When conducting searches online you may have seen differences in the search engine results in the form of reviews, prices, product availability and other such details showing more frequently. These results are no coincidence. They are a result of more sites implementing structured data markup which search engines use to provide rich snippets such as reviews and prices. Schema markup helps Google and semantic search easily identify data on your website. Adding structured data to your site helps search engines identify and serve up content that will enable your site to stand out with rich snippets.
Not only does structured data help Google and other search engines identify content on your website easier, it also can help increase click-through for your site by providing users with “enhanced” search results that give searchers a sense of what’s on your site and why it is relevant to them. Additionally, these rich snippets also occupy more SERP real estate so they are a great way to enhance your search engine optimizationstrategy.
Will My Website Benefit From Adding Structured Data?
Local business owners will definitely benefit from adding structured data as part of their search engine optimization strategy. This markup data communicates key information to Google about your site and practice. In the past, meta tags conveyed this type of information but due to large misuse and over optimization, Google dropped it as a ranking signal. While Google isn’t using structured data as a ranking signal currently there are important SEO gains that can improve your overall search performance so you shouldn’t ignore structured data.
For medical and dental practices some of the information you can add with structured markup that can improve your local results are phone numbers, address, opening hours, and other information that is unique to your practice.
How Do I Add Structured Data to My Web Pages?
In order to implement structured data to your site there are 3 simple steps to take. Choosing which format of data is best suited to your site, selecting the content you wish to mark up and testing that the mark up is working.
- Pick a Format. Microdata, microformats and RDFa are the 3 accepted formats but Google suggests microdata.
- Mark Up Your Content. Google is increasing the number of content types it supports but some of the most common ones are reviews, articles, products, businesses, organizations, recipes, events and music.
- Test that Your Mark Up is Working. Use the structured data testing tool to make sure Google can read, understand and extract your marked-up data. At this stage any errors will be flagged.
When marking up content it’s best to use Google’s Structured data markup helper. With this tool you are able to select a format, input the URL of a page and begin to highlight data and then you’ll be given the code to be added to the page. You can also use this tool to add mark-up to multiple pages.
What Happens After I Add Structured Data to My Site?
After the code is properly added to the website Google will discover it the next time the site is crawled. Keep in mind that it may take some time for rich snippets to appear in search results and that adding structured data doesn’t result in an improvement to your organic rankings. Additionally, there is no guarantee that rich snippets will appear in the results.
Enhance the Knowledge Graph by Adding Social Media Markup
Social media markup allows you to link your social profiles as well as enhancing the way your business is displayed in search results and the knowledge graph. With the ongoing debate of which social platform has the most positive impact on ranking factors it’s important to have all social media profiles linked.
Structured data allows you to provide a better experience for users at different stages with differing intent as well as enhance your search engine optimization strategy.
About Alan Moore: Alan started his career in 1999 as an Marketing Consultant and is the owner of www.ExtraPatients.com. Over the years, he has migrated his focus of expertise to everything digital. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $3,600,000 in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call to schedule a Free Online Marketing Consultation for your practice.
To read more of the article that inspired this blog, please visit:http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-make-site-stand-serps-rich-snippet-mark/129552/