The evolution of the internet is a constantly changing beast. If you’re not careful, you can fall behind on the latest technology very quickly. However, if you stay up-to-date on important changes and innovations, you can give yourself a leg up on your competition. Take search engine optimization (SEO), for example. Back when the idea of SEO first appeared, marketers went nuts, cramming as many keywords onto web pages as possible. That worked for a very short period of time, but soon the search engines became smart enough to put the kibosh on content that doesn’t have any value.
As search engines’ web crawlers became more sophisticated, they learned to understand what makes content valuable to their audiences. Google’s release of Hummingbird and RankBrain completely changed the game. It was no longer simply about trying to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs), it was now also about avoiding being demoted from existing rank positions. The balancing act became more complicated. Companies that adjusted to Google’s expectations before the change benefited from being proactive; those that didn’t were penalized significantly.
So, What is Schema?
Schema is the next generation of search engine optimization. Given the importance of providing searchers with the most valuable information possible, schema’s job is to enable the SERPs to show as much detail as possible using schema markup. Schema markup is the element that categorizes the type of content you’re delivering to people.
In 2011, major players at each of the search giants came together to create a common language that each of their systems would understand. In a historic collaboration whereby competitors Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex came together, Schema.org was born. After years of development, Schema is now setting the stage to become the next essential SEO element.
Schema works by giving search engines specific words that define what the result is displaying. This shared vocabulary enables webmasters to maximize their sites’ exposure because the search engines know exactly what they’re showing searching in their results. This enhances the value of the result. Increased value boosts the likelihood of going higher on the SERPs.
Think of schema like your company’s digital calling card. This user-focused summary of information appears just below your URL in SERPs. The more valuable content you’re able to show searchers at a glance, the more likely they’ll be to click on your link. Qualified leads drive your traffic further down the sales funnel. Increased traffic turns into higher conversion rates. You can see where we’re going with this, right?
Which Schemas Can All Companies Use?
“Schema” is just one word, but within the world of schema, there are many categories and options. The schemas that work best for your business will be affected by a number of different factors. Although there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution, the following are five essential schema markups every business should take advantage of, no matter the industry or region:
- Site Navigation Element Schema – Site navigation schema makes it super simple for searchers to get to the places they’re looking for on your site without clicking through tons of unnecessary pages. Simplifying the ability to get to your most popular pages will bode well with visitors and the search engines alike. It’ll also increase your real estate on the SERPs, giving you greater visibility.
- Article, Post, & News Schema – You don’t create content for no reason. You do it because you’ve got something to say, and you know people need to hear it. Directing your audience to your useful tidbits is a great way to remind visitors that you’re an authority in your industry.
- Product Schema – What do you sell and why should people care? By highlighting your top-selling products right on the search pages, you’ll grab the attention of people who are also looking for those commonly purchased products.
- Location Schema – The easier it is for people to find your address and phone number, the more likely they’ll be to come and see you. Location schemas also make it easy for searchers to click on your address and add it to their GPS. They may also help improve your ranking for location-specific searches.
- Business Information Schema – Saving searchers time is an important part of optimizing your site. Business information schemas enable you to showcase your hours and phone number, which can be inserted right into your searchers’ smartphones.
How to Implement Schemas
Google offers a wizard called the Structured Data Markup Helper. Start by selecting the page you want to enhance. The wizard will walk you through the rest of the process.
- Select the schema markup category.
- Enter the URL into the Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Tag the pertinent information into the markup window on the right of your screen.
- Test your newly created schema.
- Repeat with another page.
Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of schemas? Don’t worry – our Zero Gravity Marketing team is here to help! We’re just a call or an email away.