Schema is a word that is thrown around more and more by SEO experts, but many digital experts still have confusion about its implementation and why it’s a necessary tactic. Unlike many SEO announcements and trends, schema is becoming more of a must-have tool on sites looking to achieve SEO success, so understanding more about schema and why it’s a smart investment for businesses is essential to search engine success, especially in local searches.
What is schema?
Google relies on the help of structured data, or code placed in the header tag, to determine really what a site is about and what local community they may be serving. The accepted term for this structure is called schema, and the guidelines live on Schema.org.
Return on Investment for Adding Schema
The impact in adding schema is typically almost immediate. ZAG Interactive added schema code to individual location pages a client site and saw a 25% increase in total clicks to those pages just one month later. Additionally, the site reported a 21% increase in average Click-through Rate (CTR), a 26% increase in time spent on site (sessions), and a 2.59% decrease in bounce rate. Most impressively, one location saw a 316% increase in impressions.
More Clicks, Higher Rank, More Traffic
So, more clicks, higher rank and more traffic? What’s the catch? According to a 2014 report by Searchmetrics over a third (36.6%) of keywords in Google search results included at least one snippet with information pulled from schema.org language. At that time, the same survey showed that only 0.3% of the 50 million sites referenced were using schema. A more recent survey commissioned by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft found just 17% of websites are using schema. So why aren’t more sites using schema? Likely because the implementation can sometimes be arduous, depending on how your site is coded and managed.
Increased Time on Site, Reduced Bounce Rate
Ultimately, the biggest ROI on following the schema.org guidelines is that it helps search engines to really parse out who you are, what you do, and where your local community base may be. Better targeted search results offers your site up to the right people. And, if more qualified visitors arrive to your site, they will likely stay on your site longer, thereby decreasing the bounce rate.
Where do we Start?
So where are the best places to put schema on your site?
Website Home Page
The most important place to use structured data is on your homepage. It allows you to detail to Google exactly what should show up in your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and what should contribute to your Knowledge Graph. By describing your business in detail, you are helping Google to match you with your target audience and how they can best connect with you immediately.
Schema is essential to have if you have a brick and mortar location, and even more crucial if you have more than one location that may not serve the same communities. It allows you to drill deep into your location details, even including latitude and longitude just for Google to find you exactly where you are. Explore location benefits with schema, especially in relation to “-near me” searching in this related ZAG Interactive blog.
About Us Page
Finally (and the second place to update if you don’t have a location page), is the About Us or Corporate Bio page on your website. You can upload your preferred logo version, contact information, another place for local data, and any social profiles you want to be referenced. The best part of all this structured data is that it puts you in (somewhat) control of what Google displays to searchers. Instead of picking up that outdated Twitter handle that still lives in your footer, you are providing the exact information you want to be referenced. Of course, just like all website and SEO tasks, adding schema to your site means updating it when things change.
If adding schema to your website is part of your inbound marketing strategy, let’s chat about how ZAG Interactive can help better define your needs, execute the plan and monitor the results.