Although this is somewhat morbid, there’s an on-going joke amongst SEO experts that the second page of Google would be an incredibly effective place to hide a dead body. And it’s true. Think about it: when was the last time you looked beyond the first page when you were conducting a Google search? We’re willing to bet it was a while ago.
So, if you have a well-designed website that has been populated with high-quality copy and content but you still aren’t getting many visitors, you probably aren’t securing enough organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs).
Research is constantly telling us that pages that rank higher on SERPs are also securing more click-throughs. For example, the number one organic result is securing an average click-through rate (CTR) of just over 31%. This top-ranking organic result is also approximately ten times more likely to secure a click than the tenth organic result.
But this clearly isn’t the only factor contributing to CTRs. In fact, Google has made a point to integrate a variety of features into SERPs that also secure clicks and one of these is rich snippets. Structured data or schema markup is also playing a central role but it’s something that is simply being overlooked by too many businesses.
What is Schema Markup?
Google wants to understand both the content and context of every webpage to ensure that it is consistently providing its users with search results populated with high-quality, relevant content. Schema markup can be used to provide Google with important information about a webpage in a standardised format.
As Paul Morris, MD at Bristol based, Superb Digital, states “Structured data is also useful for removing ambiguity. With structured data in place, an online grocery store selling apples won’t show up in the search results for resellers of Apple consumer electronics.”
A recipe page is the example that Google uses to explain structured data. So, a recipe page may use structured data to explain the ingredients, method, calories, and cooking time to help Google properly classify the page content.
But how does this translate into SERP information?
Let’s conduct a Google search for “best movies 2020”. The SERP we are presented with contains a carousel right at the top, which features images of movies that Google considers to be 2020’s best movies. These images are clickable and will take users wanting more information about a particular movie to more in-depth SERPs.
This is just one example of an interactive infobox that can appear at the top of SERPs for relevant queries. As these infoboxes sit above organic search results, securing a place within them can by-pass search engine optimisation (SEO) altogether.
What exactly does Schema Markup do?
Essentially, schema markup will allow you to provide additional information within your search results. This will ensure you take up more space in SERPs and can provide an enhanced user experience by letting visitors know what they can expect from your content when they decide to click through.
There are a variety of different types of information you can use structured data to communicate, including:
Incorporating reviews from your existing customers in your search snippets can demonstrate to new leads that you are a reputable and authoritative business within your niche. Plus, the orange stars are instantly eye-catching!
2. Location Information
As local search becomes increasingly prominent, showcasing the precise address of your business within SERPs can help you to boost footfall and entice new customers into your store.
3. Contact Information
Similarly, structured data can be used to make it incredibly easy for potential customers to get in touch. This will reduce the number of steps they will need to take to contact you, thereby increasing the likelihood that you will hear from them.
If your business has an upcoming event, highlighting this information within your search snippet using event schema can help you to secure additional attendees. Even if a potential customer doesn’t want to attend this specific event, it will still demonstrate that you are an active business that is eager to host interesting events and engage your audience in meaningful ways.
5. Product Information
We all know that marketplaces are competitive and if your search snippet contains even just the smallest amount of additional information, you’re far more likely to secure a click over your competitor brands. You’re aiming to provide ‘just enough’ information to out-do your competition and appeal directly to your target audience.
It is possible to use schema markup to display specific product prices in the SERPs which can be beneficial but requires testing to make sure. This can be very valuable if your offering has a lower price than everything else on that SERP but likely won’t work if your offering has a much higher price tag. If the latter is the case, you might find it more valuable to use price range schema which will use a price indicator, such as £ for affordable offerings or £££ for more premium offerings.
It is also possible to use schema markup to display the availability of a particular product. This can be beneficial if you’re offering an in-demand product with limited availability because it can create an instant sense of urgency. It is unlikely to be beneficial if key items are currently out of stock as this will likely result in a sudden reduction in the CTR for that result.
What do I need to know about Schema Markup?
Arguably most importantly, you need to know precisely what your ideal audience is searching for and the intent that sits behind that search to ensure that your search result is perfectly pitched to capture their attention.
In addition to capturing their attention and securing their click, it is also imperative that the page they land on contains the information they were promised. Don’t forget, failing to fulfil your promise will impact your overall image and make it impossible for your target audience to view you as a trustworthy operation that can enhance their lives.
Schema markup implementation is a technical process that requires in-depth HTML, coding and SEO knowledge, so this isn’t beginner’s stuff and it pays to work with a reputable SEO agency, who have case studies and a proven track record (like Superb Digital who we mentioned above).