Schema Markup for Health

Do you work in the Health Industry? If so, be sure to watch the recording of our webinar where Schema App’s CEO, Martha van Berkel shares schema markup strategies and knowledge specifically for Health companies. She is joined by Simon Yohe, Director of Web Marketing Strategy at AdventHealth. Simon shares his experience working with Schema App and how they leveraged schema markup during their rebrand. He also shares results from the markup and how it has impacted his business. See below for frequently asked questions about creating schema markup for health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types in the schema.org vocabulary are specific to healthcare?

Schema.org contains a Health and Life Sciences extension of over 200 types and 160 properties specific to the medical space. These include everything from terms for describing diseases and injuries, such as AnatomicalStructure and MedicalSignOrSymptom, to terms for describing systems of medicine, such as TraditionalChinese and WesternConventional.

Since this is a vocabulary that is often changing, some of the available types and properties are pending. All these terms can still be accessed in Schema App by going into Settings > Project Settings and selecting “Schema+All Layers”. Schema.org has stated that organizations using the vocabulary are encouraged to join community discussions and share their usage scenarios to help improve the schemas.

Some of the more commonly used types are:
Hospital, MedicalClinic, MedicalCondition, MedicalProcedure, and MedicalTherapy.

Schema.org's extensions for Health Sciences

Can adding schema markup help with EAT?

In July 2018, Google added E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) of content and authors to their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Adding schema markup can help contribute to your E-A-T by providing contextual information that further defines what your content is about. As an organization with high E-A-T, you can answer common medical questions with Articles, Blogs, FAQs and How-tos, and add schema markup to make this information more accessible to search engines.

Where should I begin with my schema markup for health?

As a first step, it’s a good idea to markup your homepage as either an Organization or a subtype that’s more specific to the health industry. Some examples include MedicalOrganization, MedicalBusiness, MedicalClinic, and Physician. For more information about getting this markup setup, check out our Ultimate How-to Guide for Local Business Schema Markup.

Once you’ve established markup for your homepage, we recommend taking a look at Google’s list of features. If any content on your site aligns with these features, using these types can make this content eligible for rich results within search. Just make sure you’re satisfying all the properties that are required!

Some features that have been used with success in the health industry are: Article, FAQ, Review snippet and Video.

How should I markup a Hospital or MedicalClinic?

Both the Hospital and MedicalClinic types are subclasses of LocalBusiness. This means they are eligible for Local Business rich results within search. Beyond the properties required and recommended by Google, some additional properties that may be of interest are:

Schema Property Mapping Notes
areaServed The geographic area where a service or offered item is provided. Expected value: text, AdministrativeArea, GeoShape or Place.
availableService A medical service available from this provider. Expected value: MedicalProcedure, MedicalTest or MedicalTherapy.
employee Someone working for the organization. Expected value: Person.
foundingDate The date that the organization was founded. Expected value: Date expressed in ISO 8601 format.
parentOrganization The larger organization that this organization is a subOrganization of. For example, a MedicalClinic may have a parentOrganization that is an Organization or a Hospital. Expected value: Organization.
medicalSpecialty A medical specialty of the provider. Expected value: MedicalSpecialty.
sameAs URL of another Web page that unambiguously indicates the item’s identity. E.g. the URL of the item’s Wikipedia page, Wikidata entry, social media sites. Expected value: URL.

Marking up a health organization

For more information about creating LocalBusiness markup, see our Ultimate How-to Guide for Local Business Schema Markup.

How should Physician pages be marked up?

In Schema.org, Physician is defined as “A doctor’s office” which is also a subtype of LocalBusiness. The same properties listed in the table above should also be considered when marking up a Physician data item. However, only the Physician type has access to the hospitalAffiliation property which expects the value Hospital. What’s more, you may want to state that this Physician is an alumniOf a particular medical school. The alumniOf property is only available to the Person type. In the event you want to markup this information, consider using the employee property to connect to a Person data item. This Person⁠—now embedded within the Physician data item⁠—can use the alumniOf property.

What kind of medical markup is eligible for Review Rich Results?

In 2019, Google updated the list of things that could be eligible for the Review snippet rich result. This update excluded Articles, Blog Postings and Services. LocalBusiness is still eligible for review rich results, meaning Hospitals, Medical Clinics and Physicians can all benefit from this markup. The one stipulation is that ratings and reviews can’t come from the organizations themselves. They have to come from a third party application in order to ensure unbiased reviews and be eligible for markup.

In the case of Advent Health, their development team built an internal solution using Press Gainey to ingest ratings and doctor.com to manage the data. Due to patient privacy requirements, they removed any identifiable user information replacing names with “Advent Health verified patient”.

How can I measure the success of my structured data?

To assess changes in your site’s metrics, consider using Google Analytics. If you’d like more information about search-engine performance and the health of your markup, consider using Google Search Console, SEMRush or the Schema App Analyzer. For more information, check out our article How Do I Know If My Schema Markup Is Working?

Can I add content within my structured data?

Google’s General Structured Data Guidelines state that markup should only be added if relevant content exists on the page and is visible to users. While your content must inform your schema markup, you can also consider schema markup when creating your content. If you’re missing any properties that are required for rich result eligibility, consider adding this information to your content.

How much of a challenge was it to get buy-in from stakeholders around the benefits of schema markup that were not related to producing rich results in the SERP?

If paid search is already part of your SEO budget, Simon Yohe recommends comparing the percentage of cost to the value it yields for your company. Adding structured data means you’re building onto your SEO strategy with something that’s long lasting. This means it can help reduce the amount spent on paid search in the long-term. 

Another thing to consider is voice search. By using schema markup, you are digitally-proofing your site for voice. Simon recommends framing it as managing your brand for machines.

For Advent Health, more specifically, rebranding played a big part. Using the schema.org vocabulary allowed them to add information like alternateName and dissolutionDate for the previous iteration of the company. Due to their situation, stakeholders were receptive to ways they could offset potential risks with their rebranding.

Other tips:

  • Reduce page clutter, improve navigability of your site.
  • When creating new content, consider creating content that aligns with Google’s features. Ensure you include information to satisfy the requirements for rich result eligibility. And consider page and site architecture moving forward. Schema markup can inform your content! Some options to look into are Recipes, FAQ, Events and Job Postings. Connect these to types and properties specific to health care.
  •  Write content that specifically answers consumer questions (this will help you optimize for voice search). More and more often, people type in queries with the same language they would use to ask a question verbally.

Do you want to learn more about Schema App and how it can help you optimize your website(s)? Contact us!

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