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The Gem in Plain Sight: Schema Markup for SEO

Ananda Kannan S P

Let’s cut the chase and get to the point. It is well-known by now that Google is the leader of the search pack. So, it is basically that they set the standard and others follow. So, if you can get a good organic SEO ranking on Google for the concepts, products or services you wish to sell, then you stand a high chance of making it big by establishing a good reputation in the SEO domain.

One of the fundamentals of search is that a query or text is entered in the search bar. Now again, this can even be a voice command or keystrokes depending on the device in use. But essentially, a user is entering an idea into the search bar and is seeking more information around that concept, idea or service.

So, the challenge, in short, is how do you let a machine know what you mean? Let us take a classic example of the word ‘Déjà vu’. How does a machine differentiate whether a user is searching for the meaning of the word ‘Déjà vu’ or a movie of the same name? Again, there are added complications when some terms also have connotations in a local language. So, if I say ‘Xerox’, do I mean a company or the process of photocopying, which is called ‘Xerox’ in common parlance in certain parts of the world? 

Similarly, events are difficult for a search engine to understand. 

Hence, to attain a good SEO ranking or to deliver good SEO Services, the challenge is in communicating what the data means. It should make Google understand that the search query is not just some words typed in the search bar but that it is referring to a specific concept.

How can this be achieved?

This is where the concept of Schema markup comes in. Schema markup in the simplest of terms is a method to communicate to the search engine that is indexing the web page what the content means. The core concept of a Schema markup and what went behind the founding can be found in http://schema.org/docs/about.html

While no spectacular coding skills are required for Schema markup implementation, a point to note is that 200+ parameters go into determining an SEO rank. Digital marketing experts who work for the best SEO company in Chennai strongly suggest “Schema markup is usually a neglected area in SEO strategies. Once the correct idea is grasped and implemented, then Schema markup can be used effectively to achieve good results in SEO”.

FAQ Schema Example:

<script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Question 1 here","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Your Answer Here"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"Question 2 here","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Your Answer Here"}}]}</script>

You can test the above code in your page and modify it accordingly. Then test your web page with Rich Results Test Tool.

Case Study 1

Jobrapido, one of the global leaders in the job search domain with 80+ million registered users and a presence in over 50 countries. Their challenge was to attract more applicants across multiple geographies and increase their reach.

With the introduction of Schema markup, Jobrapido went on to add job posting structured data to the job posting web pages. This leads to a 115% increase in organic traffic and 15% lower bounce rate. While the complete case study can be accessed here, it goes on to show how small changes can have a pertinent impact.

Case Study 2

Eventbrite is an event management and ticketing company that allows users to browse, create and promote events. They were faced with the challenge of helping users find events by using Google search. 

Then they began using structured data on their website. “We had seen some great traction through our SEO efforts,” says Allen Jilo, an Eventbrite product manager. “Around the time Google started to leverage the schema.org markup for events, we noticed that events were showing up in search results in a different way. We were interested in working more closely with Google on scaling that.”

Subsequently, by making small changes to their structured data and following the rules of event documentation they saw 100% increase in year-on-year traffic growth.

Factors to be considered when implementing a Schema markup

Without going into coding and jargon, some key points to be kept in mind when implementing Schema markup are

  • Schema is a standardized and unique vocabulary. It is available in microdata format and thus can be crawled upon and picked by search engines easily. Once this is done, the search engine can comprehend the result and offer a relevant result to users.
  • By implementing this Schema markup, since the indexing and data comprehension by a search engine is facilitated, users can directly see on the search result page more details at a first glance. This is an important point for marketers to note because if the information displayed is useful and informative, the user will click and clicking means there is a greater chance to generate a lead.
  • Even though Schema markup as a concept has been around for a few years, right from the times of a ‘Hummingbird’ update, it has not been implemented widely or understood correctly. Thus, while a Schema implementation cannot be considered the sole reason for good SEO ranking, it does give a good leg up against competition.
  • Markup categories are extensive. Hence, do make a precise choice on the itemscope and itemtype, among others. Even ratings and events can be tagged using Schema, making it a powerful tool for e-commerce websites, among others.
  • A useful tool is Google’s Structured data and markup helper. Utilize the same effectively.
  • Use Schema markup on a consistent basis. It is a general rule that the more the elements marked up by Schema the better.
  • Remember that Schema markup is only for the elements visible to people and not for anything that is hidden.

Since Schema is an industry-wide collaboration, it is not only useful but also stable. However, it is only as useful as the way it is implemented and that requires skill and tact. Correctly done, Schema markup implementation is sure to move the needle and power a marketer ahead of competition.

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