We are always looking for ways to increase Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, to rank in the top of search engine results. If you aren’t, you should be. Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms in order to provide the consumer with the most relevant results based on their search queries. And people are getting smarter about using long tail searches to better find what they want.
Enter schema.org, AKA schema markup or structured markup. This type of code has been around for years, but few sites use it to their best advantage.
Schema is a type of microdata added to the site’s HTML code that makes it easier for search engines to scan and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can serve relevant results to users based on search queries.
Explained by Google itself, “Structured data refers to kinds of data with a high level of organization, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data markup is a text-based organization of data that is included in a file and served from the web. It typically uses the schema.org vocabulary—an open community effort to promote standard structured data in a variety of online applications.”
Schema.org is the centralized location on the web for the Schema project, a collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines. Google claims that they do not use schema microdata as a ranking signal. However, it does improve your site’s rich snippets, which can help your site appear more prominently in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
“Snippets” are ways to show additional information in search results without having to click on it first. In general terms, snippets are just text, which doesn’t do much in the way of enhancing the listing. Including rich snippets, however, can draw the reader’s attention with colors, pictures and brief descriptions. Reviews, ratings and a myriad of other data can also be included.
People searching for something on the web have become increasingly savvy about entering a very specific request because they are looking for more fine-tuned results. After entering a keyword or phrase, a multitude of results are presented and searchers are then left to choose which looks the most relevant to what they were after in the first place.
The following is an example of a listing containing rich snippets, resulting in a search for “summer zucchini recipes”.
Including schema microdata can help search engine crawlers interpret the content of your pages more effectively. This, in turn, can increase your visibility, but it shouldn’t be considered a fast and easy solution for SEO. It’s a way to make it easier for search engines to find and display your content. Clear, concise rich snippets can result in higher click-through rates, as users can quickly and easily determine whether the content on your site is what they’re looking for. If they click on your site, and it gives them what they need, the likelihood of them going back to the search results is negligible.
A word of warning: Because there are many options for additional rich snippets, you may think that the more the better. For example, under a restaurant’s listing, you could include price ranges, hours of operation, specials, etc. But adding more will eventually clog the search engines and it may produce a negative result. The key is to decide which rich snippets are most beneficial to your site to make you stand out among your competitors.
Using schema markup and rich snippets should be a part of your overall SEO strategy. Implementing this tactic may sound confusing and difficult, especially if you’re not a techie. But Colorado Springs SEO for Growth understands the benefits and how to use it to boost your rankings over your competition.
If you want to know how your website ranks for SEO, contact us today for a complimentary website audit!