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SEO Relevancy: Assessing the Value of Schema

By: Guest | January 10, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by John Trader.

The race to the top of search result pages is getting more fierce as search engines drive more and more traffic and revenue to businesses.

Last June, Google, Yahoo, and Bing announced a new initiative called Schema.org  to create and support a common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages.

The goal was to allow webmasters and SEO experts to improve how their websites appear in search engine result pages (SERP), increase click through rates (CTR) for higher visibility, and drive more relevant web traffic.

Creating this common vocabulary was seen as an immediate boon for site owners who previously had to struggle with adding HTML markup to their pages in different formats according to which search engine they were targeting.

Providing this valuable tool so search engines could better decipher information on web pages allows them to provide more robust results to end users. This means people like you and me can more easily find relevant and personalized information on the Internet.

And we all know in the increasingly diverse web eco-sphere:

Relevancy=Traffic=Leads=Revenue

How Schema Works

Schema simplified obscure and complicated methods to tag websites by developing templates specifically designed for certain verticals, which make it a lot easier for site owners to add language that more effectively categorizes their products or services.

In other words, Schema allows you to more accurately define the attributes of whatever content is on your page.

Schema’s applicability bodes well for sites that focus on topics such as TV, movies, events, and recipes, but  provides additional value for news and e-commerce sites. If, for example, the same article is published in six different publications, a search engine  can look at specific attributes defined in microdata and realize this is all the same article.

So instead of showing you different or outdated results, Schema shows the most fresh and relevant content. Furthemore, e-commerce sites using Schema vocabulary in their markups can draw attention to a listing to help increase CTR.

If you were searching for a replacement battery for your Gateway laptop, following is an example from the Google SERP  for “Gateway replacement battery.”

Notice how the ratings bar draws your eye to the search result snippet? This example from Amazon demonstrates just how effective adding Schema vocabulary to your HTML markup makes the listing stand out.

A product search for “black stapler” in Google produces the following listing for Staples in page one of the search results.

Taking into account brand recognition, this listing does stand out from others from the use of the Schema vocabulary within the microdata of the site.

Why Schema Matters

Adam Justice, who recently blogged about major changes to SEO in 2012, said that prior to Schema,

Most site developers didn’t properly tag or use the correct markup on their pages. The Schema.org project brought attention to a practice even seasoned developers were lacking in, and the amount of websites that now use the correct markup has increased.

I asked Emily McClendon at Nebo Agency, an Atlanta-based interactive agency ,who specializes in SEO best practices, why more sites aren’t adopting the Schema vocabulary.

She said,

As more people recognize SEO as an important priority, they will be able to put more development hours towards optimization and request Schema more frequently.

CEO Brian Easter also pointed out,

One of the biggest benefits of Schema is shifting how search engines view the Web from a glorified algorithm of words smashed together to an object with object attributes.

The advent of Schema is injecting more intuitive skills into the major search engines helping them to more efficiently and effectively index, crawl, and understand the content of a site. That’s good news for marketers executing strategies to establish more relevancy in their niches.

What are your thoughts on Schema? Do you find it to be a valuable SEO tool to establish relevancy?

John Trader is public relations and marketing manager with M2SYS Technology, a recognized industry leader in biometric identity management technology. He has PR and marketing experience working in the financial, publishing, non-profit, entertainment, sales training, and technology sectors. Currently living in Atlanta, he is an avid NHL fan and lacrosse coach for Emory University. He also blogs over at PRBreakfastClub.com  

30 comments
kasser
kasser

Nice and great post.

 

Thanks & regards.

clerisysolutions2011
clerisysolutions2011

SEO is not the only solution for getting tons and tons of traffic to your site, but without a doubt, SEO is the most effective one.

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

What a timely post! Thank you. I wondered about those green bars, too. Thanks for clearing that up! Now, if only we could get all of the SEO 'experts' to use Schema, we'd be in great shape. I'll be bookmarking this for future reference.

JohnMTrader
JohnMTrader

@shonali Thank you for the RT! Will join #measurepr nxt wk was sad that I couldn't be there today.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

I LOVE THIS STUFF!! Thanks, Trader, for joining us and not whistling too loudly. Because of this blog post, a few people have sent me some very interesting articles to support what both you and @etelligence are saying. You're making me smarter and I appreciate that.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

A lot of this stuff goes way over our heads as PR pros and marketers (or maybe I should speak for myself) but I love these types of articles because we all need to understand SEO (whether it gives us a headache or not) and the vocabulary. Yours along with @etelligence 's comment below are points in case. So, while I have nothing of value to add to the conversation, I wanted to thank you guys for sharing what you know!!! LOL.

etelligence
etelligence

The pages are still in HTML, so in the end Schema is a duplication of work, just like all other markup. Someday the markup will be the content, and all the coding will do is format that content into a website design (like CSS does now). We're still a long way away from the Semantic web, but I believe that we'll see certain datasets (possibly medical journals or travel articles) utilize the technology within the next 3 years. Schema is a step in the right direction though, common standards is the correct place to start. Nice article John.

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