Bringing a ground-breaking collaboration amongst the world’s top search engines, Schema.org is accountable for creating a way that made it easier to sort out and identify critical information on websites. Though various businesses have implemented this new proposal of website design, however there are many local businesses yet left who have not adopted new-fangled designs and SEO practices. Schema Mark-up is not yet fully implemented and so businesses cannot gain much from their online endeavours.
As per this TechCrunch article,” Merely 25% of U.S. local businesses have their online portals while just 10% show their prices online.” If the local businesses are expected online returns and wish to get much more from their online marketing business, they should implement Schema Mark-up.
What is Schema Mark-up?
Schema.org is a semantic vocabulary written which is standardised by a collaborative team of renowned search engines Bing, Yahoo and Google. This language is now more acceptable and is likely to be really helpful in near future. The information is presented by this type of structured mark-up will allow the search engines to exhibit significant information easily in search results such as reviews, phone numbers, hours, testimonials and even menus.
In a layman language, just like you give your business card to someone mentioning your name, what you do and how can they contact you if they require your services, Schema.org is simply like handling your business card to Google with your standard information listed.
How to implement Schema Mark-up or your virtual business card?
- Be careful of Geographic Mark-up
If you are implementing Schema to your website, make it sure that you appropriately list your geographic as well as your contact information. This is an initial step in your website design and thus must be implemented carefully. There is an important Local Business section of categories as part of footer or contact page of their website in Schema.org that can be implemented. These categories include phone number, address, operating hours, fax, accepted payment types and many more.
How is this beneficial?
Schema.org improvises the way websites are shown in search results. This is done by –
- Providing richer Search results
- Giving the websites a better possibility of being listed in SERPs
- Potentially escalating pure traffic as much as by 25-30%
The schema.org offers a method to appropriately label the HTML codes of your portal such that various search engines such as Google, yahoo and Bing could better understand the meaning of content. Without the labels, the content will appear to be same to all the search engines. For an instance, if your portal is detailing the information regarding the size, colour, fabric, price, availability of clothing, in HTML code, it will all look similar. However, by making use of Schema Mark-up, you can easily tell your search engines about what is present on your webpage. In short, you will be able to describe what things are present on your portal.
How do the schema mark-up helps Search engines?
The on-page schema mark-up adds specific labels to different components of your HTML coding and thereby assists the search engines in perceiving the presentation and categorisation of your database and information. This way the search engines get a direct access to the structured data and thus are able to locate detailed information on a website. This helps them in displaying the richer and better results for users. Also the schema mark-up improves chances of displaying relevant information on your website
Here is an example of X Restaurant located in Los Angeles, CA whose information is displayed via div tags of Schema Mark-up:
1245 Aviation Way
Los Angeles, CA, 90017
Hours of operation:
Tuesday to Saturday 5pm to 10pm
Adding the schema-
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Restaurant”>
<span itemprop=”name”>X Restaurant</span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”> 1245 Aviation Way</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”> Los Angeles</span>,
<span itemprop=”telephone”> xxx-xxx-xxxx</span>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.yourwebsitename.com”
By using the ‘itemprop’ in the span tag, the search engine will easily identify the schema mark-up property for that piece of information. In this example for a restaurant, the information visible to the visitors is the one that is displayed between the span and div tags. Unless the visitors see the source code of a website, they will not be able to tell that a business is using schema. All the properties are shown on Schema.org in their applicable category.
If the local businesses have continuously updated contents with them or a blog they should also make use of Google Authorship on Schema.org to increase the credibility of their website. By using this important piece of mark-up, the website owners can connect the author’s names on the website to their Google+ profiles by making use of rel=Author tag. This tag is really critical in categorising a person’s written content online. This possibly leads to enhanced exposure, higher Author Rank and greater visitor traffic especially if the person is a renowned name.
Also as soon as the author lists various places where they have contributed on Google+ profiles, and rel=Author tag is used to link their name, the results are automatically pulled. There are many developers that also offer some WordPress plugins for author boxes. This makes it easier to connect everything together. The results shown will display the author’s picture in addition to their name and Google+ circle metrics. Also the links of more work will be displayed.
Having good written content such as articles, blogs latest new updates increase the credibility and visibility of authors and also of businesses. An article written on topics like health and nutrition on a restaurant’s website for the target audience holds more credibility than to having no content at all.
How does the schema mark-up helps the searchers?
By adding the schema mark-up to your content of your websites, you not just make it understandable for the search engines, rather you also provide relevant information to your searchers which otherwise is unfeasible. Since the schema tags instantly tells what information is mentioned on each page of a site, it makes it easier to locate key information quickly and display in the search results to impatient searchers.
Do the SEOs really need this?
By stuffing the keywords in content of your websites without undergoing an in-depth research, many SEOs engage in non-RCS activity that can make them forget that their basic aim was to optimise a website. In making link building schemes, they usually get diverted and make your website stand out of SERPs.
By using Schema Mark-up, the websites are well optimised with Schema micro data. This positions you ahead of the curve of Web Designers and SEOs.
Benefits of using Schema mark-up
1. It gives the users the high quality search results
By using the schema mark-ups you help the search engines to show results closer to a visitor’s queries. This enhances the quality of your search results and ultimately positively impacts on bringing higher customer traffic to your page.
2. Helps Google in generating Rich Snippets
The schema used by Google helps it in generating rich snippets in the search engines. These snippets include page ratings, prices, reviews, people, events etc.
3. It helps the search engines in getting a deeper understanding of your website
Since the content is well organised and structured to enhance the understanding of search engines, the engines know when o appropriately show the information in search results. They better evaluate your content and thereby increase relevant visits to your page.
- 4. Schema helps in reducing bounce rate
Since the search engines better evaluates your content and present just the right information about your page in SERPs, there are greater probabilities that only the interested visitors clicks on your link. Since the visitor is interested, there are greater chances that they will stay on your website for longer.
- 5. Schema helps in setting you apart of the competition
If you are planning to stay ahead of competition, implementing the schema mark-up is a great way especially if they haven’t yet started implementing this. By implementing so, the potential of your link getting displayed in search engines will increase and thereby you will be able to provide a rich user experience.
Testing a Schema Mark-up
Google offers Free Rich Snippets Testing Tools to test Schema Mark-up. After implementing your schema virtual business card, you can use the tool to make sure that the Bing and Google could appropriately understand the meaning of content.
A take away tip-
The businesses in order to increase their exposure and pull in better reviews, must also set up their Google+ business page. Though it has no direct relation with the Schema Mark-up, but since Google Places have merged into Google+, having a well managed page will make sure that the business gets more reviews and other schema information. Ultimately the aim is to increase online returns.