SERP Optimization – Schema Structured Data

What is Schema

Google, Bing, Yahoo and most other major search engines rely on structured data to deliver better search results to users by including reviews, ratings, recipes, etc. The major search engines have all endorsed schema as the proper markup vocabulary to use for structuring your websites data.Schema - Buy Frozen DVD Example Research done by Search Metrics found that .3% of domains have schema markup on their sites. Which is surprising because in the same study it shows that 59.9% of Google keyword queries have at least one structured data snippet in them!

Now I want to say I DO NOT think that this correlation is causation. I DO NOT think that putting schema mark up on your page will help it rank better. Rather that the .3% of websites are doing everything well for ranking in search, like Wikipedia,  have Schema markup on their sites.

Queries With At Least 1 structured data snippet – 59.9%

Queries With At Least 1 structured data snippet (Source: Search Metrics)

Most Common Data Most Common Data (Source: Search Metrics)

Benefits of Optimized Schema

The great benefit of using schema to structure your data is that it allows you to clearly and more prominently display your content in search engine results. This additional information can lead to improved click through rates. Also once the data is “structured” it is very scalable so it is very beneficial for large e-commerce websites. There is a ton of different ways that structured data shows up in the SERP’s.  The following are a few examples:

Product Snippet

Schema - Buy Frozen DVD Example

Event Snippet

event SERP

Recipe Snippet

recipe SERP

What SERP’s Can I Use Schema On?

This is a tough question because the SERP’s on search engines are constantly evolving. Having Schema markup doesn’t guarantee it will show up for your query, and if it does now it may change in the future.   There are a couple ways that you can check to find out if the SERP’s for your specific keyword have the opportunity to be optimized with Schema.

1. Scaling Checking Schema SERPS With AuthorityLabs (Paid Tool)   If you want to scale looking at SERP results across several keywords I suggest you use the AuthorityLabs rank tracking tool. Look for keywords with results that have “Snippets”.

Authority Labs Logo
Authority Labs SERP example

2. Google Search – Incognito Mode (Free) The quickest way to  find out if your search results have the opportunity to be optimized is to do a Google Search in Incognito mode. (If  you want results for a local result you can set the location to the area you are working for. )

How to Optimize Schema

Now that you know your key terms have rich snippets in the results. Check out the results and use the semantic inspector chrome extension to see what kind of schema markup they are using.

Because there are so many different ways to implement schema it could be a whole guide itself. So I’ve collected the best resources that will walk you through setting up schema for your site.

Schema FAQ

Q: Is it hard to implement?

A: It does take some coding and technical know how to implement but the resources I provided and the Schema help documents are very helpful.

Q: How long does it take for rich snippets to be visible?

A: Once you’ve marked up your site’s content, Google will discover it the next time we crawl your site (although it may take some time for rich snippets to appear in search results, if we do choose to display rich snippets for your site). If you’re marking up your content for rich snippets, you can let us know. Google won’t be able to individually reply to your message, but we may use the information you supply to improve our detection and display of marked-up content. (source: Google FAQ)

Q: Why doesn’t my site show rich snippets? I added everything and the test tool shows it’s ok.

A: Implementing Schema on your site does not guarantee a search engine will show Rich Snippets results. Even if structured data is marked up and can be extracted successfully according to the testing tool. Here are some reasons that marked-up pages might not be shown with Rich Snippets:

    1. The marked-up structured data is not representative of the main content of the page or potentially misleading.
    2. Marked-up data is incorrect in a way that the testing tool was not able to catch.
    3. Marked-up content is hidden from the user.
    4. The site has very few pages (or very few pages with marked-up structured data) and may not be picked up by Google’s Rich Snippets system.

(source: Google FAQ)

Q: Does rich snippets affect my ranking?

A: It does not improve rankings, but can improve the amount of clicks your content gets.

Q: Can Rich Snippets provide too much information that decreases the clickthrough rate from Google to my website?

A: To address some of the concerns, we would like to highlight once more that Google’s top goal is helping users find the right answer for their queries, not taking away traffic from the best results. Our experiments show that many sites have seen increased click through by showing an enhanced snippet because users better notice all the good content from the site.

For example, when searching for reviews, users can more quickly identify sites with a lot of review content.

The same is true for results with cooking recipes — users can more easily identify recipes that fit their criteria, and sometimes even see photos of the dish. When searching for events, more links to deeper pages on your site are shown as part of your snippet. You can try testing semantic markup on your site yourself and if you find you are losing traffic, you can always remove the markup, no hard feelings. (source: Google FAQ)

Schema Optimization Tools:

Schema Optimization Resources:

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