How to use schema markup to make an impression in search
Schema markup—aka structured data—is a niche area of SEO that helps search engines explicitly understand the content and better match a page to a searcher’s intent. When you adopt schema markup on your website, you also become eligible for rich results. Rich results make your content stand out in the search engine result pages, helping you engage your audience and yield clicks! In this article I’ll cover the ways you can leverage schema markup within the Enterprise to stand out in search and gain insights.
32+ different ways to stand out with Google rich results
Google currently uses structured data to support 32 different rich results, and the number of opportunities is expanding. In the last few months, Google has brought image licensing out of beta, introduced home activities and added shipping information to product rich results.
COVID and changing consumer needs
The growing list of supported search features indicates just how much Google relies on schema markup to help us communicate and connect with consumers in different ways.
Let’s take COVID as an example. Since April 2020, Google has used schema markup for Special Announcements related to COVID, ensuring people can find up-to-date information to keep themselves and their families safe. More recently, Google introduced Product Shipping rich results in response to increased online shopping, and Home Activities to help individuals in lockdown find exercises and activities to do at home.
On the business side, rich results are a great approach for building trust at the start of the buyer journey. Achieving rich results in the SERP allows you to build trust at any buyer stage, and delight your customers at their first click. In particular, FAQ and How-To rich results are great features for bringing information to prospective buyers in an engaging way.
Identify and optimize with unique markup to be understood
You have spent countless hours designing your content for a specific audience at a specific time in the buyer journey. Your schema markup should reflect the uniqueness of that content. Avoid putting generic markup on the page, and instead spend time identifying the key content you want your audience to find.
Invest time in strategy to ensure that the content gets the most reach and clicks. Once you identify the key content your consumers need to find, spend time identifying what Google rich result you can achieve for that type of content.
When you identify the rich result you want your page or page set to be eligible for, ensure that Google’s required and recommended properties are reflected in the content, as well other schema.org types and properties. Yes, schema.org and Google’s requirements inform your content.
Use schema markup to inform content architecture.
Whether it comes to blog posts or web copy, knowing what information is required and recommended for different rich results can inform your content strategy. For example, if you’re optimizing your landing page for a software application and you don’t show pricing or an aggregate rating, you won’t be eligible for Product or Software Application rich results. In this case, adding FAQ content to the page lets you optimize your content for a different kind of rich result that can still be engaging and increase click yield. With this learning, you can then architect all product pages to have all the key information required to describe the software, while also connecting it to an FAQ. Note, FAQ should be helpful to the consumer and not used just for marketing purposes.
When you identify these opportunities and then template them at scale, you increase the number of eligible pages to get a rich result, therefore increasing the number of clicks and impressions you can achieve. Done well, this strategy can be applied to all content coming down your pipeline so that, on publish, it’s already optimized for rich results.
Use schema markup to influence business decisions.
The SEO team has the ability to influence more than just SEO within an organization. By adding schema markup properties from your website into your analytics platforms, or exporting the data for your data science team, you can leverage semantic analytics. This is a great way to gain insights into questions like: what author on your blog drives the most clicks? Or, does a video on a page impact web behaviors? This provides your digital metrics with the kind of context that makes semantic analytics so powerful. Done right, schema markup is your marketing data layer.
Schema markup to communicate brand changes
You can also use schema markup to communicate brand changes such as a new website, acquisition, or rebrand. Use specific properties to define those changing relationships such as “sameAs”, “partOf”, “parentOrganization” and “alternateName”. Schema markup is a great tool for explicitly calling out what changes are happening and when.
Your business is unique, schema markup can reflect that
Schema Markup can be used to stand out in search across the Enterprise to architect your content, to gain insight and to be clear about Enterprise changes with search engines!
Every business is unique. Your schema markup should reflect that.
- ^ 32 different rich results (developers.google.com)
- ^ image licensing (searchengineland.com)
- ^ home activities (developers.google.com)
- ^ product (developers.google.com)
- ^ April 2020 (searchengineland.com)
- ^ Special Announcements (developers.google.com)
- ^ here (searchengineland.com)
- ^ Schema App (www.schemaapp.com)
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