Google Releases New Update to Structured Data Markup That Can Boost Your SEO
To Soar in Search Results Today You Need Structured Data Markup! The release of Google’s Structured Data Pages update on January 13 indicates one clear message: usability and user experience come first with a focus on how clear and accessible the main content of a specific page is.
What we’ll be witnessing throughout 2016 is search criteria based more on actual user experience being integrated into algorithms. Since structured data plays an increasing role in helping search engines understand what the user would be or is experiencing, Google is asking Web Masters to get structured data on their web pages via Schema markup language.
This means that more Marketers are pushing to broadening their skills regarding Google organic search presence and SEO tactics. This is coming in the form of increased attention being paid to featured rich snippets generated by structured data and in preparation for the new Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP). Typically when a website falls victim to a Panda penalty it is due to multiple web content issues. Before searching for ways to add structured data markup, in this scenario, take care of any reasons why Google already has an issue with crawling your site. Positive results from schema implementation can be expected by healthy and trusted sites. Address basic issues first, and then assume the additional layer of complexity and work to make your content easier to read. When successful in adding markup, the result will likely be that you aided search engines to better understand your content. Conduct a comprehensive audit to identify opportunities to implement more structured data markup.
We’ll help you stay current with a few of the new properties and types included in recent Google structured data update, along with the most notable changes and significant expansions of available properties. We’ll help you stay current with a few of the new properties and types included in recent Google structured data update, along with the most notable changes and significant expansions of available properties. Google LocalBusiness schema now requires both image and priceRange fields. Be sure to check the latest documentation to stay current. Or call us at 651-206-2410.
Latest Schema Markup Announcement: Accommodations Niche
Google’s Dan Brickley just announced a major new update to schema.org today, including groundbreaking new structured data opportunities for those in the hotel and accommodation industry. Now called schema.org version 3.1, this amalgamates the work of Martin Hepp and Hepp Research GmbH with the current hospitality schemas developers have been using. This comprises a giant step forward for the hospitality industry to use schematics since the initial releases of schema.org.
How to Use Hospitality Structured Data Markup for Lodging Niche
The new hospitality extension strives to represent the business functions of any given lodging service provider through the following three core objects:
1. A Lodging Facility – The business type like a resort, hotel, hostels, campgrounds, or lodge.
2. An Offer – The ability to secure the accommodation for a specified price.
3. An Accommodation – This comprises the physical lodging units within the hotel or similar business that provides rental accommodations like rooms, suites, duplexes, and homes.
This is not the only industry to benefit. Over a third (36.6%) of Google search results analyzed by Searchmetrics included at least one snippet with information coming from schema implementation within Google search results pages.
How to get More Organic Search Traffic
During the January 22, 2016, News Lab Office Hour: AMP Part Two, it was clearer that Google intends to accelerate its ability to match queries to sites it trusts with correct structured data markup. While more updates for mobile search will come in February, faster search benefits will require structured data markup to be in place.
This is another blog in our series on Google structured data and rich snippet updates that we offer to help clients understand new opportunities available for better organic search results in digital marketing. Others may not be taking advantage yet of basic structured data markup; so you will notice these posts come through periodically to bring additional success to our customers and help other SEO experts.
For a quick definition, structured data markup is a universally shared language format that helps search engines match queries to content.
Does your business want more organic search traffic coming to your website? From everyone that I have asked, the answer is “yes”! The knowledge that organic search traffic matters is becoming more widely known. Businesses that dive into their Google Analytics generally find that over half of all web traffic is won through earned search, compared to the average of 5% from social platforms. Nor is it rare to find that it accounts for up to 64% of many sites earned traffic, according to Conductor.com.
For on-top-of-it businesses, it is critical to recognize that Google is more attuned to the overall user experience on your website, as well as the accurately rewarding the user’s intention behind the search. Criteria for having well-optimized web content today has evolved to being more about being discoverable via structured data. So putting an emphasis and your marketing dollars on building trust for all of your content could become one of the biggest SEO undertakings you have in 2016.
Add the Sophistication of Advanced SEO to your Website
The sophistication with which companies analyze their organic search visibility and the metrics they use to improve lead generation and prospects of being found vary widely. There are, however, definite benefits to becoming savvier in how you utilize structured data. Visibility trends can influence strategy, competitive insight can impact a tactical approach, but key announcements from Google can tip you in the right direction for SEO from a holistic and progressive ranking perspective.
If you’ve been considering becoming more advanced in how you approach your SEO optimization, here’s a key way you can dip a toe in the water and ramp up your website’s sophistication.
Semantic SEO through the adoption of structured data markup is now more important for businesses to increase visibility on-line. Just this weekend I saw “my image” next to my search results for an event asking me if I wanted to learn more. The event structured data property is one that is considerably more developed in this last update.
Updates to Google’s Documentation and Structured Data Policy
Following feedback from webmasters and participants, Google has made it clearer exactly what kind of wording is supported in structured data. The new documentation explains the markup you need to add to enable different search features for your content, along with code examples in the supported syntaxes. SEO experts and marketing managers now have an additional layer of SEO optimization and chance to highlight key content. Close adherence to Google’s structured data SEO guidelines means that the Google Bot will start to read your keywords wrapped in structured data better. You gain improved results in search by having your chances to show up in SERPs more frequently and by populating the Knowledge Graph with snippets.
Building a successful business is all about marketing and positioning your products and services in front of the right audience. It is much easier to accomplish is a full read if this documentation is first understood. SEO experts who are enlisted to help customers push out information about products and services, they are more likely to find the information and become actual customers if structured data markup is placed correctly.
During the January 22, 2016 Google AMP Part 2 Hangout, I asked guest presenter Emeric Studer, AMP Technology Manager at Google about the severity of structured data errors. His answer, as I understood it, was very insightful. He answered, “If you say in your article’s structured data that it is a blog post – and then it is not, it will impact results. Maybe, if the error says that something is missing, should not damage results.”
Structure Data Update that Supports JSON-LD
Google announced its extended support for schema.org vocabulary in JSON-LD syntax for additional use cases:
• Business logos
• Business contact information
• Social profile links
• Event property in the Knowledge Graph
• Sitelinks search box
• Event rich snippets (movies, seminars, summits, ceremonies and much more)
Each type of data has properties webmasters can use to describe web content in more detail. For example, a “movie,” which falls under the category “creative work,” may offer the name, a description; publish the event (PublicationEvent) when it starts (availabilityStarts), when it ends (availabilityStarts), cost, form of currency, and more. Given our range of options, an “event” can be classified as anything from a “businessevent” to a “theaterevent.” Depending on how fully you want to describe it, you can even read through Google’s additional details on how to markup actions for more searchablility.
Enhanced Presentation in Search Results: Is your site advanced enough to benefit?
Google is using terms like “disambiguating” your business and “disambiguation properties” on their structured data pages. While that’s quite a grown-up word, it is really very descriptive. Consider this definition: “Disambiguation refers to the removal of ambiguity by making something clear. Disambiguation narrows down the meaning of words and it’s a good thing. SEO is becoming much clearer, easier to do (is this regard) and more advanced. Think of it this way: how many ways does everyone win when search matures and consumers who are looking for a business like yours, find you!
Structured data and the ensuing rich snippets are your chance to promote your content and enhance your business presentation in search results.
Updates in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
Google’s structured data testing tool now offers expanded features that simplify the process of testing structured data markup:
• Clearer validation of current Google features powered by structured data
• Support for structured data markup in the JSON-LD syntax, including dynamic HTML pages
• Easier to read display of acceptable structured data items on web page
• Syntax highlighting that indicate where the markup problems are located in your HTML source code
In the same hangout, Emeric Studer said: “Also, you can validate your Metadata. We are asking you to add some data to your pages so we know more about your page. We want to mainly who is the owner. When you published this page. What type of article this is. For that you can use our Structured Data Tool. It is very nice.“
How Search Engines Index Structured Data
Indexing is how search engines go about processes of gathering and digesting all the data from web pages and sites throughout its crawl.
The Google Bot notes changes on your web pages and posts, which then, may either add or delete them from the searchable index Google sustains. Going forward it will reward sites more often that have utilized structured data to indicate topics of your content. When those pages host quality and unique content that can generate rich snippets in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and don’t trigger warning by violating Google’s structured data guidelines or user orientated mandates, you can win more visibility.
Search spiders quickly process all the content on the page as well as the location on-page where search terms are placed. While title tags may be playing less of a role as that of structured data escalates, titles tags, description tags, and alt attributes for images continue to be important.
They each help make up indexing. When a search user requests information related to the same keywords used in your content, Google’s algorithm incorporates the process of interpreting signals in your structure data to deciding where to rank that page. If possible, you want to win exposure in the Google Knowledge Graph and New Carousel among all the other pages related to the same keywords.
While we regard and reference how Google finds, analyzes, and indexes new web content, like yours, all four major search engines have agreed to follow similar procedures. Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex have their respective variations in the fine detail since and each one has its own algorithm.
Structured Data Markup Helps Search Engines Understand Web Content
In the end, businesses are striving to have content from their website effectively consumed by our famed search engine vendors. The end goal is that customers can find rather easily a specific company be their offered service or product and be rendered in rich snippets. Your intended target audience, whether in a specific geo location or across the world, may find your business in: SERP results, a knowledge graph, news carousel, or other on-line formats.
Search engines can only do so you have helped them to understand your company’s content at its best. That’s why; we make use of “schema.org” as much as possible and do it according to current information available to Google developers. Thereby, rich snippets, if available for the utilized entity type, e.g. product, web page, or “knowledge graph widgets” have a nice and informative benefit. Nevertheless, in the end, it only matters and helps, if the connection between customer and company is achieved. The knowledge graph of the company is a nice and interesting side effect for the business itself (if it has a clear call to action that produces revenue).
As search engines advance, their aptitude to recognize explicit and implicit semantic keyword search querie is more sophisticated and progressive. Formerly, search engines handled search queries as a string of words, simply searching and delivering options that matched the words someone put into the search box. Today, search engines view keywords as entities. This changes organic search in that they are beginning to understand that a word may have multiple connotations or be related to other words, or could even convey something entirely different to a specific user.
The global ranking score for a site has not been updated for some time but that may be changing soon as hints of the next Google Penguin update are for February. A higher level of trust in a domain associated with the particular site using structured data to boost semantic search opportunities is coming. Markup should be implemented in relation to assisting search queries that match your top products and services.
Web Content That Will Be Found At the Top of Search Results
It is possible for someone technically focused on SEO and not evaluating your site’s overall content can still mean that your efforts flop (even if it is found near the top.) Success takes a solid approach to many factors. None of your shiny and perfect new structure data really matters unless your content satisfies the searcher with relevant and useful content. Focus on the reasons what the searcher wants when using voice or text search commands. In other words, your structured data markup will only make a difference when search engines determine that your content offers significant benefit to viewers and understands “User Search Intent.”
If your site fails to show up in search results anywhere in the top page of search results, it is always best to start now with SEO optimization. To get your lagging business website or blog better indexed by Google, Bing, and, Yahoo other search engines we can help you move past the basics and engage more advanced structured data markup, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and take advantage of insights that may be buried deeper in your Google Search Console.
Yes, your business can take the “snails pace” approach, by putting it on a back burner and waiting for some miracle to happen. Rather, with investing a little effort and engaging a proven SEO / SEM expert, you can reap the benefits in short order. Many may feel they will wait till they have more funds to put toward it, when in reality by do so now you will likely begin making better revenue sooner than later. Structured data updates are too frequent for the individual casually devoting time to stay current.
Most business owners and even many Marketers find that by putting their time and energy towards other tasks in more in line with existing time commitments. Someone who is dedicating their full work week to using the newest structured data code can increase your conversion rate, raise your social signals, and let potential customers know that you’re on the forefront of your industry.
After implementing our structured data markup, we see our clients start showing up more within a few days in searches as a more relevant and visible website. You, too, may want to get onboard about adding it into your pages before your competitors do. It is exciting to experiment with Schema markup and find how your audience responds to new rich snippets.
3 Alternative Formats for Adding Structured Data
Data in the schema.org vocabulary may be embedded in your HTML pages using any of three following format options:
1. JSON-LD – SEO Experts are using this tool to debug, visualize, and share their JSON-LD markup. It is frequently the preferred option from Google’s point of view. It is highly regarded for requiring as little effort as possible from developers and browser for additional mapping.
2. MICRODATA – A WHATWG HTML specification used to insert metadata within existing web content on sites. Search engines, web crawlers, and browsers can extract and interpret Microdata from a web page and use it to provide a richer browsing experience for users.
3. RDFA – The Resource Description Framework in Attributes (RDFa) website offers a library of information to help use linked data and how to execute the HTML coding on your site to make microdata obtainable by search engines.
Structured data can produce better search results and is foundational in SEO mobile search success. Little else probably produces the most end user, practical reason that I think business should quickly move in this direction. I pay attention to recommendations found in Google structured data documentation for currently preferred formats. I believe that aggressive Web authors can solve just about any structured data markup issue that they may face. Whatever popular Web structured data document format you choose, chances are excellent that your business can succeed, too.
Good Sense but No Guarantees
Google does not guarantee that Rich Snippets will show up for search results for any one site. John Mueller, speaking of Google’s ranking algorithms, offers insights into what Google is thinking about structured data. In a Google+ hangout on September 11, 2015, he stressed that it “definitely makes sense to use structured data” for ranking. He additionally cautioned: “So I think in the long run, it definitely makes sense to use structured data where you see that as being reasonable on the website. But I wouldn’t assume that using structured data markup with make your site jump up in rankings automatically. So we try to distinguish between a site that is done technically well and a site that actually has good content.”
Watch out: 4 Ways Rich Snippets May Fail
The Google FAQ Rich Snippets page provides 4 reasons that marked-up pages potentially fail to shown up with Rich Snippets:
1. The marked-up structured data is not representative of the main content of the page or potentially misleading.
2. Marked-up data is incorrect in a way that the testing tool was not able to catch.
3. Marked-up content is hidden from the user. (This one was just added)
4. The site has very few pages (or very few pages with marked-up structured data) and may not be picked up by Google’s Rich Snippets system.
Revisit and Re-test Your Structured Data Markup
Several webmasters have received a letter like the one below containing a warning notice from Google regarding their site’s structured data. Try searching the first line yourself and you will find examples and individuals who have reached out for help after receiving an email warning. If needed, you will find a generous on-line community of developers who help out. Or feel free to contact me for support.
“Google has detected structured markup on some of your pages that we believe violates our structured data guidelines. Because incorrect information lowers the quality of search results for users, rich snippets will not appear in Google Search results for pages with incorrectly structured data markup. This manual spam action has been applied to example.com/. We suggest you update the incorrectly structured data and file a reconsideration request once you have fixed your site. After we determine that you have complied with our guidelines, we will remove this manual action.”
Since the structured data update, one error that you may find involves new property requirement requirements for Article and NewsArticle. You may need to locate the BlogPosting property and replace it with CreativeWork. Test every change you make the Structured Data Test Tool. I also recommend having a test web page for this purpose if you find that you re republishing a lot towards the end of getting it right.
Patience goes a long way. As Google releases new structured data markup, if your code is broken, there is a new way to do it right. Add monthly SEO Website Audits to your schedule. As there any many types of audits and various ones are deeper, be sure to request an audit that includes an analysis of your current structured data.
“Structured data is type of markup that is ‘a way to annotate your content so that machines (and search engines) can understand it. You increase your chances of having Google create Knowledge Graph and Quick Answers for your site’s content if you mark it up with structured data.” – Volume Nine SEO
“If you want to be in that web of data, semantic technology, linked data, Bibframe vocabularies, schema.org vocabularies, these are the ways you’ll speak to the web in a meaningful fashion.” – Penka Penka at zepheira.com
“Whether structured data affects rankings has been the subject of much discussion. As of yet, there is no conclusive evidence that this markup improves rankings. But there are some indications that search results with more extensive rich snippets (like those created using Schema) will have a better click-through rate.” – Moz.com
Structured Data Consultant on a Bi-Weekly, Monthly Basis or Quarterly Basis with a 100% Focus on YOUR Business
One service that I offer to businesses, is the opportunity to work with me as your Personal SEO Consultant who is focused 100% on YOUR Business.
Here is what is included:
• A 1 Hour live session by join.me or phone every 2 weeks, 1x a month or quarterly.
• Your business Website reviewed for all aspects of SEO.
• Your sales copy reviewed for improved “audience persuasion” by adding structured data.
• Updating current structure data with the latest opportunities to win in SERPs.
• Have your niche industry and competitive landscape monitored for new search trends and opportunities for marketing advantages.
• Regular calls may be scheduled if you wish if you deem that interacting directly with your in-house Web team is beneficial.
• All meetings and calls are pre-scheduled to suit your schedule and topic requirements