Many SEOs and PPC specialists haven’t been paying enough attention to schema. Schema markup helps Google index your content and fills in the right rail (AKA SERP sidebar) with details from the knowledge graph. It’s great for movie listings, retail products, and PR. An example here is for comedy star Chris Pratt –
Notice how his bio information is filled in on the right hand side and the small blue links that are visible in the IMDb entry, which organically ranks in the first spot. That’s no accident.
The “rich snippets” of additional information indicated by the red arrow are the result of schema code. These microdata tags are there to help searchers find additional relevant information about the subject and for search engines to more easily index the content. You can find out more about Microdata at Schema.org. Rich snippets should be as much a part of your on-page SEO process as the practice of alt tagging images.
Schema markup usually uses tags such as “itemprop” to mark up various universal categories. Check out these examples from the Guardians of the Galaxy listing at IMDB –
Schema code is machine readable. This enables it to be used in automated routines. For example, Google has made available the Automatic Item Update tool which lets retailers use schema code to directly update their product listing ads. Consequently, rich snippets that contain price and other data can be directly updated into the ad from the retailer's website on a near real-time basis.
Given that shopping cart abandonment is such a huge issue today, having schema code implemented in pages which resolve to product listing ads is vital, especially with mobile ads. While we haven’t had a chance to see exactly how this will be implemented with Google’s announced mobile buy button, there's little question that schema will be part of Google's new plan.
Schema has grown from being an obscure, optional feature of on-page SEO to an essential practice for e-commerce.
Here are five tips useful when implementing schema on your pages:
- Fill out those microdata tags. You’ll be glad you did! They’re they'll make your PLA campaigns more efficient, make for a better user experience for your searchers, and make for better SEO in general.
- Don’t abuse rich snippets. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Google may slam those who abuse rich snippets with information that doesn't belong there or information isn't accurate. For example, fake reviews, irrelevant data and other nonsense are to be avoided at all costs. Make sure you correctly follow the schema guidelines. Check out Google’s structured data guidelines. Abuse of rich snippets can invite manual penalties.
- Test to make sure that your rich snippets populate. Google has a rich snippet testing tool here.
- Make sure that your microdata aligns with your on-page content, including images, text, alt tags, and keywords.
- Make sure you also follow other SEO best practices, including keyword SEO, alt tagging, url structure, and so on.
Correctly using Microdata can bring significant improvement to your SEO, content and PLA campaigns.
Do you use schema? Let us know how it's helped your rankings in the comments.