Posted by Lee Jackson on Google+ & filed under Conversion Rate Optimisation, E Commerce, Lead Generation, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Website Development.

I’ve been writing about the creative side of search marketing over the last few weeks.

Creative strategy is – and always has been – a very important part of SEO. If there is one huge benefit that has come from Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms it’s that brands can push their creative boundaries when marketing online.

But though my last few blogs have given free tips on how to use your own creative flair to push your site online, there are still a number of technical issues that the average business owner can’t hurdle on their own.

Adding Schema rich snippets to your website is a fantastic way to generate traffic and increase your click-through rates from a search engine, but very few sites use them.

Why, though, when the benefits are potentially so staggering?

Schema explained

First, let’s talk about what Schema actually is.

A Schema mark-up is a way to convey a website’s data more accurately on all of the major search engines. Without getting too technical Schema helps to tell a search engine what a website’s information is actually about.

As an example let’s consider something that’s everywhere at the moment: the Muppets Most Wanted film.

I haven’t seen it yet, and as a consumer, I want to use Google to learn more information about the film.

Here’s what comes back to me when I search for ‘Muppets Most Wanted Reviews’:

 

Here’s what comes back to me when I search for ‘Muppets Most Wanted Reviews’.

 

Hang on, those star ratings… how did they get there?

Not by accident. Google didn’t decide to just pull the information and place it there. Rather that information is available to me like this because those sites have taken the time to use Schema on their sites so Google can pull the review and display it as a star rating.

There are other reviews further down the results page but as a searcher having that visual information makes me want to click the top marked-up results. Why has one site given 4/5 but the average is 61 per cent? Let me click and find out!

Do you already have a Schema strategy for your website? How have your results been since you implemented it? Let me know in the comments below.

Why it’s important to comply

Schema is an amazing addition to a website but it can be tricky to implement. I’d go into detail but I’d bore you with how websites structure data and programming vocabularies. (I want to gain readers, not lose them!)

It can be tough even for seasoned professionals to understand which is why it’s a good idea to outsource to somebody that knows what they’re doing for long-term benefit.

Amazingly though, despite the advantages, a Searchmetrics study found that approximately 0.3 per cent of domains worldwide are using Schema integration.

That’s amazingly low.

Search engines are still evolving, don’t forget, and are far from perfect. Any way that a site can communicate its content and information to them in a more favourable way will always be considered best practice.

 

 

The Searchmetric stats appear to back that up – sites with Schema mark-ups rank on average four positions higher than without.

The benefits of using Schema mark-ups on your site are enormous, especially if you’re a company that has access to a lot of big data and is looking to use it as a marketing tool.

The Muppets example above shows how Schema can be used for websites that are looking to further the impact of their content, but it can be used for other disciplines, too.

For retail and eCommerce sites Schema can be incredibly helpful when they’re looking to promote their offers in search engines or show off more of their products.

Have you tried your hand at marking up your website with Schema? How did you find it and what were the benefits? Let me know below!

Is there an easy way to do it?

Google has recently reached out to webmasters to let them know that the search engine now supports Schema so websites can advertise certain phone numbers more appropriately.

It might sound simple but movements like this are big steps forward for websites, especially smaller start-ups that want to convey more information to searchers to show how accessible they are.

Get your Website Schema compliant and boost your search visibility.But how many new sites and start-ups are going to have the technical knowledge and training to find the right Schema mark-ups for their site and keep on top of it?

Thankfully I can see Schema becoming more accessible to the average site owner over the following years. Raven Tools has its own Schema Creator which is an attempt to simplify the process, while there are also plugins for WordPress that can help.

Until then you’re going to need somebody with experience in the microdata format and other programming languages to make your site’s content more visible in search engines.

My final thoughts on Schema

Though Schema can sometimes be a tough cookie to crack (especially for amateur programmers and marketers) the benefits are truly outstanding, providing positive figures to sites that implement it.

The release of Google’s Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird algorithms go to show that search engines are always evolving to boost user experience. Google is running a business, after all

So while only a handful of sites across the internet are implementing Schema to fulfill their potential the practice can only grow and spread further.

And what of PPC? Rumours are gathering speed that Google is set to change paid search beyond recognition at some point soon.

If it is indeed going to be changed beyond recognition and made tougher for marketers, investing in Schema mark-ups may be wise to try to improve a site’s natural rankings.

Conveying your data to searchers and making it as accessible and easy to navigate as possible is paramount to the overall user experience your site offers. And there isn’t any better way to do that than with Schema.

 

Get your Website Schema compliant and boost your search visibility. Contact the Webpresence team today to find out more!

 

 

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