Why Should I Add Schema Markup to My Website? .

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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!

Reviews

“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

Local Business

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.

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/local-businesses

Social Channels

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

Breadcrumb Trail

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

Searchbox

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

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
sag-author100x100

Sagittarius

05 Sep 2016 - 5 minute read
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