We recently discussed about the new Core Web Vitals coming to Google and how it will affect your search engine ranking. But before you optimise for UX and performance, you need to get the structure of your content right and tell the search engines how to understand it.
And yet, only a third of the websites are using schema markup and microdata to help search engines better index their content.
If you're not using it, you are missing on a lot of opportunities to be featured on top of the search engine as rich snippets. And we've helped our clients be promoted on featured snippets and boost their traffic by over 200%. It's not a secret, but it's vastly under-utilised.
So let's fix that today.
Hey, welcome to this new edition of Digital Blitz, your short brief on everything. UX, Tech and Compliance. I am Sylvain Reiter and I'm here to help you succeed in digital, by delivering better experiences for your team and your customers.
Why do we need Schema Markup?
As everyone knows, search engines are the primary place where we find information online and they work by scanning the pages on your websites and extracting the words out of it. But if you look at the HTML code behind the scene, it's just plain text with some formatting tags to make things bold or highlight the titles, but it doesn't really help the search engine crawlers to understand what each piece of content is really about. And yes, they've gotten much smarter in recent years: they can understand the context of the page and can disambiguate meaning, but it's far from perfect.
So in a rare collaboration effort between Google, Bing and even Yahoo at the time, these companies collaborated to define a set of code markers to help tell search engines what your text and your data is about.
This is called "schema markup" or "microdata". This is a bit of hidden code to help them understand your content and what type of data it is.
Why use Schema Markup?
You can tag an article, a company, products, courses or events, job postings, HowTos, FAQ's and reviews... a lot of different formats. The recommended technical format is called JSON-LD, it's a piece of code that you can add to your pages.
And the main benefits for your site is that it will make it more likely to be featured in the rich results, you know, those boxes at the top of the results where Google extract a section of your site, and displayed directly on their results page.
Schema Markup is a team effort
Another point to remember is that planning and implementing the schema markup is actually everyone's jobs.
- The marketers can do it in their content management system via plugins or custom fields.
- The developers should absolutely do it in the code, both in the front end templates and render it from the backend code.
- The UX designers as well need to plan it when they define the structure of new pages and prototype the key sections, so they can give specification to the dev team
- Even the copywriters, because the schema amplifies the content strategy and they need to feature the key elements that they're optimising for.
Once you plan and deploy the schema markup, you can use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to validate your implementation and make sure everything is working properly.
Schema Markup is evolving
The schema markup is constantly evolving. I just discovered last week that there is new markup for paywalled content and even Google just announced another one for a price drop, so it's very important for e-commerce sites too, to tag those.
To summarise, schema.org own instructions explained clearly that "the more content you markup the better". And John Mueller who's Google's spokesperson for schema markup confirmed in recent tweets that they will also use that to drive visual search and predictive discovery.
So please, get the basics right and start marking up your websites to boost your search engine rankings.
If you need help with starting on this journey or need more advanced supports to optimise your sites, just get in touch. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter to keep learning with me and grow your career in digital.
Until next time, stay safe and see you soon.