Whether you are managing a website for a small business or attempting to launch an international campaign, there’s no doubting that effective SEO can be the power boost you need. While many have a general idea of what SEO is, most are unaware that the concept of SEO is a constantly evolving system.
New methods and techniques are being developed every day to help websites direct traffic. One such method being the innovative and creative method of schema markup. Schema markup is a fairly new technique, however, when properly utilized it can be incredibly effective. Like all SEO techniques, schema markup follows a distinct set of rules that need to be learned.
How Can Schema Markup Help Boost Your SEO?
SEO conferences around the world have been abuzz with the concept of schema marketing. As powerful as the results are, if you’re dedicated enough to learn the craft, you can add schema markup to your arsenal of powerful SEO tools.
As with all methods, we don’t suggest just jumping into the practice and trying to figure out how to put it into effect. The better your understanding is of what schema markup is and how it works, the better equipped you will be to put into action. Read on to learn more about schema marketing and how it can be the SEO boost you’re looking for.
What is Schema Markup?
First, let’s break down what schema markup actually is. Schema markup is actually a variation of semantic vocabulary. Sound complicated already? Don’t worry. At its basis semantic vocabulary is simply the ability to break down a sentence (in any language) into it’s varying parts. For example, while you may be able to interpret “mydogneedswater” as “my dog needs water”, a computer typically can’t. In the same way, schema markup uses semantic vocabulary to break down the language of the computer. In this case, the computer’s language would be its code.
So do you have to be fluent in code to practice schema markup? Not necessarily. What you do need to know is what it is you want to communicate and the most way it’s most likely to be searched for on a search engine. For example, if you are looking to display a calendar of live music for a restaurant, the schema markup will communicate to the search engine to display that schedule.
This addition of direct and valuable content not only makes it easier for the user, but it also increases the ranking of the business. Now, that restaurant will not only pop up when “restaurants in the area” is searched but also when “live music in the area” is searched.
How is Schema Markup different from Traditional SEO
While schema marketing may seem like it’s broken down differently than traditional SEO, it’s more like a compliment to the practice. While we would all like to believe that Google has held on to the same formulas used for over a decade, the search engine has rapidly responded.
While traditional SEO relies on steady streams of text and key buzzwords, it doesn’t help search engines know what the page is actually about. Google is less likely to pick out individual words from SEO usage, making it more difficult to get direct results for searches. For example, Traditional SEO may involve a file named “Dogslovecats”. Now, if a Google user happens to look up “dogs love cats” then you are in luck. However, if the user searched “who do dogs love?”, you’re less likely to pop up, even though the answer is obviously stated on the page.
Schema markup solves this problem by letting Google know that the page is in fact about “Animals dogs love”. The message is put in through the code in a broken down language that is easier for the computer to understand. Now, if schema markup is used correctly the search engine will pull in additional information from the site to make the page’s message even clearer.
How does Schema Markup work?
The real power of schema markup is found within snippets compiled together within a search. Without providing flows and flows of keywords into the code, the schema markup uses natural language processing to give the search engine the task of figuring out what your website is about. Consider it this way, if your typical SEO keywords and content was the story within a book, schema markup would be the chapters within that book, and the search engine would work like a more powerful table of contents.
Another reason why schema markup is so popular? Because as of now, it’s not used by many websites. In fact, only 31.3% of websites are fully utilizing the power of this SEO tool.
Does this mean you should only use schema marketing and ditch your usual SEO practices? Not necessarily. Imagine all of your SEO practices are like physical signs pointing to your business. While one giant billboard may help people notice you, the more signs you have the easier it becomes for others to find you.
With just basic SEO search engines can interpret about 80% of your site. Schema markup is what provides them with the additional 20%. Through valuable content (like review snippets, recipe snippets or even an image-rich snippet) the user easily finds what they are looking for and the traffic to your site is increased.
Common Schema Markup Mistakes
While schema markup can be a powerful tool, it’s not foolproof. If you have been working with SEO for some time then you know that there’s nothing Google hates more than spammy content. In fact, using spam-like methods can even get you penalized and hurt your Google ranking.
Just like traditional SEO methods, schema markup can fall in the potential of the “spam zone” and can set you back if the search engines don’t like what they see.
The good news is you can avoid receiving a penalty by keeping some rules in mine.
– Always make sure your markup schema is aligned with Googles most recent guidelines. Remember when we said Google is a constantly evolving thing? It’s important to stay up to date on its rules and regulations so you can stay in the green.
–Test your markup schema before going live. When it comes to the ranking of your site the last thing you want to do is play guessing games. Fortunately, Google has a Structured Data Testing Tool that can allow you to check your schema markup prior to going live, saving you the frustration of a penalization.
Best Uses for Schema Markup
Schema markups can help drive traffic to virtually any business type. However, it may not be as useful for businesses currently using a single page website. The reason for this is that a schema markup is most successful when there is a number of pages for a search engine to point to.
The more variety is represented through pages on your website, the better schema markup will work. For example, if you represent a travel company you would want to have a page dedicated to each location and those locations broken down into further pages like restaurants, outdoor activities, museums etc.
You want to position your schema markup this way because those searching on Google are much more likely to type in a search like “restaurants in Connecticut” then just “Connecticut”. The more niche each page can become the more it can show for searches.
When a site has several pages under one subcategory (like Connecticut restaurants, Connecticut museums, Connecticut hotels, etc.) then you’re in the perfect place for the search engine to string those pages together into one snippet!
So, if your business positions you to have multiple pages of specific but valuable content, schema markups will work well in your favor!
How to incorporate Schema Markup On Your Website
Now that you know the value and the theory behind schema markup, let’s dig into how you can put this powerful SEO concept into effect. In order to use schema markup to achieve a better rank you’ll want to take the following steps:
– First, head to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Don’t we love those friendly folks at Google? They have literally created a tool to help you easily build your schema markup.
– Once there, you’re going to want to select the type of data you’ll be using. Don’t be concerned when you notice that the selection list is rather small, just pick the category that you feel closest applies to your site. If you’re still unsure try going with the “articles” category.
– Next, paste the URL you are trying to do a schema markup for. Don’t worry if you only have an HTML instead of a static URL, you can still paste it into this space. Finally, click submit.
– Now that you’ve submitted your info, you should be brought to the “tag data” page. Here you’ll want to highlight the elements or subjects you want to mark.
– Keep on going! The more marked up items the better! Anything you think can potentially be searched for (and doesn’t appear spammy) should be added to the markup list.
– Finally, click the “Create HTML” button. The code will be created and this will be the code you implement into your website!
Other SEO Tactics to Partner with Schema Markup
Remember, Schema Marketing is not intended to replace your current SEO methods. Rather it should be used as a compliment to more traditional SEO methods.
Other forms of SEO you can integrate into your site include:
– A keyword-driven blog, with valuable content, added on a regular basis.
– Lengthening existing pages.
-Creating a Youtube channel and making videos often.
-Increasing your site speed
-Streamlining your market and focusing on one area.
-Keeping up with analytics and reporting
-Looking into guest posting from writers that can contribute strong content
-Incorporating SEO into file names for the code.
These are just some of the many SEO techniques that can help boost your site to a higher ranking. However, if you want to keep up with the constant evolution of The Google Monster, it’s important to stay aware of changing regulations. If you can, dedicate time to studying SEO on a regular basis. New techniques are constantly emerging and evolving, to stay ahead of the pack you need to be aware of these changes.
The good news is, when used correctly, schema markup and other SEO techniques can be the massive shift your website and business needs.
Final Take Away
Schema markups don’t have to be as scary as they sound. Ultimately you’re just breaking down the language of your code into a format that search engines can easily digest.
The more pages of valuable content and the more subcategories you have on your site, the more information the search engine can collect for you.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to apply schema markups. Simply utilizing the Google Structured Data tool will point you in the right direction. However, it’s incredibly important to stay up to date on the changes made to Google’s Algorithm to avoid being penalized.
Finally, schema markups are intended to be an SEO compliment, not a replacement. Adding this technique to your roster of existing SEO methods will help elevate your business while significantly boosting traffic. And who doesn’t want that?
Finding the Right Experts for a Schema Markup
Schema markup can be a complete game changer for a business. Unfortunately, most CEO’s don’t have the time or patience to consistently stay on top of new SEO techniques or constantly changing Google Algorithms. The result of attempting on your own can actually hurt your site’s ranking, rather than help it.
We get it. You got to where you are because you’re good at what you do, not because you know SEO. That’s where we come in. At TopSpot we focus solely on using the right combination of SEO Techniques to position your website at the top of search engines.