26% more clicks
- 20% higher CTR
- 150% more time spent on pages with rich results
- Users being 3.6% more interactive with their content
Is Structured Data a ranking factor?
Some would say, no, but according to our enterprise customers, on average they have experienced
- 9 positions higher rank in search
2. Improve your “findability” online
You probably don’t struggle to understand the message a webpage is trying to convey, but search engines and machines (such as Google, Yahoo, Alexa or Siri) can have difficulty understanding the context of a page. When you add schema markup to the webpage – tags that tell a search engine what your content is about – you can help the search engines (and other applications) better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way. Learn more about Schema Markup.
Schema Markup, also referred to as Structured Data, helps search engines better understand who you are and what you do. Better understanding promotes better “findability”. This is important because search engines strive to deliver relevant and reputable results to their users, matching their search intent. Adding Schema Markup to your site helps to increase their confidence, increasing your chances of showing up in search.
3. Rich results help you to stand out in organic search
A standard search delivers three pieces of information: a title, a URL, and a meta description.
Rich results (including rich snippets) are additional information coupled with eye-catching visuals that attract your attention in search. They bring your content alive plus they take up more real estate in the search results pages, helping you outshine your competition. When you add Schema Markup to your website code, you qualify for rich results. There are lots of opportunities to qualify for rich results (stars, ratings, reviews, images, availability, actionable links, breadcrumbs, etc.) and you’ll want to take advantage of as many of them as possible. Click here to view some of the Google documented opportunities!
4. Greater brand control
Your opportunity to make a great first impression with a potential customer starts in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Wouldn’t it be great to own that customer experience right from the beginning? Schema Markup gives you more control over the way your brand is represented. Being in control means you can define exactly how you want your brand content understood, easily test different strategies, and control where and how the Schema Markup is distributed to your websites.
5. Influence the content in your Google Knowledge Panel
The Google Knowledge Panel sometimes shows up as a collection of content to the right of search results and contains information frequently sought by a user in association with a given query. It might contain your birthdate or your salary or a company’s CEO or stock price. The Google Knowledge Panel can also display links to your social profiles (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), a feature that is only possible if you use Schema Markup. You can also add your Company’s primary phone number(s) to promote ease of use for your customers.
6. You’re optimized for voice search!
Today, 20% of searches are through voice, with estimations that it will hit “50% by 2020” (Source: ComScore). If you’ve optimized your site for organic search using Schema Markup, you’ve also optimized for voice assistants and Google will take care of speech recognition and NLU (or Natural-language understanding). This was recently announced at Google IO. Google stated that their motivation for schema markup was so that you could optimize content once and be optimized for voice and search.
Google Product Manager, Aylin Altiok, is quoted as saying,
“Focus on building great content using an open standard (structured data) and Google will help you reach your users across Search and Assistants without having to build a custom experience.”
Watch Google IO 2019: Enhance Your Search and Assistant Presence with Structured Data
7. Discovery on all surfaces – think wristwatches, billboards, cars…
Google recognizes that users are engaging with your content in more moments than before, across different platforms and devices. Historically this meant that as a developer, you had to create a custom app for each one of them. But by adding a single addition to your existing content – Schema Markup – your content is optimized for these platforms and devices right of the gate, without additional investments and with the best possible time-to-market.
8. Your videos can be played right from “search”
Not only can a user play the video right from the search results, but they can also see the video length, plus additional details about the video, ultimately influencing their decision to choose your video over another one. According to Searchmetrics, several of the websites that experienced the greatest improvement year-over-year (2017-2018) in search performance focus on video content.
9. Fill those seats for your event or course
Schema Markup helps the search engines understand what your event or course is about and who your target audience is so they can make a match and help your event stand out in search. Schema Markup makes you eligible to showcase your event with pictures, venue, dates, times, pricing, and availability.
10. Attract readers to your article or blog
Enhance the visual appearance of your article or blog page and match it to your target audience by adding Schema Markup. What does this mean? For an AMP page, your article could get a spot in the Top stories carousel or have larger-than-thumbnail images. For a non-AMP page, you can increase the likelihood of displaying a rich result. Both of these would entice a user to click through and read your content.
We love this example where we wrote an article about Local Business Schema Markup and our result stands out with reviews, we have the featured snippet, and Google and Schema.org are the only results that rank higher!
11. Attract Job Applicants
Trying to find that perfect candidate to fill your job posting? With Schema Markup, your postings are eligible to be displayed in the job search experience on Google (at the top of the page), featuring your logo, reviews, ratings, and job details – which could give you that extra visibility you need to help attract the right candidate.
12. Build a Knowledge Graph
Certain companies (like Schema App) create linked Schema Markup so that search engines and voice understand how your content is connected to your organization and to other things on the web. Connected Schema Markup is the foundation of the semantic web. As a result, your Schema Markup is more than code, it creates a Knowledge Graph.
A Knowledge Graph can enhance search engine results with information gathered from a variety of sources. It allows users to understand facts about people, places and things and how these entities are all connected.
A Knowledge Card within search results can illustrate this information. This can be seen for businesses, topics, and people. For example, the Canadian who created Basketball is James Naismith.
13. Re-Use your Knowledge Graph for Chatbots
Chatbots are essentially just another search engine. They can make inferences based on the data they have access to. Companies are starting to leverage chatbots for marketing activities such as lead generation and to entertain their target audience but also for customer service. Some of the benefits of engaging with bots are that you can cost-effectively deliver 24-hour service, provide answers to simple questions and respond directly to customer inquiries.
In conversations we have had with AI Chatbot companies, knowledge graphs, also known as Ontologies, are what they are building to be able to provide intelligent answers. Proper schema markup results in knowledge graphs, so one can then infer that well-managed schema markup, prepares you for AI Chatbots.
14. Derive greater insights from your analytics
At Schema App, creating Structured Data is only the beginning. Once it is on your website, you can pull any of the schema.org properties you’ve marked up into your Google Analytics to drive better decisions with the context of the content. Imagine the possibilities!
In this example, Schema App’s Enhanced Analytics, added schema.org properties into Google Analytics to show which blog author drives the most page views.
15. May reduce your Google Ad spend and positively influence rank
Although we don’t have any hard facts to support this, we have received anecdotal feedback from several of our customers that Schema Markup is having a positive impact on both the rank and the cost of their Google Ads. This rings true since Quality Score impacts both rank and cost and Quality is positively impacted by Schema Markup.
While there is not a case study to date, some of our customers have stated that they have seen a decrease in their cost after adding schema markup.
16. Improve your Content Strategy
Thinking about your content from the perspective of the schema.org class types and properties can help to generate ideas for new content or existing content. At the very least, you may use the Google required and recommended schema.org feedback to augment existing pages or create links to existing content. The schema.org structure could even provide the basis of how you design your website (information architecture) taking into consideration that each webpage should have one primary topic, should maximize the opportunity for rich results and should be laid out in a consistent way, wherever possible, to simplify the adoption of schema markup.
But beware …
Ensuring your Schema Markup is done properly is important. The wrong Schema Markup or bombarding a page with Schema Markup may confuse the search engines and cause more harm than good. Look for a provider that has a deep understanding of how to use the schema.org vocabulary, will connect your markup to tell a complete story, and uses JSON-LD (recommended by Google) as the format for Schema Markup (rather than microdata or RDFs).
There are a bunch more ways to benefit from Structured Data (Schema Markup). We’d be happy to review them with you!
Disclaimer: Adding Schema Markup makes you eligible for the features noted above but it doesn’t guarantee how the search engines will choose to display your content.