The digital marketing world is fast-paced and constantly adapting. If you want to thrive within this world and boost your efficacy, you must remain up to date with digital marketing changes.
SEO has been an essential facet of digital marketing for some time now. Search engine optimization allows digital marketers and businesses of all sizes to communicate with search engines better. This, in turn, boosts website traffic and visibility.
While schema markup isn’t as familiar to many brand owners as keyword research or content creation, it is an essential component of SEO. As a result, it’s important that you know how to use schema markup to your advantage. When used correctly, your brand can see high conversion rates, improved click-through rates, and a better online presence for your brand.
If you don’t already know the ins and outs of schema markups, it’s time to update your understanding. With a focused approach, you can benefit your brand and improve your online presence in the long term.
Schema Markup: The Basics
Though we’ve come a long way in search engine technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, it’s important to remember that search engines are far from human. While we can interpret language fairly easily, search engines do not yet have the same interpretive abilities. Instead, they must rely purely on data and coding to match search engine queries with results.
Schema markup is a facet of this code that improves the results for users. Using semantic vocabulary and microdata, schema markup translates your website’s content into information search engine algorithms and computer technology can understand. Rather than simply matching keywords like some SEO tactics, schema markups give search engines the interpretive power they’ve been lacking. This results in better and more accurate results for users. When their results are accurate, users are more likely to make the conversions you’re seeking because you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for.
How Schema Markup Works
As we briefly discussed, search engines can’t always interpret what you’re looking for on their own. This frequent inability to communicate with a search engine requires users to alter their search tactics. Many users try rewording their search, but this can easily become tedious and fruitless. The process often ends with frustration and mistakes, and users can’t find what they need to access your brand.
For example, let’s say a user searched for a recipe for Birdseed Bread. Of course, they intend for the website to find information about how to make a bread called Birdseed Bread that is meant for humans. However, instead of pulling what the user truly wants, the search engine may populate ads for birdseed products, articles about types of birdseed for different birds, information on birds native to a particular area, and perhaps one or two results containing bread recipes. This occurs when the search engine pulls results based on the terms individually rather than what they might mean together.
Schema markup acts as a meaning translator for a search engine or as an outline to place your search results better. It’s akin to how houseplants are categorized into types and genera, allowing owners to understand better how to care for them. Fortunately, once you have schema markup for your website, it should apply to all major search engines. This means that Google, Yahoo, Bing, and more can all improve their understanding of your website content.
Focus on the Searcher
While schema markup can seem like a benefit for search engines and brands, the ultimate benefit is meant for the user. After all, it’s frustrating to feel unable to find what you’re looking for on the internet, especially when there should be an entire world’s worth of information there.
However, it’s important to note the convergence between businesses and customers regarding schema markups and how they can benefit you. When users find exactly what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to convert. If they’re converting within your business’s website, you benefit as well.
Many people refer to schema markups as a “digital business card.” This is because the search engine knows and understands the searcher enough to give them direct information for a business. It will often display key information such as a business’s mission, where they’re located, the price range, and what they can offer to the searcher. This is a more direct line from your business to potential customers, with a much higher impact for conversions than a traditional business card.
What Content Benefits from Schema?
Every type of content can benefit from schema markups. The key is simply to choose the correct markup for the type of content you’re trying to promote. As long as you correctly categorize your content for the search engine, you should be able to use schema markup to boost most anything you put online. This includes:
- Product pages
- Blogs and articles
- Videos and media clips
- Events and calendar items
- Niche market information
- Updates and changes
- Reviews and testimonials
Schema markups work across all industries and types of content. As long as you’re using appropriate schema markups on each page you promote, you should see an uptick in engagement and conversion.
How Do Schema Markups Help Me?
Of course, understanding how a digital marketing tactic works doesn’t mean you can objectively determine how it will help you. When it comes to technology and digital marketing, it can be hard to draw the line between technological advancements for advancement’s sake and tangible, quantifiable results for your company. For many marketing professionals and business owners alike, it’s important to know why you’re implementing tactics – especially if you need to get budget approval to make the changes.
Here are some key ways schema markup can help you:
Get A Bigger Promotional Space
If you’re looking to garner more attention from users, sticking with traditional SERP results or angling for a featured result isn’t always the way to go. It takes a long time to play the SEO game, and many pages never make it to the top few results. When you have appropriate schema markups in your HTML, you’re more likely to take up a larger space on the results page. The search engine will display relevant information, confident it’s found what the searcher is looking for. This added space draws users’ attention and makes them more likely to click on your page.
Improve Click-Through Rates
Click-through rates, or CTRs, describe the number of times a person engages with an advertisement compared to the number of people who have seen it. This is somewhat similar to a YouTube video; you can see how many people have watched the video, as well as the number of people who have liked it. Ideally, you want everyone who sees your ad to engage with it because that means it’s working.
Schema markups give you a better chance of garnering more click-throughs per view. With a larger surface area and more descriptive information, click-through rates usually improve.
Highlight Local Businesses
Smaller local businesses don’t always have the easiest time competing with larger companies online. This is because they don’t have the ubiquitous online presence and nearly limitless access to consumer favor enjoyed by companies like Amazon and Target. Schema markups can give local businesses a leg up by clearly displaying opening hours, address, contact information, and services offered. This gives users a convenient way to see that a small, local business can meet their needs.
Improve Visibility with Your Target Audience
When a search engine understands what your page is all about, it shows it to the right people. This means that brand awareness will increase, as the search engine targets a wider net of people looking for what you have to offer. However, it also means that it can hone in on your target audience as well. When you distinguish your brand through schema markup information, you will get a wider audience. With more detail, you can then focus on those you want to attract. You essentially get the best of both worlds here, with a higher return on investment than many other SEO tactics.
Types of Schemas
Opting for schema markups is a crucial first step, but you must also focus on the right schemas for what you’re trying to accomplish with your site content. This can seem abstract without context, so we’ve assembled some of the most common schemas businesses use when they implement this strategy. However, keep in mind that there are hundreds of schemas to choose from.
Sitelink Schema Markup
Sitelink is all about taking up space on SERPs. This category of schema focuses on getting information to the user quickly and efficiently, and it does so by giving results a large area to work with. You’re more likely to get conversions this way, and you’ll increase brand awareness at the same time.
Sitelink schema markup also brings users to high converting pages rather than a generic homepage. If the user is looking to purchase a product, the sitelink schema will make that product’s page prominent, so they don’t have to navigate through landing pages to get what they want. This can decrease your bounce rates and increase your conversion rates.
Product Schema Markup
For eCommerce businesses, product schema markups are incredibly important. These schemas give users key product information such as price tag, discounts, reviews, photos, and more both conveniently and clearly. When presented with the option to choose a product whose information is clearly displayed or navigate to yet another website for something similar, most people will opt for the former. This means higher conversion rates for you.
Review Schema Markup
Review schemas are a great way to build trust with new customers. It’s infinitely easier for a new customer to buy a product, invest in services, or take a chance with your company if they know other people have had positive experiences. When reviews and testimonials aren’t readily available, there’s an automatic drop in trust.
Review schemas show excerpts from reviews and ratings from your products or services. Rather than having to gauge your company’s trustworthiness, potential customers are able to see right away that you are legitimate and helpful.
Organization Schema Markup
Organization schemas are a great way to establish a brand association, reputation management, and recognition. These schemas take all your key business information and assemble it on the side of a search engine results page. When this happens continually, users will begin to associate your brand with what they’re looking for. After enough repetition, they may begin to go directly to your page when you need something rather than use the search engine. Even if this isn’t the ultimate result, you create a strong association between your brand and certain search intents.
Breadcrumbs Schema Markup
Breadcrumbs schemas are closely related to design focused on user experience (UX). These schemas show a search engine how your website is laid out and how one page is related to another. This helps the search engine guide the user to the right spot, rather than simply abandoning them on your homepage. Overall, these schemas make for a smoother experience for the user and decrease bounce rates.
Essentially, it is critical to make the right information available to users. Breadcrumbs schemas make it easier for the engine to lead users appropriately. This makes your website seem easier to use and limits the frustration that often leads to bounce backs.
Implement Schema Markup Today
The industry of digital marketing changes incredibly quickly, and it’s never been more important to keep up. Schema markups are a fantastic way to improve your online presence, increase brand awareness and conversions, and make a name for your brand that is both visible and appealing to your target demographics. Without these tools, your website risks becoming obsolete in the ever-changing digital marketplace.
Make no mistake, though schema markups make web use infinitely easier for the user, it is far from simple to implement the schemas discussed above. Unfortunately, too many business owners confuse general understanding with the ability to DIY. This often leads to hours lost with no significant impact on your bottom line. For this reason, it’s better to reach out to a digital marketing agency to do the work for you. Not only will your marketing efforts be more efficient and offer a much better ROI, but you can also be sure you’re taking full advantage of the power of schema markups.
Dan Hamilton is the Director of Content at Zero Gravity Marketing (ZGM), a digital marketing agency in Madison, CT. ZGM is known for developing overarching marketing strategies and specializes in Pay-Per-Click, SEO, content marketing, social media, development, design, and eCommerce services.