Optimizing for Google’s rich snippets is one solid way to keep your organic search traffic consistently growing.
But how do you earn rich snippets in search? Schema.org, a structured markup supported and promoted by Google itself, can help. Here’s everything that you need to know.
What is Schema.org?
Simply put, Schema.org was introduced to make search engines’ job scraping key information for your site easier.
In return, you’ll have more chances to get a “rich snippet”, i.e. a search listing that contains more than a link and a description, making it more noticeable and clickable.
Schema.org has been around since 2014, yet Google has had a very limited support. I think this extremely slow progress with schema can only be explained by the slow adoption. With each new update, Google is waiting for web publishers to catch up.
Understandably, Schema.org gives SEOs (or those companies that use SEO agencies) a competitive advantage and skews results in favor of those web pages that use Schema. Since click-through is deemed a ranking factor, rich snippets may be messing with Google’s data, hence they are in no hurry to rely on structured data too much.
Yet, there’s a good reason to suspect that Schema.org is being used for understanding web content and connecting the dots. Otherwise, Google would have already phase down the project.
In a nutshell, Schema.org:
- Conveys a meaning the way a machine can understand (and thus potentially increases your chances to get featured in Google)
- Generates rich snippets (making yours more clickable. Hence it indirectly improves rankings and so helps your content to get featured more as we know: The higher you rank, the better your odds are to get featured).
Schema.org for Google’s Rich Snippets
As of 2019, here are major Schema.org types that can help web publishers gain additional exposure in search as well as point Google to key data elements (making it easier for it to feature the page in search).
1. Review Schema
Review Schema can only be used for genuine reviews of:
- Software App
- Local business
The consequent rich snippets show the review excerpt, the reviewer’s name, and the star ratings. It is one of the most noticeable rich snippets out there:
2. Video Schema
This markup helps Google locate a contextual video on your page.
If you have the markup on the page, Google will show the video thumbnail right inside your search snippet.
3. HowTo Schema
This markup mostly make sense for DIY sites. These rich snippets only work for mobile SERPs.
The additional details that show up include number of steps, time required, materials you’ll need and a carousel of steps to take.
4. ListItem Schema
This Schema can be used for any kinds of lists but it is mostly used for recipe lists.
ListItem schema prompts Google to generate an interactive carousel inside your search snippet.
5. FAQPage Schema
This markup helps Google locate a useful Q&A on your pages to display those inside your search snippet. It can be used on any page where you have more than one question, followed by an answer.
The fun fact here: Make sure you have internal links inside your answers as those will make it to Google’s SERPs.
6. Event Schema
This markup helps generate event list and dates inside your search snippets.
It can be used both for real and virtual events (webinars, Twitter chats, etc.)
7. Product Schema
Product Schema mainly consists of price, and aggregate ratings. It can only be used on an actual product page (not the product list).
The nice thing about this markup is that it also works in Google images showing “product” labels inside blended search results. These can actually distract attention from organic search results.
This markup also works both in general and image search results. In general search, it may include star ratings, calories, time to cook.
A Word of Caution…
- Google would only support ONE rich snippet at a time (So choose the one that makes more sense). For example, if your product schema shows up in search, I’d refrain from adding FAQ schema in fear that Google may swap this type for a more notable star-rating snippet.
- Google is said to dislike rich markup on the home page (so use it carefully there). For example, organization schema is fine on the home page but star-ratings and HowTo schema may look suspicious, even when it is valid and makes sense.
What Else Can Be Done…
Ultimately Schema.org is about helping Google build its own knowledge base and understand the relations among entities and concepts. So to make your strategy more effective, make sure to implement semantic analysis on top of using Schema.org.
Text Optimizer provides an indepth semantic analysis of Google search result snippet helping you create highly relevant content that meets Google’s expectations. For every search query it offers a comprehensive list of related concepts and entities:
Additionally, use Text Optimizer to also craft meta descriptions to save Google the trouble of finding the excerpt to show it in search:
[Text Optimizer’s sentence builder helps you connect underlying concepts and entities to write highly optimized text]
Conclusion and Further Reading
Rich snippet optimization is about making your pages easier to understand for Google’s search algorithm. After all, SEO is all about making content easier to find and understand for search engines.
To make your job optimizing for rich snippets, here are some tools and further reading:
- Use SchemaApp to easily generate structured markup for your pages
- Read Google’s official guidelines on how to use each type of schema
- There are lots of plugins available to help you with implementing structured markup.
These include Review plugins and FAQ plugin.
Are there more tools and resources that help implement Schema and optimize for rich snippets? Please share!