If you haven’t heard of schema markup yet, then you’re already behind in the game. But don’t worry; while approaching the topic and learning what it is and how to implement it can be daunting, there are multiple tips and tools that can help you get your feet off the ground and give your web pages better visibility in a short amount of time. It is because of this that we highly recommend Schema markup optimization as part of your B2B SEO strategy.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema.org is a collaborative initiative from the major search engines (Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, Yandex and more) that was made to create a common language for mutual understanding between a webpage and search engines. The language, known as schema markup or structured data, allows these search engines to better understand your content in a quick fashion and helping your SEO strategy. In short, Schema makes your unstructured data into structured data.
Schema is not seen by end-users on a live page, but rather, is placed in the HTML code of the page. While this may worry some people into thinking that this makes it hard to create and implement, thankfully it is not, with many applications and websites offering free tools to create your markup with little input and simply needing to copy and paste into the code (we’ll dive deeper into this in another blog).
What Are The Benefits Of Schema Markup?
Ranking Factor (Well, kinda)
While having the markup is not a direct ranking factor (at least according to Google), adding it to your page can greatly increase your click-through rate (CTR) and therefore become an indirect ranking factor. Making sure Google and other search engines fully understand your page is crucial to your SERP placement and overall SEO strategy and Schema ensures this.
Schema markup also enhances your search result display, adding supporting information and giving users a deeper look into your landing page, enticing users to choose your result. Displaying more information (and hopefully informative information) helps users and search engines give more authority to your landing page. This supporting information is added in rich snippets, which we’ll dive deeper into now.
What Are Rich Snippets?
Proper Schema implementation makes your page eligible to be awarded a rich snippet: an enhanced version of your result snippet. We’ll go through the main “rich snippet” use cases that are relevant for B2B companies like yours.
The holy grail of rich snippets is a featured snippet.
Placed below the ads and above the first organic result, a featured snippet extracts relevant information from a landing page based on the user's search and displays it in a clear, large format that stands out from the rest of the search results in a dedicated box.
While having a featured snippet has been proven to greatly increase CTR, some have argued that these types of rich snippets have led people to actually not click through to any results page as they find their answer in SERPs themselves and don’t need to click through. In reality, this is most likely a small number and hey, better that they see a result from your site and not click through than from your competitor and not click through.
Additional Rich Snippet Formats
While a featured snippet will surely have the greatest impact on your CTR, there are many additional rich snippets that will also enhance your search result and can be achieved through Schema implementation:
- “People also ask” or Q&A snippet - It's one of our favorite snippets and one we’re all familiar with in the search results. For many searches, a dropdown list of questions will show after 2 or 3 results. Here you’ll see questions related to the search with short answers available to searchers, without continuing to a landing page. In recent years, these results have become better and better with some answers being sufficient enough that users don’t need to click through to a landing page. What is nice, is that the landing page is still credited in the result, unlike some other rich snippets.
To display in the “People also ask” results, it is necessary that you have questions in the content of your landing page. To optimize, we recommend formatting some of your H2s as questions, with the answers following in the body.
- Organizational - Your company’s business information including address, name, logo, and anything else you may want to add are displayed. A good example where this can be displayed is your Google My Business (GMB) panel. We talk more about this later in the blog.
- Video - With a video-rich snippet your video will be displayed on top of the results with a large thumbnail, video duration, and other useful information. This makes your video stand out and can increase CTR.
While there are other snippet types such as event, product, and news snippets, we felt that the ones we mentioned were most relevant for B2B companies.
What are the types of Schema Markup?
While we discussed how Schema markup can benefit you and the types of rich snippets it can generate, we are now going to discuss some of the different types of Schema markup that can be created. While the types of Schema and types of rich snippets can be confused for each other (and some of them do share the same name), it’s important to separate them and understand their differences. The rich snippet is how your result will appear, while the schema is the secret sauce behind the scenes that allows you to get these enhanced search results. As with the rich snippets section, we will discuss markups most relevant for B2B companies.
- Article - This is how you will mark up blog posts, news pieces, and similar posts. This markup will help your blogs be better understood by search engines in a clear and concise format. This markup includes the article type (blog, news article, etc), author, date published and updated, URL, title, images, a short description, and more. Make sure this is on all of your posts.
- FAQ - As mentioned above, the frequently asked questions-rich snippet is a great way to be displayed when you're answering a searcher's query. This schema is implemented in a different format than the article schema in which you add your text in a bulk format, as for FAQ, you will input your schema in, well, a question-answer format. It’s important to note here, that for this schema, you MUST use the exact text from your content without any changes, while in some formats, organizational, video, etc. text doesn’t need to match exactly to the article.
FAQ schema is one of the only schemas that we would say is worth “optimizing” your content for. For example, adapting (at least some of) your H2s into question form so that they can then be added to the schema markup (as you can see I did in this blog).
- Video - This is a great way to really make your video stand out. By adding schema to your videos, you can accomplish two things. The first is that since search engines don’t watch your video like they read the text of a page. When search engines crawl a video, the only thing they use to form an understanding of the content are things like alt text, description and you guessed it, Schema markup. So by adding this markup, search engines will know what your video is about.
The second thing that the markup can do is push your video to be displayed as a featured video result as we discussed earlier.
- Organization - As discussed in the snippet section, this markup allows you to tell search engines all about your organization. Name, logo, websites, social media pages (under the “SameAs” section),
- How to - If you have an article in a how-to format, perhaps instructions about using your product or on how something works, the HowTo markup can be taken advantage of. This will display your result in a step-by-step format so readers can easily digest the instructions through the snippet.
As you can see, these markups are well worth the not-so-great effort needed to add them to your pages.
In a separate blog, we discuss how you can add schema markup to your webpages. Spoiler alert: It’s not so difficult and there are plenty of tools that make it simple, even for someone with a little technical background.
Before we conclude, we wanted to leave you with some tips for adding Schema markup to your site.
You can and should use multiple schema types on a page. You shouldn’t do this unnecessarily, but for example, when you can add “article” and “FAQ” schema on the same page, this can only help.
Use a 3rd party tool to generate your manual schema and to test it. This will make your life much easier. Our favorite is the Merkle Schema Markup Generator.
Only markup content that is on your page. Don’t try to cheat the system. In the past, people stuffed their markup with content that wasn’t on the page. Google has cracked down on this in recent times.
Maximize the “organization” markup with as much info as possible so people know what you are all about. Stuff the “sameAs” section within the organization with anything you can i.e social media channels, Wikipedia page, Crunchbase, etc.
Having Schema markup on your site should be a given today. With the opportunity to attain featured and rich snippets, and a way to clearly relay your content to search engines, it would be foolish not to. It is a relatively simple way to enhance your SERP result and should certainly be part of your overall SEO strategy.
Be sure to check out our next blog on “How to Implement Schema on Your Pages” to make sure you correctly add Schema to your website.
by Guest Author: Daniel Stroh on May 30, 2022
Daniel Stroh is a seasoned Digital Marketer with a specialization in SEO