Published: 05 September 2016
Long gone are the days when doing a search in Google (or other search engines for that matter) would bring up a simple list of 10 organic search results and a few paid ads. As Google strives to provide a better experience for searchers, enabling them to find the answers to their queries more quickly, there are a number of additional features that are now displayed such as recipes, images, videos, news stories, map results, the ‘Rich Answer Box’ and more besides. This is in addition to paid adverts which themselves are becoming more elaborate (and also closer to organic results in appearance…)
But how do you utilise these so they appear for your website? As these are organic results, Google ultimately controls what is and isn’t shown and there is nothing you can do to force it to display these features for you. However you can make it easier for Google to find the information it needs and therefore increase the likelihood of them being show. Google will attempt to scrape information from your site and also other sources such as Google+/Google MyBusiness and Wikipedia and it often does quite a good job, but you can save it the hard work and highlight this information by using Schema.
Schema is a markup language that is used by all search engines and uses tags to highlight specific information within your website and indicate what it means. While it can be fiddly to implement, the results can mean your business stands out in search results, giving you an edge over your competitors and a better click-through-rate from search results. While there are a huge number of types of data that can be highlighted, here’s five key areas to get you started!
“People buy from people” as the saying goes so make sure that potential customers know how great past customers think your business is. Google will show reviews garnered via its own reviews system in the Knowledge Panel and also as star ratings in search listings. However you can also add Schema to reviews on your website to highlight these to search engines. Third party review sites such as Feefo will also usually add markup when reviews acquired through them are displayed on your site via a plugin.
Read more: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/reviews
Make sure that search engines show the correct details for your business. This is especially important if there are several addresses for your business, rightly or wrongly. Google uses this information to populate the Knowledge Panel (or Graph) - the box that appears to the right when someone searches for your business. You can also highlight information such as your logo, opening hours and telephone number. This has particular advantages on mobile searches as searchers can call directly from the listing.
Lots of people will check out a business’s social media profiles before buying from them as this can give a clue as to how trustworthy they are amongst other things. Make sure yours are easy to find; Google will display links to your profiles in the Knowledge Panel.
Read more: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/social-profile-links
While we always recommend using succinct, descriptive folder names in your website structure and therefore URLs, this is not always possible. This is particularly true of ecommerce sites which may have to rely on product and category IDs. This means that the URL can end up looking something like: http://www.myshop.com/cid123456/pid123465. Adding a breadcrumb trail to your website is always recommended as it makes navigating your site easier, especially going back a couple of pages. Adding schema markup so that Google displays this trail instead of your URL means that your site will appear as www.myshop.com > Cutlery > Forks in search results. Which are you more likely to click on?
Read more: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/breadcrumbs
Make it easy for searchers to find exactly what they want on your site before they’ve even entered it. This Schema moves your site’s search function to a box under its listing. A user searching using this box will then be shown a list of pages solely from your site.
Read more: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/sitelinks-searchbox