Schema Markup Website Audits
As our Minneapolis digital marketing services evolve more into the Semantic Web, we can help your business engaging Google Schema Mark-up data to improve your site’s visibility. By conducting a Schema Markup Audit, you can discover new ways to integrate website semantics and avoid penalties.
Schema markup website audits can bring shoppers to your businesses. A 2016 Professional’s SEO’s Website Audit Checklist will now include a dedicated focus on how well a website is able to be rewarded with rich snippet results. As the world of search optimization evolves, so must your technical SEO audits. For example, recently we gained new changes to prove factual content with ClaimReview markup. Also, Google now requires an image for schema in order to product an image in their search results is a GIF, video, or recipe is markup up so that it can gain a small little badge on the corner.
The edge that SEO experts can offer over amateurs is the ability to take overwhelming amounts of data and make meaningful decisions from it. It also means staying current with markup updates. We find in it your chance to creatively identify new user trends, what your strengths are that match, and how to maximize your opportunities to be found. By constantly crossing metrics in Google Analytics to uncover the how, who and why behind website visits, we can identify meaningful conclusions from our Audits.
Why you Need a Schema Markup Website Audit: Rich Snippets
John Mueller stated in a Google hangout that “over time, I think it [structured markup] is something that might go into the rankings as well.” Rich snippets are the visual components in search engine results pages (SERP)s that help searchers know what your web page(s) is about. In the past, Google has said structured data, or structured markup, is not used in Googles algorithm to help make your website pages rank better – but that seems to have changed.
There are many types of website audits as today there are so many moving parts of a successful website. By implementing lines of code that can be added to a website depending on what the website is about, your industry niche indicated in structured data markup, and products, businesses can gain the benefit of offering more information to a search engine so it will result in a better page rank.
Structured data markup is compatible with machine learning and helps annotate your content on the website so search engines and searchers could better understand it. By using it where ever you can, your business is helping search engines to more easily index your site because it’s web content is better optimized for SERPs. The advantages are many. By adding structured data markup to your website, your web content now has the chance to appear in voice answers, maps, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and Google Now.
Whether structured markup data impacts search rankings is a closely watched subject gaining much attention among semantic search experts. While, there is no conclusive evidence that schema markup increase rankings, there is increasing evidence that sites with more extensive rich snippets (like those created using Schema) are gaining a boost. At least, they are having a better click-through rate. We recommend a site audit to discover and experiment with Schema markup to see how your audience responds when rich snippets are rewarded.
QUESTION: What is Schema Markup Language?
ANSWER: “A markup language is a system for annotating a document in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from the text. The idea and terminology evolved from the “marking up” of paper manuscripts, i.e., the revision instructions by editors, traditionally written with a blue pencil on authors,” according to Wikipedia.
Importance of a Schema Markup Website Audit
Not every business knows to ask the questions, “Should I audit my site for schema markup?” So it is important to bring the answers forward.
So what does schema markup have to do with SEO? Tons! After all your work to learn and reward the psychology of the searcher in information retrieval preferences, and presenting answers of high value, the structured data markup on your site makes it easier for them to find those solutions. When buying a product, buyers can find your products easier with markup. Showing users that you heard them and care is a pivotal point of connection. As semantic search evolves, your website that is rich with answers to those search queries can stand better in a crowded digital world. Google’s algorithm has evolved and can assess the intent of a web page, going beyond the previous constraints of being optimized for a particular keyword or search terms.
Following years of accumulating the practical knowledge of your clientele’s offline behavior, the understanding that to sell a product to someone who wants it, you do so better after you connect sufficiently to make them feel great about themselves during the purchasing process and establish the relationship of being a trustworthy source to buy it from. Your business reputation and relationship to the consumer will always stand on its own merit and can never be replaced by a machine. However, schema markup is in essence, Google search machine learning, read and interpreted by machines used by RankBrain, and can move your communications forward with the end user.
Unintentionally many Webmasters waste much of a websites’ power thinking that schema markup factors are not important. It takes dedicated time to keep up with digital marketing trends in both earned and paid search.
6 Reasons Why Your Website Needs a Schema Markup Audit
A Schema Markup audit will reveal missed opportunities to gain one of more of the following benefits:
1. Schema markup helps search engines directly correlate searches to actual copy and facets within a web pages’ content. Google gathers a keyword based summary of a web article within fractions of a second by machine learning that takes a quick skim of a site’s schema itemprops and microdata tags. They are used to populate featured snippets.
2. Schema is machine readable, meaning that it significantly empowers crawlers to read and index your website while matching query intent. This is called user conceptual search by many.
3. Schema markup is a perfect companion for e-commerce marketing and already is in use, as shown in AdWords structured snippets, Automatic Item Updates for PLAs, and the Google Mobile Buy Button. This expands your reach in AdWords paid advertising.
4. Schema markup is what generates the popular rich snippets that show up in the Knowledge Graph. This powerful visual result of microdata in the Knowledge Graph box on the right side of SERPs really makes one business pop over the others.
5. Schema markup is inherently built into the new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). With more individuals making use of mobile, here is a huge opportunity for business to make a shift to being mobile-friendly to meet user demand.
6. Stress-free Method for Publishers. While Metadata has been around from the commencement of the HTML standard, schema.org is a single vocabulary and markup syntax that is backed by the major search engines. This means webmasters can skip the tensions of former trade-offs between syntax and find it easier to deal with one single vocabulary. With the burgeoning amount of tasks publishers face, this saves time and improves the effectiveness.
Increase in Use of Schema Structured Data
The latest stats on how common the use of Structured Data was released January 8, 2018 in an article titled Web Data Commons – RDFa, Microdata, and Microformat Data Sets. Led by Prof. Dr. Christian Bizer, Chair of Information Systems V: Web-based Systems, here are some notable results:
- 39% of URLs contain structured data
- Which is 28% of all domains
- 44.2 billion quads Microdata, Embedded JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microformat data published
Structured data usage has grown significantly, now implemented in approximately ⅓ of the common crawled web! It also compared the use of JSONLD methodology versus Microdata adoption across domains. Surprising to us, the pickup on Microdata is growing quicker than any syntax in existence.
SCHEMA MARKUP does a Better job of Matching Users Expectations
SEO has advanced in the last three years, growing up from being an application of fairly predictable on-page web optimization that sufficiently helped a site rank in SERPs to now demanding customized efforts that center on rewarding the visitor psychology. When your schema markup produces visible rich snippet results, current and new clients can more readily spot your content, and click more often on your web pages.
Having crafted carefully prepared content about your product and services, taken the multiple steps required to get in front of relevant consumers: pop-up forms, advertising on the page, great UX navigation, and more, you don’t want the visitor to abandonment the page.
Schema markup helps both search engines recognize what a page is about so they can offer it in search results, AND helps the individual searching to trust that if they click on it, that they will actually arrive at a page that offers exactly the answers they are seeking. The coding to add product schema markup is placed in the HTML of your website in a number of available places and can drastically improve the way your search engine results listing are displayed.
More Google Structured Data Quality Checks
The implementation of schema structured data is one of the newer site optimization techniques available. It involves organized structure to web content and creative display modes that can be gained in features snippets for some content such as critic reviews, recipes, quick answers, videos, etc. Being a relatively new SEO task, some spammers intentionally try to inject low-quality, misleading, or downright illegal content. Other digital marketers are in the learning curve, which may mean initial schema coding mistakes.
Google uses machine learning to run automated quality checks to ensure that structured data content complies with proper markup. Google is very vigilant about the matter. It states, “We performed algorithmic and manual quality checks to ensure that websites with structured data markup meet quality standards.”
In its 2016 Webspam Report, the follow is stated:
* Web development teams were sent over 9 million messages in 2016 concerning webspam issues.
* Over 10,000 websites received manual follow-up notices for failing to comply with the Google guidelines.
* Problems with website security are on the rise with more hacked sites than previously – a 32% increase compared to 2015.
* In 2016 alone, Google received 180,000+ user-submitted spam reports across the globe.
* In tally, the search giant found that 52% of those reported sites to be spam.
* The company provided more than 170 online office hours and live events to audiences totaling over 150,000 website owners, webmasters and digital marketers.
BENEFITS OF SCHEMA MARKUP STRUCTURED DATA
On sites where structured data is already implemented, we are seeing important web pages have already gained increased organic reach. The immediate benefits to the client are:
* Increased visibility in SERPs
* Increased rich snippets
* Increased click-through rates
* Increased organic revenue
Schema.org is posting new opportunities and categories for structured data that businesses can take advantage of. This follows Google’s announcement that they plan to expand structured data to offer additional features.
While you may be more familiar with other SEO audit factors, today’s need to complete an audit on your site’s structured data usage is critical. Attracting more clicks that lead to conversions is the deal breaker, just have an organic listing that shows up in SERPs is not sufficient enough. We begin by ensuring that all key pages are visible in SERP features, and strive to gain rich featured snippet results. To do so, structured data must be implemented properly as a starting point. From there, the need to format and target your content to answer specific queries that users are asking means having modifiers that can generate change.
Initial common structured data page errors:
- Incorrect punctuation or bracket
- Missing or incomplete information required
- Missing or incomplete properties required
Common structured data errors even when JSON-LD schema code snippets validate:
- Placed on the wrong page
- Doesn’t match visible content
- Doesn’t fit the right entity
Auditing Structured Data Usage and Optimization
When we do a schema markup website audit, we evaluate the various content types you use by topic categories, and see what structured data markup is currently available to highlight them.
To begin our Website Semantics Integration (Schema), we will determine:
• If you are asking a visitor to complete an action on a given page. Which web pages follow publisher guidelines and could qualify as a NewsArticle. Which pages of your web content consist of information that would fit the schema markup category of “thing”, and if so, what sort of thing.
• To determine modifiers, we leverage the skill of using monitoring tools to the maximum to determine which content is likely to give your business more visibility.
• We prioritize our efforts and protect clients from getting lost in time spent on content that no one or few are likely to search for.
• Once all your content is categorized by how users value it, we optimize those pages with the structured data in relevant formats as much as possible.
• Next, ongoing monitoring of your SERP features that actually impact your rankings opens up new insights for key opportunities to get the right content indexed and in front of readers.
We check and correct any mistakes in adding schema markup to your social media profiles. After we perform your Schema Markup Website Audit, you will gain the benefits of a report detailing if and how your website correctly implements schema markup or not. We are excited to show you the difference it can make!
Finding Opportunity within the Broad Range of Schema Markup “Thing”
There is already an extensive list of ways to use this opportunity to better identify your site’s web pages and match them to search queries.
• Creative work (e.g. editorial content, offer, medical device, music, video, images, recipes, reviews, etc.) – the schema for these are likely to be found in the ‘CreativeWork’ list.
• A piece of factual information (e.g. ‘engine specifications’, ‘nutrition information’ or ‘opening hours’) – information ‘things’ are often classed under the ‘Intangible’ list.
• An event – use the ‘Event’ list for more specific types of event.
• A place – Use the ‘Place’ list for specific businesses that have a brick and mortar storefront. LocalBusiness is a ‘place’ type. For specific location data, you may want to use ‘GeoCoordinates’ under the ‘Intangible’ list (or try the microformats.org hCard markup) rather than a Schema.org ‘Place’ type.
• A person – use ‘Person’ type. It is a great way to build your personal online reputation as well as your business brand.
• An organization – Schema markup for ‘Organization’ covers a broad range of business types. Organization markup can be implemented on the homepage and can help with getting a ‘brand knowledge box’ to visually display in SERPs.
• A product – this can range widely, as a product may really being something that you sell. ‘Vehicle’ is one unique subtype of ‘Product’, so car part manufacturers should look to use the specific ‘Vehicle’ markup for qualified product listings.
Once we help you determine what web content you want to feature via markup, we can either implement the schema markup code or instruct your team on how to do so. For a quick way to employ the more common schema markup types, a good place to begin is by use Google’s Structured Data Highlighter Helper tool. This works after you highlight specific content on one page at a time, and then the tool will generate the schema markup that you add to the corresponding page.
Favorite Tool to Conduct a Schema Mark-up Website Audit
SEMrush Supported Semantic Markups for Website Audits
We use SEMrush regularly for Schema Markup Website Audits. Its site audit markup data tool currently checks and validates the following four markups:
- Twitter Cards
- Open Graph
These tools help you check our competitor’s use of schema mark-up as well. You can quickly gain a ton of examples and spend hours and days on a deep audit of schema mark-up opportunities.
After adding schema mark-up to your site(s), measuring rank and traffic to make comparisons to before and after your Schema Markup Audit. Typically, our clients rank improvements after adding structured data. A deeper on-going audit helps to scope out correlations if new content is added regularly.
Analyzing Your Site’s Footer
How you use your site’s footer depends largely on your website’s goals, vertical niche and how deep your pages are. Because your footer is typically uniform across all web pages, we prefer to keep it streamlined to reduce the amount of duplicate content. It is important for any SEO audit to follow Google’s latest algorithm update, to see current focusses. Google is looking to establish trust with your website and wants to ensure that you’re a legitimate, functioning business.
The footer is our favorite place to show search engines the basic NAP (name, address, and phone) that fits your Google Business Listing Page. This is one way to efficiently add schema markup for “Local Business” or “Organization”, whichever one best fits your business.
Disclaimer and Other Factors to Schema Markup Showing up
A lot of factors go into winning rich snippets from your schema markup, and Google doesn’t reveal all that goes into its determinations. It is important to note that even when structured data is properly implemented, there’s no guarantee it will appear in the SERPs.
Your business may already have a strong trust factor with Google or just be starting to build that digital reputation. Google and other prominent search engines want to be assured that the content they award is SERPs will prove to be relevant and of value to users. On the user side of things, schema markup that highlights topics of prominence in search interest may be an additional factor that plays into whether or not your schema markup shows up.
Google is moving fast in the area of adding schema markup and gives an outstretched hand to help businesses get on board with it. You (or we ask on client’s behalf) can request that Google reconsider your markup by clicking ‘feedback’ in the company panel on the right of search results. This is particularly useful for social accounts. Some schema markup formats can be inquired about; however, they would be generally added at Google’s discretion if it deems your institution large enough, or with sufficient schema markup on your site. No one controls this but the search engine giant itself. Information like your Address, Phone, Hours, Reviews and Photos should appear if you have added them in your Google Plus Account (and optionally marked them up with schema).
In addition to monitoring your website’s authoritative link profile and user content quality on a scheduled basis to avoid Google Penguin and Panda penalties, a business also need to pay attention to their structured data markup implementation to avoid possible spammy structured markup penalties. If you are too busy or feel overwhelmed, that is where we can help.
Mapping Web Content to Schema Types
Schema markup can be your site’s friend to improve search engine content discovery, indexation for related terms, and organic search visibility. Some structured data markup feeds into visibility in Google’s Knowledge Graph and generated Rich Snippets in SERPs — all of which leads to chances for improved organic search visibility and click-through rate.
However, if the code implementing your structured data is incorrect, it can potentially hurt your site. In March 2015, Google updated its rating and reviews Rich Snippet policies with instructions that these types of snippets must be added only on specific items. They should not be used on “category” pages landing pages that are for a “list of items”. Since the best of coders can still make mistakes, it is best if multiple variants are supported by consumers of structured data. Even when Google’s Search Console doesn’t report any data structure errors, we repeat our audit tests in coming weeks and test with multiple tools to be sure your site is as error-free as possible.
Example Page Types for E-commerce and Retail Business Markup
• Your Business’s Home Page
• Category and sub-category pages
• News page with rich editorial content
• Sales transaction pages leading through your purchasing funnel
• Videos of products you sale or while preforming client services
• Reviews and testimonials for past and active clients
• Maps and details of store front locations along with your contact info
• About Us pages that introduce your business and key company information
• Pages offering software application choices and download links
• Pages crafted for how-to search queries or that offer tutorials
• Product pages (whether or not your site uses a shopping cart)
“This (schema markup) particular subject is one that I see get glossed over on a fairly consistent basis but one that I think is important to mention because it was the effort of all of the major search engines to find a way to help improve the performance of a website search results.” – Molly Youngblood Geiger
“It looks like 2016 is the time to audit your website for those missed schema markup opportunities.” – www.kingslandlinassi.com
“Using semantic markups on your website’s pages is a relatively new thing, but in some cases, it can significantly boost your SEO ranking.” – SEMrush Semantic Markup Site Audit
Schema Markup Website Audit Follow-up
When you hire Hill Web Marketing to manage your schema audit, we confirm proper alignment with Google’s guidelines by both manually reviewing the source code as well as running tests through the tools mentioned above. We also build into our Schema Markup Website Audits a monitoring process to avoid future problems with any new schema markup implementation on your site. If your site already has schema markup in place, it may be very outdated and not properly in place from a code perspective. Our reports will easily document progress and repairs.
The Google Search Console is a great way to stay tuned into any rich snippet changes in organic search. Then the tool offers clear steps you need to take to address any schema markup issues. As schema markup has become a bigger component in any SEO audit, spammy markup penalties are being handed out; your timely work to correct this impacts your site health score and trust factor.
We reside in and work from Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the ease of both providing on-site services and remote digital marketing services. Choose what fits your business needs, and engage our schema diagnostic and repair services.
Schema Markup is now Essential for SEO Campaigns
On-page SEO optimization has matured and now includes adding schema markup to ensure the content of a page can be readily recognized as relevant for the search queries being targeted. If obtain phrases you are hoping to rank for in SERPS, it will be much easier to achieve your goals if you use schema markup – correctly – whenever you can. Adding schema markup to your list of on-page optimization tasks is a crucial part of current SEO campaigns.
Get to know your site’s schema markup strengths, opportunities, and weaknesses with a expert’s assessment.
To find creative ways to boost your site’s visibility, call 651-206-2410 and ask for Jeannie Hill, owner of Hill Web Creations, LLC
Note: image source: www.peggycollinsphotography.com/2014/02/foggy-forest-hikes.html